GT4 American concludes at IMS with a podium haul for the seven Aston Martin runners

Saturday, October 16, 2021


The 2021 GT4 America Sprint X Series ended yesterday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the seven Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4 crews going out with a bang.

Sadly, there was no title defence of Michael Dalton’s and Robbie Foley’s crown from last year as the multi-classed American GT4 series had stepped up another notch this year with a more competitive and bigger grid than that of last year. Despite not being in a position to win a Class outright, the seven Aston’s made it their most productive meeting of the season so far to go home with a collective nine trophy haul between them.

Due to the Intercontinental GT Challenge eight-hour affair taking place over the weekend, the two final races of the Sprint X series were run over both Wednesday and Thursday with the supporting GT America Series then filling in the blanks between then and Saturday.

The biggest news of the week thus far was the late news that Valentin Hasse-Clot would be competing in #59 WR Racing AMR GT4 with Paul Terry and instead of Owen Trinkler followed up by the return of the #888 Zelus Motorsport Aston of Sean Whalen and Tigh Issac after their GT America debut at Watkins Glen and the presence of the #09 Automatic Racing car of Mikel Miller and Paul Kiebler who were also due to compete in the IGTC eight-hour affair later in the weekend.

Problems with ride height for the #15 Bsport Racing Aston Martin of Bryan Putt and Kenton Koch during Qualifying consigned them to the rear of the grid in both races but on reflection, that would stir both drivers up into producing two outstanding displays that would earn them a podium result in both races.

The brothers at Dexter Racing had started their Silver Cup AMR GT4 America quest on the podium at the first time of asking at Sonoma but despite some challenges along the way – technical with the car or in avoidable accidents, they showed great character and tenacity to come back again and take away a class podium in the final race of the season having had to give up a chance in the opening race due to an incident where their engine exhaust was pushed into the cockpit of the car making for unsafe conditions for Ryan Dexter after their compulsory stop.

A small change in the AMR’s balance of performance may have helped these results to take place but we were told that it was a simple engine mapping increase, adding just a handful of horsepower more but then being countered with additional ballast within the car!

That may have been all that was needed for the #59 WR Racing crew of Terry and Hasse-Clot as the young Parisian took to the hollowed American racetrack like a duck to water. “Being a professional driver, learning the circuit on a sim was what was needed and expected of him” he commented later on.

Taking over the car from Terry in P10 overall / P3 in class, an overall win for the Frenchman in his first ever visit to the USA would have been sensational but it was Kenton Koch who gave him a reality check in local experience with his #15 car, passing by the #59 around the outside of a corner as the #59 ran out of tyres to for him to claim P2 in class with the #59 consigned to P3 in class!

There was further success for the Aston Martin contingent further back in the Am class as the #09 Automatic crew had their best results to date with a class P2, just ahead of the #888 Zelus Aston Martin who finished P3 in class in their first pit stop race together.

If that wasn’t enough, then there was the final race of the season on Thursday were Hasse-Clot secured overall Pole Position for the #59 car with Andrew Davis in his #2 GMG Racing Aston Martin not too far behind in P3!

Although the #09 Automatic car would drop out of the race after the opening lap, Hasse-Clot would go on to show just how fast he can be as he eked out a 5-6 second gap to the chasing pack around the 2.59-mile circuit still wet in places from an earlier downpour.

Another start from the rear of the grid for the #15 car and another outstanding drive form Koch to go through the pack to be as high as P3 at the stop! Although Terry did initially retain the race lead, he would eventually lose the race lead with just four minutes remaining but would come home second overall and first in the Pro-Am Class.

Joining these guys on the final round of podium celebrations would be the #062 Dexter Racing pair of Ryan and Warren Dexter after their P3 Silver Cup class finish with a final P3 in class for both the #15 Bsport Racing crew of Koch and Putt and the #888 Zelus Motorsport crew of Whalen and Isaac again!!

It’s been another year of fantastic racing with multiple Aston Martin Racing teams running with the support of CSJ Motorsport again and from what we have been hearing about the state of play in North America, 2022 might just get a lot busier for them too!!

Photo credits – Sprint X / Teams / CSJ Motorsport / F Lagunas
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