Following its maiden win in Round 9 of the GTS class in the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge, Ian James took the #50 Panoz Racing Team Panoz Avezzano GT to its second victory in the second race of the double-header weekend at Road America.
Lawson Aschenbach crossed the line second in the Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4. Taking the final podium position was the #3 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR piloted by Rodrigo Baptista.
The race was marred by incidents with two safety car periods, the second leading to the race being red-flagged with seven minutes to go.
The first incident occurred when Jeff Courtney, driving the #99 JCR Motorsports Maserati GT4 went off at Turn 14. Courtney was understandably upset at having let his fans down.
“I had to attack for what was left of the race,” explained Courtney. “I wanted to put my head down and charge and that was the end of it. It’s all on me and it’s a frustrating day”
The second, and potentially more serious, incident occurred when TC driver Samantha Tan, piloting the #38 ST Racing BMW M235iR, went wide out of the exit of the ‘kink’, speared across the track and came to rest on the left hand side of the circuit. Concern for Tan, and with debris strewn across the track, meant that there was no option but call the race with seven minutes to go.
Ian James was delighted at his second win of the weekend.
“Sometimes you get to a track and the car just loves that track,” explained James. “It’s one of my favourite tracks and the whole Panoz organisation and everybody that built the car – it’s a real pleasure to work with them. Thank you to Dr Don Panoz for making it happen and roll on Mid-Ohio.”
James was aware of the pressure that Aschenbach in the #10 Chevrolet Camaro GT4 was putting him under.
“Lawson was there the whole time and I had to stay on my toes,” said British-born but now Arizona resident. “Luckily enough he had to deal with a few other cars on his tail but he was there so there was no resting today or yesterday. He’s a good guy to race against and I’m glad I beat him.”
McLaren 570s GT4s took first and second places in the AM category with George Kurtz in the #04 GMG entry taking the class win, and fourth position overall. Making it a 1-2 for the British marque, Mark Klenin took second in class in the #62 KPR entry. Third in the was the #47 NolaSport Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR piloted by Keith Jensen.
Kurtz had spent the night in the air after travelling back to California overnight for an awards ceremony recognising his business, Crowdstrike.
“It was amazing,” explained Kurtz. “To be able to come to one of my favourite tracks, win twice, fly back to California to win an award – it was all about winning. I’m just so grateful to be here. The car was great, prepared by GMG. It was really a fantastic race.”
“I didn’t have a lot of sleep this weekend,” explained Kurtz, “But it was worth it. The crew did a great job.”
Nick, in the #91 ST Racing BMW M235iR, won the TC class with Stefan Sajic in the #28 Zima Motorsports BMW second in class.
The Pirelli World Challenge now moves to Mid-Ohio on July 28 – 30 where the GT4 and GTS classes will contest rounds 11 and 12 of their championship. The TC field will next see action on August 11 – 13 at Utah Motorsports Campus.
Photo courtesy of PWC