AUSTIN, Texas – Matt Travis and Jason Hart, co-driving the No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche, came away victorious during Saturday’s Pirelli GT4 America event at Circuit of the Americas.
“I’ve never been more nervous in my life,” said Hart. “We’re expecting a new baby at any time, so we’re happy for the win and for the new baby to come.”
As the green flag waved, 38 cars from eight manufacturers made it cleanly through the up-hill left turn one. As the field reached turn two, the Silver-classed No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes of Kenny Murillo slipped by the pole-sitting No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche of Travis to grab the lead.
Two turns later, the No. 11 Classic BMW of Steven McAleer powered past both the No. 68 Toyota and No. 47 for second overall and in class.
On the next lap the first and only full course caution would be called as the No. 00 Notlad Racing by RS1 Aston Martin was involved in a major rollover crash near the turns three-four-five section of the course.
At the same, time overall leader Kenny Murillo would pit and be forced to retire due to an apparent gearbox issue, handing the lead to McAleer and the No. 11.
After parading behind the safety car for multiple laps, the race would be red flagged with 37 minutes remaining to fix a barrier from the previously mentioned incident.
The race would finally go back to green with 33 minutes left on the clock with the No. 11 BMW leading overall and in Silver, the No. 47 Porsche second overall, first in Pro-Am, and the No. 68 Toyota third overall, first in Am. The pit window for the required driver changes would open on the following lap.
After the pit window closed with 21 minutes left on the click, Hart and the No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche led overall and in Pro-Am after pitting early within the window, undercutting his rivals. Toby Grahovec, now driving the No. 11 Classic BMW would lead in Silver, sitting second overall, and Kevin Conway in the No. 68 Toyota leading in Am.
Second through fourth positions in Pro-Am, the No. 15 BSport Aston Martin of Kenton Koch, No. 54 Blackswan Porsche of Jeroen Bleekemolen, and No. 36 BimmerWorld BMW of Nick Galante would fight nose to tail with Bleekemolen slipping past both the No. 36 and No. 15 to claim second in class, fourth overall with 12 minutes remaining.
On the next lap Bleekemolen would dive on the inside of the No. 11 to take third overall and then keep his momentum going and get past the No. 94 for second overall, attempting to chase down the No. 47, who was 9 seconds up the road.
As the clock ticked below the 10 minute mark, the No. 89 RENNtech Mercedes of Aaron Povoledo would pounce on Grahovec’s BMW, taking over the fourth overall position, third in Pro-Am. A few minutes later Koch would see an issue with the No 15 Aston Martin and fall deep into the field, handing third overall and in class to the No. 89 Mercedes.
As the checkered flag waved the Pro-Am class took the top five overall positions with the No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche winning, No. 54 Blackswan Porsche second, No. 89 RENNtech Mercedes third, No. 34 BimmerWorld BMW fourth, with the No. 52 Auto Technic BMW rounding out the top five.
The No. 94 BimmerWorld BMW of Chandler Hull and Jon Miller would take the Silver win, seventh overall with the No. 888 Rearden Racing Audi finishing second in class, ninth overall with the No. 11 BMW third.
The Am division win would go to the No. 68 Smooge Racing Toyota of John Geesbreght and Kevin Conway, with Kris Wilson and John Allen bringing the No. 16 Capstone Mercedes-AMG GT4 second in class. The No. 98 Random Vandals Racing BMW of Paul Sparta and Al Carter would finish third in class.