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Baptista Wins, Aschenbach Clinches GTS Championship in COTA Race 2

Rodrigo Baptista wins GTS Race 2, Aschenbach clinches title at COTA…

Photo: Brian Cleary/

Rodrigo Baptista dominated the race and Lawson Aschenbach clinched the GTS season championship in Race 2 of the Pirelli World Challenge weekend at Circuit of The Americas.

Baptista got a tremendous jump from fifth in his No. 3 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR on the standing start and used a bold maneuver around the outside of Turn 1 to jump into second place, then passed polesitter Harry Gottsacker a few turns later to take a lead he would not relinquish.

It is the fourth win of the season for Baptista and the Flying Lizard Motorsports squad.

Parker Chase slipped around his Performance Motorsports Group teammate Gottsacker seven minutes into the race and held on to the runner-up spot despite a late duel with the sister Ginetta G55.

On the final lap Gottsacker spun shortly after retaking the second position, allowing Jeff Courtney in the No. 99 Maerati GT4 through to take the final podium spot. Gottsacker settled for fifth behind Drew Stavely’s Ian Lacy Racing Ginetta.

While Baptista got the race win, the big winner was Aschenbach who unofficially wrapped up the GTS championship with a ninth place finish in the No. 10 Blackdog Speedshop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.

Aschenbach’s quest to clinch the title before the final two races of the season in Sonoma was aided when misfortune struck his only remaining championship rival early in the race.

Ian James, who was promoted to the Race 1 win after Scott Dollahite’s Lotus Evora was disqualified for a ride-height infringement, came into the pits after the first lap reporting a heavy vibration.

The Team Panoz Racing crew was unable to get the Panoz Avezzano GT back on track and James did not score points due to failing to reach the 50% of the winner’s race distance threshold, handing the championship to Aschenbach.

It is the fifth championship of his PWC career which has Aschenbach tied with Michael Galati for second on the all-time list.

George Kurtz took his ninth victory of the season, and eighth straight, in the GTSA category in the No. 04 GMG Racing McLaren 570S GT4.

Tape-delayed television coverage of this weekend’s GTS action will air at 8 p.m. ET on September 13th on CBS Sports Network.

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based journalist and sportscaster, covering IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.



  1. Silvia Odete Morani Massad

    September 5, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    First of all I want to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like
    to ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to find
    out how you center yourself and clear your head before writing.
    I have had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out.
    I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the
    first 10 to 15 minutes are wasted simply just trying to figure out how to
    begin. Any suggestions or tips? Kudos!


    September 5, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    The minor technical infraction that caused the unfortunate disqualification was a 2 millimeters lower rear ride height. The SDR team believes this was caused by a suspension shift during the race. We respect the decision if the PWC sactioning body; however, it gave no advantage during the race. The SDR team and Scott are very proud of our run on this Sunday starting at 22nd and finishing in 7th.

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