AUSTIN, Texas – Michael Cooper (Pro) and Michael Dinan (Am) took victories in Friday’s Pirelli GT4 America Sprint event at Circuit of the Americas.
Cooper, in the No. 10 Blackdog Speedshop McLaren 570S GT4, brought the Pirelli GT4 America Sprint field to the green flag. Cooper kept the lead ahead of Drew Stavely as the field went through the uphill-downhill turn one.
In Am, Jeff Burton snuck past polesitter Michael Dinan on the inside of turn one, forcing Dinan to go wide. The Paul Terry would also sneak past Dinan for second in class.
As the field flew down the back straight to turn 12, Tony Gaples slipstreamed past Dinan for third position, but would brake too late for the turn and hit Terry, forcing the the Aston Martin to spin and fall to the back of the grid. Gaples would drop to fifth in class with the order now Burton, Dinan and Jason Bell.
On the next lap, Sean Quinlan get past Bell for third in Am as the two drag raced down the long back straight.
With 39 minutes remaining in the race, Gaples would be forced to pit and end his race due to damage from the incident with Terry.
As the clock ticked past the 25 minute mark, Am championship leader Dinan caught back up to Burton for the class lead, just .356 seconds behind. The two battled through the turns 14 and 15 complex and would see Dinan slip past Burton for the lead on the inside as both Aston Martins got ready for the long, multi-apex turn 16.
While the Am competitors battled, overall leader Cooper continued to extend his lead over Staveley to more than three seconds with 15 minutes left on the clock. Cooper would not put a foot wrong and would go on to cruise to his ninth win of the season. The McLaren factory driver would also set the race’s fastest lap, giving him pole for Saturday’s second event.
“I was pushing the whole race and the tires were starting to go from the pressure from Drew [Staveley] behind. Tomorrow morning should be a little different with the cooler weather, but we’ll keep working on this thing and make it even better, which is what the Blackdog crew is great at,” said Cooper.
Dinan would also take his ninth Am-class win of the season ahead of Burton and Quinlan. Bell would come home fourth with Terry recovering from his early spin to finish fifth.
“It’s quite hot out there on the track, so I had to take care of the tires, and eventually was able to reel in Jeff [Burton]. I was able to stay out in front and getting this result is really great,” said Dinan.