NOLAsport’s Matt Travis and Jason Hart continued their excellent form Friday afternoon (May 17) at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. Hart was able to power past Epic Motorsports’ James Clay with 20 minutes remaining and pulled away to take overall victory in the first Pirelli GT4 America SprintX race of the weekend.
“We had a fantastic run,” Hart said after the race. “Really fun racing against the BMWs. This Porsche just doesn’t quit. It just brings it.”
Murillo Racing’s Matthew Fassnacht qualified on pole for the race in his Mercedes-AMG GT4. However, on the start, he lost the advantage to Park Place Motorsports’ Alan Brynjolfsson in a Porsche Cayman GT4 MR. It didn’t take long for Brynjolfsson and Fassnacht to pull away from the pack and attempt to settle between themselves. Behind the lead duo, Travis comfortably led GT4 America SprintX.
Brynjolfsson’s pace at the front was quicker than anyone else on the track, except for Fassnacht. Within a few laps, Fassnacht ran Brynjolfsson back down and put the pressure on him for the lead. On lap 7, Fassnacht was able to get past, but Brynjolfsson was able to execute a crossover move and retain the lead.
A couple of laps later, trouble struck. Fassnacht got a huge run exiting the final turn and got in the back of Brynjolfsson, spinning the VOLT-sponsored Porsche into the wall. The Porsche was badly damaged and dropped fluids onto the track. Brynjolfsson was out on the spot, while the fluids brought out the race’s one and only caution.
Fassnacht was judged to be responsible for the crash. As a result, he was given a stop and 60-second hold in the pits. That dropped him from leading the race to nearly a lap down. The duo of Fassnacht and Christian Szymczak ended up finishing 11th.
Fassnacht’s penalty gave the lead to Andretti Autosport’s Jarret Andretti right before the mid-race pit window opened. A so-so pit stop and driver change to Karl Thomson dropped the team out of the hunt.
Hart more or less won the race out of the pits, but was overtaken for what would eventually become the overall lead by the BMW of Clay before the pit window closed. For the next few laps, Hart stalked Clay and attempted to get past, but the BimmerWorld owner kept him at bay.
With Stephen Cameron Racing’s Greg Liefooghe closing in from behind, Hart was able to make his move for the lead with 20 minutes remaining. Once he made it stick, Hart was able to pull away and take the win.
The margin of victory was 9.097 seconds over the Stephen Cameron Racing BMW of Liefooghe and Sean Quinlan. Andretti and Thomson were 20 seconds back in third, but still good enough to win SprintX Pro-Am.
In GT4 East, the Fassnacht penalty put Clay up front. Despite losing the overall lead, he was still in position to claim the GT4 East honors. Then Clay’s tires went away. That allowed KRUGSPEED’s Elivan Goulart to enter the picture in his Ginetta G55 GT4.
In the closing laps. Goulart was able to run Clay down and pass him on the left right before Turn 4 to take the class lead. From there, he held on to claim victory for himself and Anthony Geraci.
Goulart and Geraci ended up second overall in their lighter Ginetta. Their margin over Clay and Randy Mueller was 1.153 seconds. Despite getting passed late, the Epic Motorsports teammates still won the GT4 East Am class. Classic BMW’s Stevan McAleer and Justin Raphael finished third.
There is one more SprintX/GT4 East race on the schedule this weekend. It is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET Saturday and can be seen at gt4-america.com.