Iribe, Luck, Sabo and Newell Win Final GT America Race. Bell Captures Career-first Championship Title.

16 October 2021 GT America
  • Iribe Punctuates Return With Another Flag-to-Flag performance
  • Luck Enters Final Race as Champion-elect in SRO3, SRO3 Masters; Sabo Carries GT2 Class
  • Newell Wins Battle, Bell Takes the War in Career-first Championship Title

Indianapolis, Ind. - Brendan Iribe (#70 inception racing McLaren) closed out the inaugural GT America Powered by AWS season with a dominant weekend sweep coming out of an extended break from the series. The Race 2 pole-sitter grabbed the checkered flag on the final race some 30 seconds before the nearest competitor. In the Masters class, Charlie Luck (#45 Wright Motorsports Porsche) took the checkered and with it put an exclamation point on his SRO3 and SRO3 Masters class Championship Title wins. GT4 competitor Grey Newell (#25 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin) took home his first career win by leading the class, but it was Jason Bell who, in taking second place, secured the points needed to take home his first Championship title after points-leader Sean Quinlan (#119 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW) suffered a mechanical issue during the formation lap and was unable to return.

The formation lap before the green saw Quinlan slow around the track, ultimately pulling into the pits to diagnose what was possibly a quick-fix problem. However, the laps kept increasing with the BMW still in the pits and it became clear that the championship contention was fast eroding, and that Bell simply had to surpass the 70-percent point to get the points. On the track, the usual green flag shuffle offered no improvements across the grid but set up the pressure points for future battles to occur. It would be one of the few times that Memo Gidley (#101 TKO Motorsports Bentley) was able to put door-to-door pressure on Iribe as the McLaren driver slid into his groove and worked on increasing the gap.

In the GT4 class, Newell and Robb Holland (#99 Rotek Racing Ford) engaged in a battle for second-place behind class pole-sitter Bell, with Newell coming up victorious in the end. The three stayed in that order for some time, with only GT3 and GT2 cars coming up through the trio to pack together in-class traffic and the #39 car of Chris Cagnazzi retiring from the race.

Around the halfway point, Iribe's lead had grown to a considerable size, with the space between Gidley and Luck widening as well. Sabo's GT2 entry had cleared all the GT4 traffic and was starting to collect some of the SRO3 outliers. In GT4, Newell's persistence paid off as he made the pass for first-in-class, gambling on a weaker defensive position from Bell. That left Alex Welch (#76 ROTR Motorsport Audi) in a solid third with Scott Noble (#49 NOLASPORT Porsche), Holland, Thomas Surgent (#26 Prive Motorsports / Topp Racing McLaren) and Chris Gumprecht (#79 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG) behind and itching for position. As Holland, Surgent and Gumprecht traded places in a three-way turn-by-turn battle, Gumprecht eventually spun out without appearing to have contact with anyone. Gumprecht recovered, but had the field pass him before he got back to speed.

As the clock ticked down toward the white flag and approached the three minute mark, the points battle between Holland and Surgent for sixth place in class took a turn when the two connected and spun out. Both eventually recovered to finish the race, but a DTP converted into a time penalty saw the two ultimately at the back of the finishing grid.

At the drop of the checkered flag, Bell's second place finish in the GT4 class, combined with Quinlan's failure to secure any points, gave Bell the window needed to earn him his first career Championship title. 

Results are provisional until posted final. With the inaugural season of the GT America powered by AWS in the books, champions and competitors are invited to celebrate their successes and experiences at the SRO America championship banquets, to be held at the PRI Show in Indianapolis in December. Stay tuned for details.