SRO America Comes To Sebring Raceway Day 2
Sebring Fl.,(September 24th 2022)
It’s a glorious Sunday morning under the blue skies of central Florida and the crackle of high performance engines is the soundtrack to start everyone’s day off at Sebring International Raceway. Today, SRO America is back for a second day of world class racing. With a couple of championships determined in yesterday’s racing, there were still points to be won and other class championships were still in play.
Day two kicked off with the GT America class. While the championship in SRO3 had already been decided on Saturday with George Kurtz in the #04 CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 winning the crown, there would be no letdown in the action. As was the case in the previous race Kurtz led the field with Jason Harward in the #88 Zelus Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan GT3 giving a spirited chase. The two would be in lockstep during the first half of the race. With the two nose to tail going through traffic, Harward finally made a daring move going into turn one to pull off the pass and finally lead. With the two in constant touch, Harward cracked under pressure and ran wide in a turn allowing Kurtz back into the lead. With Kurtz back in control, he managed to pull away and get the sweep of the weekend. The podium was the same as yesterday’s with Harward in second and Mirco Schultis in the #70 Mishumotors Callaway Corvette C7.R coming in third.
The GT4 race was free of drama and filled with action. Immediately in the first turn Jason Bell in the #2 GMG Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 dove into the lead but two turns later Elias Sabo and his #8 Flying Lizard Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 grabbed the lead and never relinquished it. With the top two spots of the podium decided early on it was the race for third that provided tons of action. Adam Adelson in the #120 Premier Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport and Moisey Uretsky in the #55 Accelerating Performance Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 would dice it out throughout the race for the third spot on the podium and the valuable points that came with it. At the checkered flag it came down to the top two of Bell and Sabo, with Adelson nabbing third. With Adelson grabbing those valuable points, he was now two points away from Series leader Jason Bell, making the season finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway critical in deciding the series championship.
Next up was The TC America races. Winner of the first race Colin Garrett and his #44 Rooster Hall Racing BMW M2 CS simply drove away from the field and dominated things early on. Lucas Catania in the #26 Rigid Speed BMW M2 and Stephen Cugliari in his #57 Accelerating Performance BMW M2 CS Cup meanwhile were providing all the action. With their fever pitched battle for second place and the associated points for it in play the two slowly reeled in Garrett. With a mere one car length separating Garrett from Cugliari, Garrett had to use every ounce of his skill to capture the win. Third spot went to Catania. With Garrett pulling off the double win and points leader Jacob Ruud in the #1 Fast Track Racing BMW M2 CS Cup having problems in the second race this allowed Garrett to narrow the gap to Ruud for the series championship.
The TC class saw Clay Williams and his #60 Team JCW MINI drive off to an early lead leaving series leader Kevin Boehm and his #60 Team JCW MINI in second place. While Boehm could have comfortably stayed in the top five and clinched the series championship, being a racer if there is a chance to win he was going to take it. As the race was nearing the end, Williams pace faltered and that was the opening that Boehm needed to snatch the race win. Williams crossed the finish line for second and Jeff Ricca grabbed the final podium spot in his #78 Genracer / Ricca Autosport Hyundai Veloster N DCT TC.
Race two of the TCA class had an exciting start. Series leader Gresham Wagner piloting the #21 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ nabbed pole position for the second race. With expectations of him running away with the win, Branyon Tiner and his #98 Bryan Herta Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Veloster had other plans. With Tiner placing his Hyundai perfectly throughout Sebring’s seventeen turns, he was able to overtake Wagner. For half the race the two would continue to fight it out with Wagner eventually pulling away. The podium finished the same as Saturday’s with Wagner in first, Tiner in second and Devin Anderson in third. With Wagner’s double win, he is now tied with Carter Fartuch and his #16 Skip Barber Racing School Honda Civic Si making the series finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway all important.
