Podium fest for the Aston Martin Racing runners after two rounds of GT America at CoTA

Sunday, May 21, 2023


Despite losing one entry due to an ongoing argument with officials for its GT4 America Series entry, the remaining five Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 crews again commanded the podium positions at the end of both GT America Series races at the Circuit of the Americas.

With overnight rain presenting the teams with tyre selection issues going into Qualifying on Saturday, it would again be the #50 car of Ross Chouest who would claim GT4 class honours going into their first forty-minute race, narrowly beating class rival Jason Bell and his #2 Flying Lizard prepared car. 

Decent performances also came from the #77 TR3 car of Paul Kiebler who would start from third whilst the #8 Flying Lizard and #25 Heart of Racing car of Elias Sabo and Gray Newell would start further back after (Newell) elected to run on slicks whilst the track did not quite support that choice of tyre.

Early gains from Sabo saw him take third in class as both he and Newell looked the racier of the class, pushing Chouest hard for position after he had lost the class lead to Bell going into turn 1 for the first time. Such was Bells pace in this opening stage of the race that he led the class by (at that point) four seconds.

An error from Sabo saw him spin out from behind the tail pipes of Chouest but not out of position as the race entered its final minutes. Looking good for a race win, an error from Bell on the penultimate lap saw him lose control going into turn 1 and then lose a nine second lead as Chouest whooshed passed to reassume the class lead.

At the end, race 1 would see Chouest take another class win, Bell in second and with Newell elevated to third after Rob Holland and his Porsche were penalised for tapping Sabo into a further spin that cost him a run at the podium. He would finish P5 with Kiebler coming home P6.

Race 2 grid was again set by the fastest laps form race 1 and so it would be Sabo heading the honours this time on GT4 pole position, alongside Bell in second and Chouest in third.

Overnight night rain had again returned leaving Sundays early morning race still under grey skies, wet track and repressive humidity as teams were left wondering about tyre selection again – was it going to rain again within the life span of race 2 or not was the question.

After two formation laps due to track conditions, this time it was Chouest who stole the march upon others, moving up to P2 out of turn 1 for the first time with Sabo maintaining his class lead but tyre selection would soon become evident as Chouest quickly dropped away leaving a Sabo/Bell/Newell battle for the lead in class.

Seventeen minutes to go and with rain intermittently falling around the track again, contact and heavy damage for two GT3 cars brought out the Safety Car for the first time before going back to green with just eight minutes remaining.

A chaotic restart from the GT3 leaders saw further cars struggling in the damp and wettening conditions that allowed Chouest to again catch up as the GT4 class leaders battled with lapping GT3 cars and GT4 back markers to boot.

Spinning the tyres out of a corner saw the #77 car of Kiebler spin off and hit heavily into the barriers bringing out the Safety Car for the second and final time as the race ran down the clock under caution meaning that Sabo had claimed another win with Bell and Newell joining him on the podium. Chouest would eventually finish a distant P7!!

The series now heads to VIR in three weeks’ time.

Photo credits – Teams / Series
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