Race podiums but no Class Championships this time around in GT4 America

Monday, October 10, 2022


As did the GT America Series before it, saw the GT4 America Series conclude its 2022 calendar at the weekend with the two final one-hour races being undertaken around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the drivers titles still to be decided.

This time however, it was just the #8 Flying Lizards Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 entry of Elias Sabo and Andy Lee who stood any mathematical chance of snatching the Pro-Am Class title from the long-term season leading Nolasport and Premier Racing Porsches ahead.

Saturday’s opener was again an exciting but cold affair around the track which made for some difficult tyre warming ahead of the start where birthday boy Gray Newell had earlier claimed the Pro-Am Pole position just ahead of the #50 Chouest Povoledo AMR with the #8 car in fourth (in class).

Typically for the series, a few laps in and the first signs of trouble came as one BMW ended heavily into the tyre wall bringing out the Safety Car for the first time over the weekend but with actual barrier damage too – that made for lengthy repairs.

Losing nearly a quarter of the race distance to that incident, Chouest was soon battling side by side with Newell for position just as the pit lane opened a lap later with most of the Am driver Pro-Am entries electing to pit at the first opportunity.

Seemingly beating the #24 Heart of Racing AMR out of the pit lane, the #50 car of (then) Aaron Povoledo would get pinged for a pit lane speed violation at their stop and that would cast the red Aston back down to the rear of the pack as the #24 car of Ian James understeered wide, allowing the #8 car of Lee passed for position to take the lead of the class for the first time.

The Safety Car came out again with a quarter distance to go as another car became beached in the gravel, losing another five of those remaining minutes. Getting back to green worked for some as Lee capitalised on some pre-occupation by the then leaders to overtake all for the race lead but not for others as the #55 AP Aston Martin of Justin Piscitell dropped four places in that lap alone.

That allowed Lee to bring home their #8 car for their first win of the season and placed them exactly where they needed to be ahead of the championship deciding race on Sunday with the #24 Heart car claiming the final step of the Pro-Am podium.

Sundays finale would this time be started by the Pro drivers and there was all to race for, and the top three Pro-Am crews still had the chance to rob one another to the top.

Unfortunately for the #8 car, a near repeat of Sabo’s earlier GT America race one demise into turn one had Lee contact the championship leading Nolasport Porsche which in turn contacted the second placed Premier Racing Porsche which all in turn, knocked all three down to towards the rear of the pack.

That left both James and Povoledo to lead the Aston Martin Pro-Am charge, but James was also to be contacted by a recovering Mercedes AMG GT4 coming out of turn one to be spun around to face the oncoming field. The same was to befall Povoledo just a few laps later after apparent contact with the Dexter Toyota but at least for him, not too much time was lost as he hunted down the relief road from the grassy infield section of the circuit.

With another car stopped on track with steering damage, Race Control this time allowed the pitstop window to cycle through uninterrupted before calling upon the services of the Safety Car again with just fifteen minutes to go.

Losing time for damage repairs and a suspected puncture ultimately cost the #8 their final attempt at Championship glory before returning to the track laps down to the leaders, their 2022 season would unfortunately end with a much battle scared Aston Martin and a trip through the gravel in avoidance of a spinning Mustang but for the #50 car of Povoledo and Chouest – they would round off an already great weekend with a class win at the end of the final round of the GT4 America Series to go with their GT America Championship win earlier in the weekend.

The #47 Nolasport Porsche of Scott Noble and Jason Hart would also cement their Championship win in Pro-Am at the end as well.

Congratulations and thanks to all for another great season of GT4 racing.

Photo credits - Teams / Series
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