Double podium for Jason Bell in GT America's visit to Road America

Monday, August 30, 2021

It was something of a productive weekend for Jason Bell and his GMG Racing prepared Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 as the American racer secured a pair of podium finishes in the amateur only GT America races from Road America at the weekend.

Having elected to run in the preceding Music City Grand Prix event of the series at Nashville at the beginning of the month with fellow series AMR runner Gray Newell, this weekend saw the series return to a more traditional racetrack at the four-mile Wisconsin racetrack.

Now on the ‘homeward’ stretch to the season, this fifth round of the revamped GT America Series would see twenty-four cars entered for the two forty-minute races with cars near evenly split between the GT3 and GT4 platforms. This weekend would also see the #09 Automatic Racing entry of Paul Kiebler take to the stage in his former Kohr Motorsport AMT Vantage GT4 alongside Bell and Newell in his Heart of Racing AMR.

Qualifying second in the GT4 field, Bell was right behind GT4 Championship leader Sean Quinlan and his Cameron BMW and an early march down the front straight at the start saw the white #2 AMR take the class lead going into turn one but despite gapping the #119 car for the first ten minutes, Quinlan soon retook the class lead from which he would not look back.

Newell meanwhile had made a clean start to hold his Qualifying position during the first half of the race and was lucky not to have become involved in an incident directly ahead of him as a Porsche and as Mercedes argued over apex rights for that corner. Kiebler meanwhile, was doing what he needed to do – staying out of trouble and getting those all-important race miles in to broaden his short racing experience thus far.

Losing the class lead as well as losing contact with the class leader, the race soon become something of survival for Bell as the third placed Mercedes latched upon his tail. Thinking that he may have done enough, a missed braking point around the final lap was enough for the #39 Mercedes to snatch the middle step of the class podium at the death. Newell would retain his acquired P7 in class whilst Kiebler would not be classified as a finisher.

Sundays second race of the weekend would virtually be over before it had really started as a multiple car accident effectively ended the race on only its second lap as the debris field was cleared.

What appeared to have occurred was Newell’s AMR was struck by a Porsche going into the first corner of the opening lap, and that ruptured an oil cooler on his Aston Martin for him to then inadvertently and unknowingly drop oil around the next half dozen corners. All was good until the start of lap two when a large number of GT3 and GT4 cars spun off on the oil – some spinning off track before recovering, whilst others impacted heavily into the concrete wall bringing out an immediate caution.

Thanks to Bell having made a move to secure P2 in class going into turn one on the preceding lap, the resulting FCY meant that that was where the #2 car would finish as the race was eventually ‘called’ with still seven minutes on the clock with some eight cars not be classified.

These results remain very much provisional as the series looks to its next round from Watkins Glen in two weeks time.

Photo credits – GT America / CSJ Motorsport

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