Race Weekend Central

Trent Hindman, Spencer Pumpelly Win GT World Challenge Sebring Race No. 1

Rennsport One’s Trent Hindman took the overall lead away from Regulator Racing’s Jeff Burton with 26 minutes to go. From there, he was able to hold off a charging Elliott Skeer to win Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS Race No. 1 at Sebring International Raceway Saturday (May 4) with teammate Spencer Pumpelly.

For Hindman, this marks his first victory in the series since Road America Race No. 2 in 2020. Back then, he was driving for Racers Edge Motorsports in the Silver class. For Pumpelly, it’s his first overall victory since Lime Rock in 2018.

See also
Alegra Motorsports Wins Lime Rock GT SprintX Race No. 1

Hindman and Pumpelly’s margin of victory was .789 seconds over Wright Motorsports’ Skeer and Adam Adelson. ST Racing’s Samantha Tan and Neil Verhagen were third in their BMW, then Turner Motorsport’s Robby Foley and Justin Rothberg. Burton and Philip Ellis were fifth.

Philip Ellis started from the pole in his Mercedes. Much like in Race No. 1 at Sonoma, the grandmaster plan was to try to drive away from the field as much as possible before teammate Jeff Burton would get into the car.

The strategy nearly didn’t work out for Ellis as Rennsport One’s Spencer Pumpelly nearly swept around the outside for the lead in turn 1 on the start. However, Ellis was able to hold him off.

Sure enough, Ellis was eventually able to open up a decent gap. 18 minutes into the race, he was six seconds ahead of Pumpelly and nearly 17 seconds ahead of Samantha Tan, who was second in the Pro-Am class.

Further back, Saturday’s race marked the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS debut for the new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R with DXDT Racing. Scott Smithson started ninth, but dropped to the rear of the field.

16 minutes into the race, Smithson was battling Chouest-Povoledo Racing’s Ross Chouest for position when the two came together in turn 16. Chouest spun and suffered a suspension failure that ultimately put him out of the race.

Smithson was forced to make two pit stops for repairs after the incident. In addition, SRO America officials determined that Smithson was responsible for the incident, so he also had to serve a drive-through penalty. Smithson and Bryan Sellers ended up retiring due to issues with the left front suspension.

Behind Ellis, Pumpelly was fast enough to hang for a while before dropping off. That pace was still more than enough to pull away from Choksey and Mars, who fought among themselves for second in Pro.

At the mid-race pit stop sequence, the vast majority of the teams stopped very early to put their second driver in. Ellis, given his strategy, was the exception to the rule.

Wright Motorsports pitted their Porsche at the earliest opportunity to put Skeer in the car. The extra lap of tire temperature ultimately allowed Skeer to jump Veach and Auberlen to move up to second in class. That, combined with some of the fastest laps of the race, allowed Skeer to race himself up into contention.

Ellis finally pitted his Mercedes with 41 minutes to go to hand over to Burton. Burton got back out with an advantage of around 15 seconds over Hindman.

That lead did not last all that long. It took Hindman 15 minutes to run down Burton and take the overall lead. As Hindman was two seconds a lap faster, it really wasn’t much of a fight.

Burton’s true goal was to try to win the Pro-Am class. His main competition for that crown was Verhagen. After his pit stop, Burton held a 25-second lead over the ST Racing BMW.

It didn’t take long for Verhagen to run down Burton while setting the fastest laps of the race. With 15 minutes to go, Verhagen took the lead away in class. From there, he drove away to take the class win.

Verhagen and Tan ended up winning on the road by 16.663 seconds over Foley and Rothberg. However, the ST Racing No. 38’s pit stop was .428 seconds too quick. As a result, the amount under the minimum pit lane time is multiplied by 10 and added to the total time of the race.

As a result, the official margin of victory was 12.383 seconds over the Turner BMW. Burton and Ellis held on for third in Pro-Am, followed by GMG Racing’s Tom Sargent and Kyle Washington. CrowdStrike Racing by Riley’s Colin Braun and George Kurtz couldn’t recover from a drive-through penalty for an infraction on the start of the race and finished fifth.

Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS: Sebring Race No. 1 Results

Race No. 2 for Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS is scheduled to go green at 11:15 a.m. ET Saturday morning. Verhagen will start from the overall pole in his BMW. The race will be streamed live on both the GT World YouTube channel and on SpeedSport1.

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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