Hanley Motorsports’ Parker Thompson was able to take the lead from Random Vandals Racing’s Kenton Koch exiting turn 1 11 minutes into the race Friday afternoon (Sept. 22). From there, teammate Daniel Hanley was able to hold on to take the team’s first Pirelli GT4 America SprintX overall victory of 2023 and second Silver-class win.
“The Toyota GR Supra is just so good at Sebring,” Thompson told SRO America’s Amanda Busick. “[Our crew] set this car up like a rocket ship. Great on the short run, great on the long run.
“But, you can’t do this without a great teammate,” Thompson continued. “I had a great start, but that finish, my god. It’s [Daniel Hanley’s] first year of racing and he’s out there beating everyone. I [am] incredibly proud.”
The margin of victory was 1.334 seconds over AutoTechnic Racing’s Zac Anderson and John Capestro-Dubets. Conquest Racing/JMF Motorsport’s Michai Stephens and Jesse Webb were third, followed by Random Vandals Racing’s Kevin Boehm and Kenton Koch. Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Andy Lee and Elias Sabo were fifth.
This race was not originally on the Pirelli GT4 America SprintX schedule. The race was originally scheduled to be Race No. 1 at NOLA Motorsports Park back on April 29. However, that race was cancelled after a long delay due to thunderstorms pushed the racing card to the point where the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS scheduled before it ran nearly to darkness.
The grid for the race was set using the qualifying results from the second NOLA session. As a result, Koch started from the overall pole in his BMW. Thompson was alongside and gave chase early.
Thompson was able to get past Koch 15 minutes in to take the overall lead. Once there, he pulled away from Koch’s BMW. By the time the mid-race pit stops began, Thompson had stretched the advantage to four seconds.
Hanley didn’t quite have Thompson’s pace. Boehm was able to close in by a couple of tenths of a second each lap, but had some issues with the sand being brought onto the track by other drivers. That allowed Hanley to minimize his losses while Anderson and Webb closed in.
While Hanley was able to hold on to take the win, Anderson was able to slip past Boehm in Sunset Bend on the final lap. Webb was able to follow.
In Pro-Am, ACI Racing’s Kay van Berlo started on the class pole in third overall in his Porsche. Behind van Berlo, Lee was slowly moving forward in his Aston Martin.
Van Berlo couldn’t hang with Thompson and Koch at the front of the field and fell into the clutches of Stephens. A block on Stephens by van Berlo allowed Lee to sneak past into fourth overall. A half a lap later, Lee was able to get past entering turn 3 to take the class lead.
Once out front, Lee opened up the gap while van Berlo did battle with Stephens and Capestro-Dubets.
When Sabo got into the car, he had a decent lead and was running with Webb and Anderson. He then dropped off of the duo that ultimately finished second and third. Behind him, NOLAsport’s Matt Travis was much quicker and spent the second half of the race running down Sabo. He ultimately ran out of time as Sabo held on for the win.
Lee and Sabo’s margin of victory was .837 seconds over Travis and Jason Hart. BimmerWorld Racing’s Tyler McQuarrie and James Walker Jr. were third, then van Berlo and Curt Swearingin. The Heart of Racing’s Ian James and Gray Newell were fifth in their Aston Martin.
In the Am class, Carrus Callus Raceteam’s Terry Borcheller started from the class pole in fourth overall. He fell back a little bit early, but was able to keep his Supra in the top 10, quite a ways ahead of the rest of the class.
Once Nick Shanny took over, the field caught back up to him. With 10 minutes to go, Shanny was caught by the Pro-Am Aston Martin of Ross Chouest. Just behind Chouest was Am points leader Charlie Postins.
While Chouest was being held up by Shanny, Postins went to the outside in Sunset Bend to get past. Only a couple of turns later, Postins had the class lead. From there, Postins pulled away to take his and James Clay‘s sixth straight Am win and seventh of the year in 11th overall.
Clay and Postins’ margin of victory was 5.076 seconds over Rennsport One’s Austin and Roland Krainz. Random Vandals Racing’s Al Carter and Paul Sparta were third, then Chris Allen and Robert Mau in the second STR38 Motorsports BMW. Shanny and Borcheller had to settle for fifth.
Race No. 2 from Sebring is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET Saturday afternoon. The race will be streamed live on the GT World YouTube channel and SpeedSport1 for free. It will also be available to subscribers to Motorsport.tv.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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