Cooper Conquers COTA GT4 Foes

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Michael Cooper on his way to victory in Sunday's Pirelli GT4 America Sprint event at Circuit of the Americas.
Michael Cooper on his way to victory in Sunday's Pirelli GT4 America Sprint event at Circuit of the Americas.

AUSTIN, Texas – Michael Cooper emerged victorious following Sunday’s Pirelli GT4 America Sprint event at Circuit of the Americas.

Drew Staveley and his No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ford Mustang GT4 led the field to the green flag for Sunday’s race. Cooper, driving the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren 570S GT4, and Spencer Pumpelly, in the No. 66 TRG Porsche 718 Cayman GT4, slotted into second and third as Jarett Andretti, who started sixth in the No. 18 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S GT4, slipped into fourth.

On lap two Andretti took the outside lane around turn 16 to get past Pumpelly to take control of third position.

In Am, Paul Terry and the No. 59 Rearden Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 led the field with Michael Dinan and the No. 210 Flying Lizard Aston Martin Vantage GT4 and Jason Bell in the No. 2 GMG Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 running second and third. Tony Gaples and the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren 570S GT4 stalked in fourth.

On the next lap Dinan made the pass on Bell for second, then began to hunt down Terry for the lead in class.  Gaples followed Dinan through to gain third position over Bell.

At the end of lap six, Pumpelly shot to the inside of Andretti at turn 20 to regain third position as the two would continue to battle nose to tail for the next few laps in Pro.

The battle for the Pro lead continued on as Staveley and Cooper traded passes multiple times, but on lap 11 the McLaren driver was able to stick the pass on the inside of turn 11 to keep the lead. A few minutes later the first safety car was called for the stranded No. 62 KPR SIN R1 GT4 of Mark Klenin, who stopped on track near turn seven.

The race went back to green with 18 minutes left on the clock with Cooper leading Staveley and Andretti, who snuck past Pumpelly at turn one in Pro and Grahovec leading in Am.  Dinan would get past Terry for the class lead.

A second safety car was quickly called with 16 minutes on the clock for the No. 24 Ian Lacy Racing Ford Mustang GT4 of Frank Gannett who spun into the wall at the exit of turn three.  Cooper, Staveley and Andretti led the way in Pro with Dinan and Terry leading in Am.

On lap 15 the race was restarted with Cooper able to build a slight lead on Staveley as Andretti attacked the Mustang for second.  Andretti was able to claim second position on the inside of turn 12 as Cooper built his lead to two seconds over his rivals. Cooper would cap off the weekend with a win ahead of Andretti and Staveley.

“The Blackdog guys have worked super hard all winter to get some speed into the McLaren and it paid off today. I think we’re a little behind the other guys right now, but we’re going to keep digging,” said Cooper.

On the final lap, the Am battle between Dinan and Terry ended with Terry coming out on top after making a daring pass at the final turn taking the win by less than one-tenth of a second. Gaples would claim the final podium position.