SONOMA, Calif. – Matt Travis and Jason Hart took the No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche to a dominant victory to open the Pirelli GT4 America championship Saturday at Sonoma Raceway.
“My heart was beating on those last couple of laps working through traffic, but we’re all about excellence here at NOLASPORT, so it’s great to start the season with a victory,” said Hart.
Travis led the 33-car field to the first green flag of the year in his No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 with Derek Deboer and the No. 66 LaSalle Solutions TRG Porsche second and No. 36 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4 of James Clay third.
Clay would waste no time getting ahead of his TRG rival and take the second position with an inside pass at the turn nine chicane. Silver class leader Kenny Murillo and the No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 would then begin to pressure DeBoer for third overall.
On the next lap however DeBoer would dart for pit lane and fall through the order for an apparent flat tire. Murillo would inherit the third overall position with the No. 062 Dexter Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Ryan Dexter fourth overall, second in Silver. The No. 89 RENNtech Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Ross Chouest would rounded out the top five overall, sitting third in Pro-Am.
As the clock ticked down to the half-way point of the 60 minute race, Travis extended his overall and Pro-Am lead to more than 12 seconds as the teams prepared for the required pit stops for driver changes. Murillo and Dexter continued to battle for the Silver class lead with the no. 46 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman of Patrick Byrne leading in Am.
As the driver swaps completed the #47 NOLASPORT machine, now with Hart driving, remained in the lead with the No. 062 Dexter Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 jumping the No. 72 for second overall, first in the Silver division. Christian Szymczak in the No. 72 Mercedes-AMG would also get past the No. 36 BimmerWorld entry with Nick Galante driving for third overall with the BMW sitting comfortably fourth overall, second in Pro-Am.
The No. 46 NOLASPORT entry would keep the Am lead and run an impressive fifth overall with Russell Walker behind the wheel. Walker’s closest Am competitor would run 12th overall.
With 18 minutes left on the clock Galante would be forced to serve a drive through penalty for an unsafe release during the pit stop, dropping the car from third overall to eighteenth, 10th in the Pro-Am class. The No. 46 Porsche would inherit fourth position overall, the No. 119 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 fifth overall, second in Pro-Am, while battling with the No. 15 BSport Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Kenton Koch, who ran sixth overall, third in Pro-Am.
While Koch attacked Liefooghe BMW legend Bill Auberlen, in the No. 34 BimmerWorld Racing entry, would move his M4 GT4 into seventh overall after starting 16th. Koch’s pressure would prove too much for the No. 119 BMW and see the No. 15 Aston Martin move into the fifth overall position, second in Pro-Am.
Koch would then get past the No. 46 on the next lap for fourth overall.
As the checkered flag flew, the No. 47 NOLASPORT entry would take the overall and Pro-Am victory with the No. 15 BSport Racing Aston Martin second in class and No. 119 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 taking the third position. The No. 34 BimmerWorld Racing BMW M4 would come home fourth in class with the No. 59 WR Racing Aston Martin Vantage fifth.
The No. 062 Dexter Racing Aston Martin Vantage would take the Silver class victory with the No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 second and No. 22 CCR Racing/Team TFB BMW M4 GT4 third. Marco Polo Motorsports and the No. 71 KTM X-Bow GT4 Evo would finish fourth with the No. 94 BimmerWorld Racing BMW M4 GT4, who started at the very back of the grid, ending the day fifth in Silver.
The Am category win would go to the No. 46 NOLASPORT Porsche with the impressive No. 16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 second and No. 68 Smooge Racing Toyota GR Supra GT4 third.