Ian James scored his and Team Panoz Racing’s fifth Pirelli World Challenge win of the season in the first of two GTS races at Utah Motorsports Campus on Saturday afternoon.
The Brit took his No. 50 Panoz Avezzano GT4 to the line 6.9 seconds ahead of Harry Gottsacker’s SIN R1 GT4.
James shared the car with Matt Keegan en route to the pair’s third GTS SprintX win in the last four races.
Keegan started from second and stayed in the front-running positions for the whole race despite initially dropping back at the start.
The team’s sister car, driven by Preston Calvert, finished third overall and scored the Am class win, giving Panoz a sweep of both classes.
Calvert was passed by Gottsacker during the final few laps after the Racers Edge Motorsports driver had served a drive-through penalty for a short pit stop.
He avoided losing too much time and thus stays in championship contention with just one SprintX race remaining on the schedule.
Several championship frontrunners missed out on strong finishes, including the No. 14 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4 of James Sofronas and Alex Welch who finished seventh.
Their car went into limp-home mode with overheating issues at the start after qualifying in fourth.
Jade Buford and Scott Maxwell were shown the black and orange flag for dropping fluid on track, forcing the No. 55 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 into the pits and hurting Buford’s championship hopes.
Drew Staveley increased his Am points lead with a second-place class finish while championship rival Aurora Straus came home fourth despite a strong run for co-driver Jon Miller early in the race.
The final GTS SprintX race of the season gets underway at 11 a.m. local time on Sunday.
RESULTS: Race 1