Heylen & Belluardo Top Indy SprintX Action

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Jan Heylen and Charlie Belluardo triumphed in Thursday's Pirelli GT4 America SprintX event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Jan Heylen and Charlie Belluardo triumphed in Thursday's Pirelli GT4 America SprintX event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

INDIANAPOLIS – Jan Heylen and Charlie Belluardo piloted the No. 37 RS1 Porsche Cayman CS MR to victory in the penultimate round of the Pirelli GT4 America SprintX season Thursday afternoon on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The race got off to a hectic start as the leading No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of Matt Travis was hit by Jarret Andretti in the No. 36 Andretti Autosport Window World of Michigan McLaren 570S GT4 in turn one, spinning the Porsche to the back of the grid, allowing Nick Wittmer and the No. 28 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 to inherit the overall and Silver lead. Andretti would serve a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact.

At the end of the opening lap, Chandler Hull’s No. 26 Classic BMW M4 GT4 would be struck by Joe Dalton’s No. 33 NOTLAD Racing by RS1 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 going into turn 12, forcing the BMW to pull off the side of the road and the first full course caution of the race to be called to retrieve the stranded vehicle.

The race would get back to green with 47 minutes left on the clock, with Wittmer leading ahead of his ST Racing teammate and Silver-class competitor Jon Miller in the No. 38 BMW M4 GT4.

A second safety car was called at the end of the the lap as the hood of the No. 71 Marco Polo Motorsports KTM X-bow blew off and needed to be removed from the track.

The race again went back to green with 42 minutes left on the clock with Wittmer continuing to lead overall and in Silver, Belluardo’s No. 37 RS1 Porsche Cayman CS MR leading in Pro-Am and Todd Clarke and the No. 111 Motorsport USA McLaren 570S GT4 leading in Am.

With 36 minutes remaining the No. 47 NOLASPORT entry would make an excellent recovery after being spun on the opening lap. Travis would get himself back to third in Pro-Am, just one spot behind Michael Dinan in the No. 21 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4, running second in class, seventh overall just as the pit window opened for the required driver changes.

Most Pro-Am competitors would make a mad dash for the pits, handing their cars over to their Pro counterparts.

After the pit window closed, the No. 51 Panoz Racing Avezzano GT4 of Roman De Angelis led overall and in Silver, Jan Heylen and the No. 37 RS1 Porsche Cayman CS MR led Pro-Am from fifth overall, with Russell Walker and the No. 46 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 leading Am sitting sixteenth overall.

Jason Hart, now driving the No. 47 NOLASPORT entry, would get around Robby Foley in the No. 21 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin for second in class, sixth overall, as Pro-Am leader Heylen would slip past Samantha Tan’s No. 38 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 for fourth overall.

With 20 minutes remaining both Hart and Foley would sneak past Tan, with Foley keeping that momentum going to drag past Hart for second in class going into turn 11. Kenton Koch, driving the No. 15 Bsport Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4, would stalk from fourth in class.

Pro-Am leader Heylen would continue his charge up the grid and get past Cole Ciraulo in the No. 25 CCR Racing Team TFB BMW M4 GT4 for third overall with 18 minutes left. At the same time, Koch would sneak past Hart for third in Pro-Am, sixth overall.

With 16 minutes remaining the battle in Pro-Am intensified, with Andrew Davis and the No. 2 GMG Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 tussling with the No. 50 Panoz Racing Avezzano GT4 of Ian James, spinning the Panoz and forcing the Porsche to pit and the Panoz to retire.

The No. 19 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 of Greg Liefooghe would also face some damage after a separate incident, breaking the car’s radiator and causing him to stop on track at turn 11. The third safety car of the day would be called.

The race got back to green with 10 minutes left on the clock, with Heylen making a bold move and jumping from third to first overall going into turn one, with De Angelis second and Harry Gottsacker in the No. 28 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 third.

On the next lap, the No. 21 Flying Lizard Motorsports entry would face a drive-through penalty for a pit lane infraction, passing in the transition lane, ending any chances of a Pro-Am top-three for the championship contenders.

With six minutes on the clock Bill Auberlen, driving the Mo. 82 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4, would pass the No. 47 for third in Pro-Am at the turns 11-12-13 complex with an outside-inside move.

As the clock ticked past the three minute mark, the top-six overall all ran nose to tail with Heylen leading followed by De Angelis, Gottsacker, Koch, Colin Mullan, now driving the No. 36, and Auberlen.

As the checkered flag waved Heylen and the No. 37 RS1 entry would hold off De Angelis’ Panoz by a mere .138 seconds to grab the overall and Pro-Am win. De Angelis would take the Silver win, his second of the season, with Gottsacker finishing second in Silver, third overall.

“This has been a tough year, but the car really started coming back to us at COTA and here it has been awesome. This was such a fun and competitive race and I couldn’t be happier.” said Heylen.

“It doesn’t get better than this! It’s amazing! Jan made a hell of a pass at the last restart and getting past him is a tough task, so we’re excited!” said Belluardo.

Koch would come home second in Pro-Am, fourth overall with Mullan finishing second in Silver, fifth overall, and Auberlen third in class, sixth overall.

The Am class win would go to Russell Walker and the No. 46 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 with Ty Clarke and the No. 111 Motorsport USA McLaren 570S GT4 coming home second and John Teccein the No. 69 BGB Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 third.