The silver class in GT4 America saw #18 RS1 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport piloted by Stevan McAleer, and Eric Figueiras put on a dominating performance. The duo was in a class of their own and won by over twenty seconds. With the win, they now have a commanding forty seven point lead in the championships. The #34 Conquest Racing/JMF Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 driven by Micah Stephens and Gavin Sanders had to start at the back of field due to mechanical issues. But the team put the problems behind them and scythed their way through the field and captured a brilliant second place. Drivers Austen Smith and Zack Anderson in the #51 Auto Technic Racing BMW M4 GT4 grabbed the final podium spot.
The #47 Nolasport Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS MR driven by Scott Noble, and Jason Hart were too strong and led wire to wire to take the win. While the race win was easily decided, the action for the rest of the podium was a shootout between three teams. The team of Elias Sabo and Andy Lee in their #8 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 were involved in a dogfight with the #15 BSPort Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 of Bryan Putt and Kenton Koch, and the team of Adam Adelson and Elliott Skeer in the #120 Premier Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport. All three teams provided intense action right to the end with Flying Lizard grabbing second and Premier Racing coming in third. Again, the final’s at Indy will be important as the win gives Nolasport a scant ten point lead over Premier Racing.
The start of the AM class saw the #53 Auto Technic Racing BMW M4 GT4 driven by Rob Walker and Alex Filsinger and the #36 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4 driven by Charlie Postins and James Clay colliding in the first turn right at the start. With both cars unable to continue it didn’t matter much for the #36 Bimmerworld squad as they had the series locked up. For the #53 Auto Technic team, the accident would damage the teams aspiration for one the top three spots in the championships. With two top contenders knocked out the race was wide open for another squad to lay claim to it. The #98 Random Vandals Racing BMW M4 GT4 team driven by Paul Sparta and Al Carter made the most of the opportunity and bagged the team it’s first win of the season. The teams of #35 Conquest Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 driven by Custodio Toledo and Paul Carcasci and #420 BGB Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR driven by Thomas Collingwood and John Tecce fought hard throughout the race with the Conquest Team eking out second place over the BGB Motorsports squad.
The final race of the weekend was the Fanatec GT World Challenge. The Pro class saw pole sitter Allesandro Balzan drive away from the field in his 34 Conquest Racing Ferrari 488 GT3. With Balzan building a gap, both K-Pax teams were busy dueling with each other. With the pit stops and drivers exchanges looming Balzan was well in control. But a slow stop left new driver Manny Franco in dire straits. While trying to regain lost time, he was caught up in Pro-Am traffic. This was a boon to the #1 K-PAX Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Michele Beretta and Andrea Caldarelli allowing Beretta to pilot the Lamborghini into the lead. The #1 K-Pax team was back in control and on their way to another victory and a sweep of the weekend. Franco and the #3 K-Pax Lamborghini driven by Misha Goikhberg were left to dice it out for second place with Franco coming out on top for second place.
The Pro-Am race was an exciting affair. There was five teams in constant battle throughout the race. Ryan Dalziel in the #13 Triarsi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3, Bryan Sellers in the #8 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, Jan Heylen in the #45 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3-R 991, Colin Braun in the #4 CrowdStrike with Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 and Bill Auberlen in the #94 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT3 fought tooth and nail throughout the race. The first to crack was Sellers when Heylen pulled off a daring and successful move to take the lead. Braun capitalized the move as well pulling into second. After a frenzied drivers exchange, Justin Wetherill in the #13 Triarsi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 found himself in the lead. But that lead was short lived as Charlie Luck and his #45 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3-R 991 charged into a lead he would never relinquish. The final two spots went to Chandler Hull in the #94 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT3 in second and Justin Wetherill in the #13 Triarsi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 in third.
The Am class saw the #23 Triarsi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 team of Triarsi/Scardina run un-opposed in class for the win.
After two days of nonstop action across four different race series and multiple classes SRO Motorsports put on some of the best car racing that Sebring Raceway has seen. After plenty of hard fought racing over the weekend, several championships were decided, but more were yet to be determined. With the finals at Indy loom large on the horizon, this weekends excitement looks to continue as more individual and team championships will finally be decided.