GT America's non-championship visit to Sebring proves fruitful for the AMR runners

Sunday, October 03, 2021


Two further two action and incident packed races were had from the Sebring International Raceway this weekend as part of the GT America Series non-championship visit to the iconic Floridian circuit this weekend.

There almost ‘just for fun’ after the series raced their additional round in support of the IndyCar Series at Nashville several weeks ago, it was a near full contingent of racers who travelled to Florida this these two forty-minute races.

Still riding high from his pair of race wins last time out at Watkins Glen, Jason Bell was again the highest placed AMR driver in second place for Saturday’s race with his #2 GMG Racing prepared car. Ross Chouest was continuing to impress with his early pace aboard his #50 3R Povoledo Racing AMR and so was Gray Newell in his #25 Heart of Racing car after his first racing podiums ever at the previous Watkins Glen round. Paul Kiebler would be continuing along his still steep learning curve aboard his #09 Automatic Racing prepared Aston as he continued to work out the car, the tracks and the race craft that joins all of that together.

Right from the start however, it was clear that a recent BoP change to the BMW M4 GT4 was going to make it very hard for any other platform to pass and that is precisely what happened for Bell as for lap after lap, he just couldn’t find a way past.

As Bell struggled against Quinlan, Chouest was defending hard against the attention of the #49 Nolasport Porsche for P3 in class but for Newell, his race would come to premature end after contact with a Mercedes further back led to frontal damage to his car that would leave both debris on track and him in the pit lane with a DNF.

For their efforts, Bell would take yet another P2 finish in class whilst Chouest claimed his third straight podium in the series in as many races!!

Sunday mornings second race was a bright an early affair as Bell again found himself behind the Quinlan BMW on the grid (set from yesterday’s fastest laps) with his stablemates all slightly further back and with Newell also being given a five-place grid drop after yesterday’s accident.

Right from the off, Bell was after only one thing and the false start first time around at least let him try that move on Quinlan for a second time – this time it worked as the #2 car lead the GT4 class out of turn 1 with the other three Aston’s also making up early place gains.

Approaching the halfway point of the race, Bell’s seven second lead was cut to nothing as the #49 Porsche tried a move on Quinlan’s BMW into the final corner. Coming under the bridge, the Porsche was seen to bump into the BMW, tapping that into a spin with the #50 Chouest AMR coming around unsighted to clip the rear of the BMW to spear himself into the outside tyre wall backwards at high speed.

Fortunately, Chouest was OK but his car sadly wasn’t with significant rear damage that would take them out of the later GT4 America Series as well.

At the restart, whilst Bell retained the GT4 lead, a stealthy move from Newell leapfrogged him with the then P4 #39 Mercedes before another move a lap later had him up to P3 in class with just minutes remaining. Then dropping back down to P4 into Turn 1 for the final time, a last gasp overtake going into turn 17 put him back into a podium position for another podium (one that MAY get elevated to P2 if the P2 finishing Porsche gets penalised post-race for the incident with the #119 Quinlan car.

All great stuff, although it was all ‘just for fun’!!

The next and final round for the GT America Series will be from Indianapolis in two weeks’ time.

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