Damp COTA Track not a Damper on Lamborghini Spirits as Sofronas Takes First GTAM Win

1 May 2021 GT America
  • Sofronas, Lamborghini Lead SRO3 Group
  • Wilzoch, Porsche Bring Flying Lizard Motorsports SRO3 Masters Hardware
  • RENNTech, Mercedes-AMG Take Podium Positions but Put on Notice by Bell, Aston Martin Slotting in Second
  • GT America Provisional Results - PDF Link

Austin, Texas - The third race of the GT America season took place under wet track conditions and the constant impending threat of a downpour, but the field managed to keep it mostly together for the duration of the race and aim for the top-of-the-podium hardware, collected this time by GMG Racing principal James Sofronas. Sofronas' decisive win in the #14 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 captured both overall and class-leading wins. Andy Wilzoch (#460 Flying Lizard Motorsports) took his talents to the track and came home with the SRO3 Masters division win, while Ross Chouest (#89 Mercedes-AMG GT4) brought the GT4 award back to the RENNtech Motorsports camop.

Under cloudy and wet conditions, the green flag dropped and the first of many recoverable-spins occurred when Jason Daskalos spun his #27 Daskalos Motorsports Audi R8 LMS out of turn 1, dropping him immediately to the back of the field where he would have to work his way back up. This situation opened up the field to attack for first position, with the first contenders coming up to challenge for the lead being Brendan Iribe (#70 inception racing McLaren 720S-GT3); Kyle Washington, who managed to capture five positions before the end of the first lap and contend from third place in the #32 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R (991.2); Sonoma sweeper George Kurtz (#04 Mercedes-AMG GT3) coming up from fourth; and Charlie Luck (#45 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (991.2) at fifth.

On the next lap, Luck would get into Kurtz in Turn 1 and spin them both, with both recovering but Kurtz returning to the pits to estimate the damage. Meanwhile, Iribe was putting the pressure on Sofronas who couldn't yet run away from the field while Washington chased them down and Ross Chouest (#89 Mercedes-AMG), running first in GT4 division, battled for fourth overall positioning and tried to defend approaches from Thomas Surgent (#26 Prive Motorsports / Topp Racing McLaren) and Jason Harward 
(#88 Zelus Motorsports Lamborghini). Unsuccessful, Chouest fell behind Surgent who took class P1 and Harward who quickly made short work of Surgent and fell into fourth overall position.

Still almost 20 seconds ahead of the Washington in third place overall, Iribe was assigned a drive-through penalty for an improper start procedure, while Luck's contact with Kurtz rendered the DXDT Racing car out for the remainder of the race. Meanwhile, Daskalos had driven his way back up to sixth place overall from the back of the pack while Jason Bell (#2 GMG Racing Aston Martin), Chouest teammmate Chris Cagnazzi (#39 Mercedes-AMG GT4) and Rob Holland (#99 Rotek Racing Ford Mustang GT4) all staged spectacular position-recovering laps to bring themselves closer to podium contention.

Post-penalty, Iribe slotted into fourth place overall while Charlie Luck's stop-and-hold penalty was being served, the completion of which resulted in Luck himself starting again at the absolute back of the pack. While Luck attempted to claw his way back to the front, an exciting back-and-forth three-way battle ensured between Washington, Harward and Iribe. In the GT4 division, Sturgent was holding on to the first position while Bell, who drove his way up from a fourteenth place overall spot on the grid, found himself battling for second with Chouest, and Cagnazzi and the charging Holland not far behind applying even more pressure from all sides.

In SRO3 Masters, Flying Lizard Motorsports' Andy Wilzoch (#460 Porsche 911 GT3 R 991.2) slotted into place between the fields and maintained a comfortable pace while fending off attacks from Burton and keeping an eye on the recovering Luck who had now completely covered to within two cars overall and into the second Masters position. An eventual unforced error would send Burton spinning and to the back of the field,l but he would not be able to fully recover, and Wilzoch would finish with Luck behind him.

The position holds and attacks in SRO3 and GT4 would continue for the most part with only 10 minutes left in the race, until a mechanical issue would force class-leader Surgent off-track and out of commission with the white flag already in motion. SRO3 would see Harward's fight back to the top come to fruition, placing him in second on the podium with another remarkable recovery story in the form of Jason Daskalos taking third on the podium. Surgent's unfortunate last-lap exit would guarantee Chouest the win, Bell another podium notch on his belt, and Chouest teammate Cagnazzi the last step on the podium.

GT America powered by AWS competitors close out the COTA weekend with a sun-kissed afternoon race forecast with the green flag dropping at 4:05 pm CDT. Catch all the action streaming live on the GT World YouTube channel and keep track of live timing and scoring on the gtamerica.us site.