Crash fest at GT America visit to Nashville but valuable points for the two AMR runners

Monday, August 09, 2021


This weekend saw a stand-alone event for the GT America Series take place around the streets of Nashville in support of the headlining Indycar Series and their Music City Grand Prix.

Usually paired up with the other SRO America series as in the GT World Challenge America and GT4 America Series, this round would be the fourth for the rejuvenated for 2021 GT America Series after their previous rounds at Sonoma, CoTA and the last one at VIR in early June.

Surprisingly featuring similar grid numbers for a street circuit as the series does for the more traditional circuits, two Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4’s featured within a combined grid of 24 cars of which GT4’s made up the majority.

Jason Bell with his #2 GMG Racing AMR was there and so was racing rookie Gray Newell with his distinctly liveried #25 Heart of Racing AMR.

Being a race series for only bronze rated drivers however, it sadly wasn’t beyond the wit of man to believe that lesser ability drivers in very powerful GT3, GT2 or GT4 machines around a tight, concrete lined street circuit wasn’t going to lead to problems and sadly that is what happened during both of their allotted 40 minute races.

Race one on Saturday started at the end of a busy day of qualifying and would finish under caution in full darkness as an incident between two GT4’s at the halfway stage effectively wrote off the remainder of the race as with just five minutes remaining at the green flag, the leading Ferrari stuck it into the barrier to bring out another FCY just a few hundred meters after the start line.

For their efforts, both Aston drivers kept their cars out of the barriers to claim a P7 class finish for Bell and a P10 finish for Newell.

Sundays second race was ran earlier in the day this time but despite the obvious visibility advantage, a single vehicle accident after only six minutes for the only GT2 car in the field backed his car at speed into the concrete wall, destroying his car in the process (no driver injuries thankfully) and also dislodged the concrete retaining safety wall be several feet.

Another seventeen minutes was lost to that clean up before the race went back to green (for just about seven minutes) before the next car had an unscheduled meeting with the wall for the end of the GT American meeting to sadly end behind the Safety Car again. Again, both Astons did what they needed to do and finish the race in P5 in class for Bell and P9 in class for Newell – useful points for each driver.

Whilst we appreciate what the race organisers were trying to achieve, there was a lot of inevitability about it considering the dimensions of the available race surface. These results move Bell up to P3 in the GT4 table, just 38 points behind the Class leader. Newell also moves up to P8 in the same table thanks to these valuable points secured at Nashville.

The next (collective) round of the SRO America series will be at Road America at the end of August.

Photo credits – GT America / Teams

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