Late-race pass leads to Sebring GT4 America sweep for Mercedes-AMG, Porsche

A three-way battle for the lead resulted in a late-race pass for the lead in the final race of the weekend for Pirelli GT4 America at Sebring International Raceway. The No. 35 Mercedes-AMG, driven by Michai Stephens and Colin Mullan for Conquest Racing West, passed the No. 54 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CLUBSPORT MR of Tim Pappas and Jeroen Bleekemolen in the closing moments of the race, claiming victory in Race 2 and sweeping Pirelli GT4 America overall and Silver class wins at Sebring.

The No. 47 Porsche of Matt Travis and Jason Hart, driving for NOLASPORT, passed the No. 54 Porsche of Pappas on the final lap, finishing second overall, but winning the Pro-Am class over the No. 54 Porsche, who finished second in Pro-Am and third overall. The No. 72 Mercedes-AMG of Kenny Murillo and Christian Szymczak with Murillo Racing finished second in the Silver category, repeating their performance from Saturday’s race. Third in Silver belonged to the No. 22 BMW M4 of Tim Barber and Cole Ciraulo, driving for CCR Racing/Team TFB. The No. 22 BMW finished fifteenth overall.

In the Am category, the No. 68 Toyota Supra GR, driven by Kevin Conway and John Geesbrecht won for Smooge Racing, defeating the No. 98 BMW M4 driven by Paul Sparta and Al Carter for Random Vandals Racing. The No. 619 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CLUBSPORT MR driven by Alain Stad and Robb Todd for Stephen Cameron Racing finished third in the Am class.

The start of the second race for Pirelli GT4 America allowed the No. 34 BMW M4, driven by Bill Auberlen, to lead the opening laps over the No. 52 BMW of John Capestro-Dubets and the No. 54 Porsche of Jeroen Bleekemolen. After finishing second in the Am class in Saturday’s race, the No. 16 Mercedes-AMG driven by Jon Berry and Kris Wilson suffered a punctured right-rear tire, forcing an early pit stop to change tires.

The No. 15 Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Kenton Koch moved forward to sixth in the first half of the race in the BSport Racing entry, navigating through the bottom half of the top ten by the time the pit sequence began 25 minutes into the race. Koch hit pit lane early in the pit window, along with the No. 52 BMW of Capestro-Dubets. The undercut didn’t seem to advance the No. 52, with the Auto Technic Racing BMW falling from 2nd to 6th during the pit cycle. After a driver change, the No. 35 Mercedes-AMG, now driven by Michai Stephens, led the Silver class over the No. 72 Mercedes-AMG of Kenny Murillo.

Contact between the No. 36 BMW M4 of James Clay and the No. 59 Aston Martin of Paul Terry resulted in the WR Racing Aston Martin spinning in turn 10, drawing a drive-through penalty for Clay in his BimmerWorld Racing entry. In the final 20 minutes of the race, the No. 11 BMW of Stevan McAleer had contact with the No. 52 BMW of Tom Capizzi, receiving a penalty for incident responsibility; along with damage received in the collision, the incident relegated the Classic BMW entry to 28th by the end of the race.

In the final 10 minutes, the No. 54 of Tim Pappas had the overall lead, but faced pressure from the No. 47 Porsche of Matt Travis and the No. 35 Mercedes-AMG of Michai Stephens. Stephens passed Travis, then snuck by Pappas with only two and a half minutes remaining in the race. The No. 34 BMW of Bill Auberlen and James Walker, who led early, finished fourth overall, but snagged a podium with their 3rd place finish in the Pro-Am category.

RESULTS

With only two races remaining in one final round at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in two weeks, October 14-16, where teams will have one final opportunity to grab points at the season finale. All Pirelli GT4 America races are broadcast live on SRO’s GT World YouTube channel.