De Angelis & Chase Star In COTA SprintX Opener

Roman De Angelis and Parker Chase won Friday at Circuit of the Americas.

AUSTIN, Texas – Young guns Roman De Angelis and Parker Chase combined to win Friday’s Pirelli GT4 America SprintX race at Circuit of the Americas.

A pair of ST Racing BMW M4 GT4s led the field to the green flag to start Friday afternoon’s first Pirelli GT4 America SprintX race.

Nick Wittmer, driving the No. 28, took the lead going into turn one, with teammate Jon Miller settling into second in the No. 38 machine.

As the field flew into the tight turn-11 hairpin, the No. 51 Panoz Avezzano of Parker Chase attacked the No. 38 for second overall, but fell to fourth as the No. 36 Andretti Autosport Window World of Michigan McLaren 570S GT4 slipped past on the long back straight and claimed third overall.

At the end of lap one however, the first safety car was called as the No. 19 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 of Sean Quinlan came to a halt at turn 12, ending the car’s day.

At the same time, the No. 71 Marco Polo Motorsports KTM X-bow GT4 of Nicolai Elghanayan was forced to pit to fix damage at the rear end of the car after being bumped at the start.

The race went back to green with 48 minutes left on the clock with Wittmer leading overall, Jeff Burton and the No. 91 Rearden Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 leading the Pro-Am class sitting fifth overall, and the No. 3 Motorsports USA McLaren 570S GT4 of Michael McAleenan first in Am and ninth overall.

As the field headed to turn 12, Jarett Andretti got into the slip-stream of Miller and pulled alongside the second-place BMW to grab the position on the outside of the corner. Parker Chase followed Andretti through for third position overall and started attacking Andretti for second.

On the next lap, Chase passed Andretti for second overall and started to stalk Wittmer for the lead.

With 39 minutes remaining, the three leaders in Pro-Am battled going into turn 11, with Michael Dinan in the No. 21 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4 going from third in class to first in class as the No. 63 Dexter Racing Ginetta G55 GT4 of Ben Anderson and the No. 91 Rearden Racing Aston Martin of Jeff Burton tussled through turn 12.

The right front tire of Burton’s car was cut down and damaged the corner of the car, forcing Burton to pull over and the second safety car of the race to be called.

The race would go back to green with 25 minutes remaining, with the pit window for required driver changes opening on the following lap. Coming out of turn 11, the Andretti-driven McLaren slipped past Chase for second overall with Jon Miller being attacked by Tim Barber in the #25 CCR Racing Team TFB BMW M4 GT4 for third overall.

Barber made the pass for third at turn one as a flurry of action took part in the pit lane.

After the drivers changes were complete, the No. 28 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4, now with Harry Gottsacker behind the wheel, maintained the overall lead with Roman De Angelis now driving the No. 51 Panoz and sitting second overall.

Zac Anderson in the No. 7 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 took over the lead in Am.

Robby Foley, who took over driving the #21 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4, jumped into third overall and first in the Pro-Am class, just ahead of Colin Mullan, now driving the No. 36 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S GT4, fourth overall and third in the Silver class.

Ian James, in the No. 50 Panoz Avezzano GT4, closed on the back of the #36, sitting fifth overall, second in Pro-Am.

With seven minutes left on the clock, the leading No. 28 ST Racing BMW was called in for a drive-through penalty for a pit-lane minimum time infringement, handing the lead to De Angelis.

The No. 25 CCR Racing Team TFB, sixth overall at the time, faced the same penalty.

Bill Auberlen, driving the No. 82 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4, got past the No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of Jason Hart for third in the Pro-Am division, fifth overall with five minutes on the clock, closing to within two seconds of the James-driven Panoz, who was fourth overall and second in Pro-Am.

On the next lap, the No. 2 GMG Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of Andrew Davis also got past Hart for seventh overall and fourth in Pro-Am on the inside of the tricky turn 19.

As the checkered flag flew, the No. 51 Panoz of Roman De Angelis would claim the overall and Silver-class victory, ahead of Colin Mullan and the No. 36 Andretti Autosport McLaren, who was third overall and second in class, and the No. 26 Classic BMW M4 GT4 of Toby Grahovec, who finished fourteenth overall and third in Silver.

“I found out Monday evening that I would be driving with the team, and we had some issues in practice, so qualifying was really my first time in the car, but the team gave us a great car today to get us to the win!” said co-driver Chase.

“This is an awesome car and I have to thank Parker and the team for giving me a great car to bring it home and take the win!” added De Angelis.

Robby Foley and the No. 21 Flying Lizard Aston Martin took the Pro-Am victory and finished second overall.

The No. 7 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of Zac Anderson and Sean Gibbons took the Am-class victory, their eighth of the season, unofficially claiming the class championship at the same time.

“It’s so amazing, I can’t believe how this season has gone. All of the support we’ve gotten today and to claim the championship at COTA, at home, is special,” said Gibbons.

“I have so much confidence in Porsche and NOLASPORT, and everyone involved here is fantastic. It’s so cool to be here and to win the title. A huge thanks to Jason Hart, my mentor and coach, we’re champions!” added Zac Anderson.