The No. 47 NOLASPORT crew of Jason Hart and Matt Travis found themselves in the winner’s circle once again for the second round of Pirelli GT4 America competition to kick off the 2021 season. After sweeping both qualifying sessions and claiming both overall wins, it w as a magical weekend for the Pro-Am duo.
“What a weekend! I can’t believe it, the magic is happening!” said Travis on the Round 1 and 2 sweeps.
32 cars took the Pirelli GT4 America Race 2 start with the entire field through cleanly on the opening lap of the 60-minute contest. Race 1 winner Jason Hart and the No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche started from pole and kept the lead with Jeff Westphal and the No. 888 Rearden Racing Audi R8 LMS and Patrick Gallagher in the No. 00 Notlad Racing by RS1 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 settling for second and third overall and in the Pro-Am class.
Kenton Koch in the No. 15 BSport Racing Aston Martin and Andy Lee in the No. 8 GMG Racing Audi would get the jump on the No. 59 and No. 062 entries and claim fourth and fifth positions overall by the end of Lap 1.
10 minutes into the race Koch moved to the inside of Gallagher to take over the third overall position at Turn 7 and start to chase down the No. 888 Audi for second. Koch’s attack paid off two laps later as the No. 15 snagged second position from Westphal and quickly close on Hart for the lead.
In the Silver division, Ryan Dexter and the No. 062 Dexter Racing Aston Martin led as Christian Szymczak and the No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 battled Mads Siljehaug and the No. 71 Marco Polo Motorsports KTM X-Bow Evo GT4 for second position in class, ninth overall.
After starting eighth overall, Spencer Pumpelly and the No. 66 LaSalle Solutions TRG Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 quietly moved into the top six, getting past Brandon Davis’ No. 59 WR Racing Aston Martin at the final hairpin with 42 minutes left. Pumpelly continued his charge and swept past Lee’s Audi at Turn 5 for fifth overall with Davis also getting past the GMG Audi two turns later.
Seven minutes later Pumpelly tracked down the Gallagher-driven No. 00, passing the Aston Martin at Turn 9 for fourth overall and in the Pro-Am division.
After the pit window closed for the required driver changes at the halfway point of the race, the No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche, now with Travis driving, remained in the overall and Pro-Am lead. The No. 71 KTM with Nicolai Elghanayan would take over control of the Silver class sitting sixth overall, with the No. 16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 of John Allen leading in Am, ninth overall.
With 23 minutes remaining, Derek DeBoer and the No. 66 LaSalle Solutions TRG Porsche get around the No. 888 Rearden Racing Audi of Kris McCoy for second overall. Paul Terry in the No. 59 Aston Martin would then get past McCoy a few minutes later for third overall and in Pro-Am.
The Silver class lead battle would then see Kenny Murillo, now piloting the No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG, close on leader Elghanayan and battle nose to tail for fourth overall. Murillo would move past the KTM for the Silver-class lead as the two battled through turn 1 with 14 minutes remaining.
Minutes later Paul Terry’s No. 59 Aston Martin would take advantage of a mistake by Deboer’s Porsche and nab the second position in Pro-Am. At the same time flying Kenny Murillo would get past both DeBoer and Terry for second overall, sitting comfortably in the Silver class lead.
Ryan Dexter and the No. 062 Aston Martin, Race 1 Silver winners, would move past Elghanayan for second in the Silver cl ass and DeBoer’s Porsche for fourth overall.
Deeper in the Pro-Am field, Black Swan Racing moved up into the sixth position, ninth overall, gaining a whopping 23 positions from the start of the race with Porsche Ace Jeroen Bleekemolen and Tim Pappas driving. With eight minutes remaining, Pappas slipped past both the No. 888 and No. 15 for fourth in Pro-Am, seventh overall, where the car would ultimately finish.
On the white-flag lap, the Am battle heated up as John Geesbreght’s No. 68 Smooge Racing Toyota GR Supra GT4 got around the No. 16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG to take possession of the class lead.
As the checkered flag flew, the No. 47 NOLASPORT entry of Hart and Travis took the overall and Pro-Am win with the No. 59 WR Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 and No. 66 LaSalle Solutions TRG Porsche second and third. Black Swan Racing’s No. 54 Porsche claimed fourth with the No. 15 BSport Aston Martin fifth.
The Silver class saw the No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG of Kenny Murillo and Christian Szymczak win with the No. 062 Dexter Racing Aston Martin and No. 71 Marco Polo Motorsports KTM taking second and third. The No. 22 CCR Racing/Team TFB BMW and No. 38 ST Racing BMW would round out the top five.
The Am win went to the No. 68 Smooge Racing Toyota in only the team’s second race, followed by the No. 16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG and No. 46 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4. The No. 43 Murillo Racing Porsche of Aurora Straus and Christina Nielsen claimed fourth in class with the No. 23 Motorsports USA McLaren fifth.
Pirelli GT4 America competitors return to action April 30-May 2 at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas for Rounds 3 and 4.