The GT America powered by AWS crowd took to Sebring’s tarmac for the second time Sunday afternoon, the final race before the two-race showdown at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in just two weeks. After Race 1’s mostly smooth running that quickly turned dramatic in the end, Race 2 was a chance for several racers to either make up for lost ground, gain a slight upper hand in points, or a little bit of both, especially in the GT4 field. The yellow flag never flew — this was a full-green fight.
Despite George Kurtz (No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3) clinching the championship after Race 1 yesterday, the field still had the same gusto as ever. Kurtz led from the start over Jason Harward (No. 88 Zelus Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan GT3). The two were nose to tail for the first half of the race, rarely a few car lengths apart.
At the 20-minute mark, Harward got a strong run on Kurtz in traffic and jumped ahead through Turn 1. After watching these two ruthlessly battle it out yesterday, this was quite a momentous occasion, especially considering Sebring’s brutally tricky succession of corners.
Twelve minutes later, Harward went a little too wide and a little too hot into the final corner, opening the door for Kurtz. The Mercedes-AMG driver powered through and regained the lead. The gap proceeded to widen in the final laps, giving Kurtz an easy win—his eighth of the season—and the overall sweep of the weekend. The new champion also earned the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap by setting a 2:02.035 lap time.
Behind Kurtz and Harward, Mirco Schultis (No. 70 Mishumotors Callaway Corvette C7.R) quickly moved up to third and stayed there for the remainder of the race, and Jason Daskalos (No. 27 Daskalos Racing Audi R8 LMS) sadly suffered more mechanical issues that resulted in a DNF.
Following Kurtz across the line was Harward and Schultis, an identical podium to the Saturday afternoon race.
“He didn’t make it easy,” Kurtz said of his front-of-the-pack rival Harward. “We had the lead for a while, but as they say, traffic giveth, traffic taketh away. I thought I had a little bit more in the tires left, so we just cranked in some fast laps until the end, put the pressure on, and got the win.”
While the top spot in the championship has been settled with the title going to Kurtz, how the rest of the podium will fill out remains yet to be seen. The battle for second is close between Daskalos, Harward, and Schultis with just 21 points separating them, and 50 points up for grabs at Indy..
After a tumultuous ending to the GT4 race on Saturday—all centered around mechanical issues and running out of fuel—the field ran through all 40 minutes without any issue, though plenty of entertaining action and skillful driving.
The biggest highlight happened almost instantly: on Lap 1 at Turn 1, Jason Bell (No. 2 GMG Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4) swung to the inside, and despite the massive early race scramble, jumped two positions to P2 and held onto it for the entire race. He also nearly snatched the lead from Elias Sabo (No. 8 Flying Lizard Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4), but Sabo had the better line in the following two corners, which assured his maintaining of the lead all-race-long.
There was enough real estate between Sabo and Bell, plus a comfortable amount of space behind Bell, to solidify their positions early on. Further back the battle was on between Adam Adelson (No. 120 Premier Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport) and Moisey Uretsky (No. 55 Accelerating Performance Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4). Adelson jumped ahead from his seventh-place starting position, while Uretsky dropped three positions from his. Both drivers really wanted to grab the final podium spot and the additional three championship points that it provided. At this point in the season, with how close the GT4 championship is right before Indy, every single point matters.
Behind the Adelson-Uretsky scrap, and just off their bumpers was Marko Radisic (427 SRQ Motorsport BMW M4 GT4), Seth Lucas (No. 016 Hattori Motorsports Toyota GR Supra GT4)—who jumped three positions over the course of the race—Bryan Putt (No. 15 BSport Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4), and Robb Holland (No. 99 Rotek Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport), all engaged in a squabble of their own.
In the end, it was Sabo across the line first, followed by Bell and Adelson. Sabo became the ninth different winner from 14 races.
“Man, it’s just straight elation,” Sabo said of how his win felt. “The team again gave me the best car in the paddock. I can’t say enough about Owen Hayes and what he does from an engineering standpoint—first win ever in SRO, it’s just such an awesome feeling.”
The championship points chase remains extremely close with Bell retaking the lead by a slim two point margin over Adelson 152-150, followed by Uretsky, Chouest, and Holland. First to fifth is just 25 points apart. The margin is even closer when the ‘drop’ factor is added. Each driver in GT4 will drop their worst weekend of the year. The adjusted drop totals have Bell and Adelson equal at 146 with the first to fifth gap narrowed to just 19 points. This battle will not be resolved until the GT America powered by AWS concludes the season in two weeks, October 7-9, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.