Two thrilling GT4 America races results in just a single Pro-Am podium for the BSport Racing AMR team

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

After something of a twelve week break in seeing most of the SRO America’s GT3 and GT4 runners and riders of the GT4 America back in action from Road America at the weekend, that wait proved to be worthwhile as the GT4 series gave us two extra-ordinary races.

Running as the fourth round of the seven-round season, Road America boasted a near forty car entry list for its two one-hour, pit stop punctuated races that saw the return of most of the season long Aston Martin Racing customer team entries as well as a new squad from the Automatic racing stable.

Last time out at Virginia International Raceway in early June saw podium finishes for the #59 WR Racing AMR Vantage GT4 of Paul Terry and Brandon Davis as well as the first overall race win for the #15 Bsport Racing AMR Vantage GT4 of Bryan Putt and Kenton Koch but it also saw the Dexter Racing team sit out with an ongoing electrical issue with their car and another accident for Matt Dalton in his Notlad Racing Vantage.

Despite some torrential rain during the preceding sessions and overnight between races, the first GT4 Sprint X race was another highly exciting affair with some brisk early pace from the #062 Dexter Racing car of Ryan Dexter as well as a highly charged Terry. Unfortunately for the #59 crew, early contact with a BMW in the opening laps saw both cars stationary of the trackside which brought out an early FCY. Whilst the BMW would recover itself to the pit lane – that would be it for the #59 crew for the weekend.

With the BMW M4 GT4 obviously way out front in terms of performance to all the other makes and models entered, it was a case of hanging on to what they had achieved so far for the #15 Bsport and #2 GMG Racing car of Jason Bell and Andrew Davis as just one non-BMW featured in the top eight after the pit stop window closed.

By the end of another hard race, Davis had topped the #15 car to become the top AMR to finish P9 overall and P6 in Pro-Am whilst the #15 car finished P13 overall and P9 in Pro-Am. For the remaining Astons from both the Heart of Racing team and the Automatic Racing team, it was a slow catch up for their amateur drivers after the long break for Gray Newell aboard the #24 HoRT car and a tough introduction for Paul Kiebler in his #09 car as each finished the day P29 and P34 respectively.

Sundays second race was a very similar affair to the first but this time the #15 car of AMR Academy driver Kenton Koch had qualified P3 overall but with the next highest AMR down in P17.

Another early lunge from Koch into the first corner of lap 1 gained him an early position but that didn’t last two long before the BMW’s around him got their tyres up to temperature heading towards the stops. More early gains from Ian James aboard the #24 HoRT car as well as Davis in the #2 GMG Racing car but his namesake – Brandon Davis’s race in the #59 WR Racing Aston only lasted three laps before that car disappeared from the leader board.

An errant Porsche getting stranded in the gravel brought out another FCY just ahead of the pit window, meaning that that was delayed until the restart but with the Pro’s in most of the Astons, all would stay out until the last possible moment.

Another incident through The Kink brought out another FCY just ahead of the end of the available pit window, forcing all remaining cars to stop with Putt, Newell and Bell emerging P5, P9 and P10 respectively but another long period of caution would only give all just over seven minutes to improve upon their positions.

With just three minutes remaining, a bullish move from Putt dispensed with two cars in one corner as he moved up to P3 overall onto the final lap whilst Newell was having a better race as he improved his P8 (in class) position to P7 by the end whilst the #2 car of Davis was right behind. 

This time, just two weeks separate the teams from the next two races from Watkins Glen – another traditional American circuit layout that will suit the GT4 platforms very nicely, so another two entertaining races should be in store. Whilst we wait for these results to be verified, the gap between the #15 Bsport car and the Pro-Am leading Nolasport Porsche remains vast and despite the #47 cars poorer performance at Road America so there is still very much all to race for.

Photo credits – GT4 America / CSJ Motorsport / Teams / F Lagunas

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