Racing At Road America As Great As Always!
The 2021 International GT season rolled into Road America for Round 3. With a record entry at the Road America event there was strong competition in all of the IGT classes.
The 4+ mile circuit did not disappoint with action packed racing all weekend. ANDY PILGRIM posted a clean sweep of the weekend at the pointy end of the field in his Maranello Cup #4 SKI Autosports Ferrari 458GT. But it wasn’t an easy task with pressure from JUAN LOPEZ-SANTINI #74 from 901 Shop who was just behind Pilgrim overall and won the 4.R category in the first sprint and TOM PANK#42 in his bright green and blue Ultra Performance Porsche, who won the second sprint race in the 4.R category stalking Pilgrim throughout the race.
Sunday’s enduro start was slightly delayed for weather and it was a toss of the coin decision on slicks or wets with a split field at the start.
However, in the end it was pit stop timing that determined the outcome when a late race incident on track rewarded those who had waited on their 5-minute mandatory pit stop, performing it under caution. Following Pilgrim to the checkered was ED BAUS in his Demon Speed 3.8 liter Mission Foods GT3 Cup entry.
COLIN COHEN #15 from Norwood Auto Italia returned to IGT competition after missing Sebring due to the great Texas ice storm and Road Atlanta for a schedule conflict. We’ve gotten used to seeing his bright red Ferrari over the past five years but he turned up in a beautifully re-liveried car! Cohen ran into some mechanical gremlins in the first sprint, but went onto win the Maranello Cup 458 class in sprint race 2 and the enduro.
In the Stuttgart Cup it was the battle of the “Mikes” in the 3.8 category sprints. MICHAEL MARTIN #5 from ZOTZ Racing won sprint race 1, while the victory for sprint race 2 belonged to MICHAEL CLARK #133. To round things out, the category was won by IGT newcomer from RS1 Racing, TOM KOPCZYNSKI #520 in the enduro after consistently improving from a third place finish to a second place finish in the two sprints and ultimately winning in the enduro.
Reigning Stuttgart Cup Champion, WILL WACHS #017 in his Gator Gang 3.4 Cayman swept the category on the weekend. Wachs was followed in second in the sprints by LAWRENCE TRUNK #338.
In the Mission Foods GT3 Cup category JUAN GONZALEZ #81 in his Car Amigo Mission Foods liveried Porsche had a fantastic weekend completing the 4.R podium in the first sprint and taking a hard-fought second in the second sprint.
The Mission Foods GT3 Cup 4 liter category which is always a great battle, didn’t look any different at Road America. He doesn’t race every IGT event, but JOHN HIGGINS #39 reminded us all why we love having him in the field, winning the first sprint race in his Euro Classics prepared Porsche and was runner up in the second sprint. He was followed by MARK MATHYS #77 in second for the first sprint and Mark rounded out the podium in third for the second sprint.
JERONIMO GUZMAN #22A from TLM Racing brought a new sponsor with him to Road America in CODIGO 1530 Tequila, who joined with Jeronimo’s current sponsor Provident Jewelry to produced gift bags given out during podium ceremonies, to everyone’s delight! In addition to the gift bags, there were two very special bottles of CODIGO 1530 tequila that were presented to James Hamman and Andy Pilgrim who had great race and qualifying performances over the weekend.
Hamman just couldn’t catch a break in the sprint races with a couple mechanical issues that relegated him to poor finishes, but then came back to have a great enduro race run and finish on the podium in the 3.8 class. While Andy Pilgrim and Tom Pank put on a couple of thrilling qualifying battle on Friday. In the first qualifying session Pilgrim finished just a tenth of second behind Pank’s Porsche in first.
However, in the second session Andy posted the overall best qualifying time in his Ferrari to start on the pole in the sprint race– again by just a tenth of a second! Our thanks go to Jeronimo, CODIGO 1530 Tequila and Provident Jewelry for putting together the exceptional gift bags and bringing new faces and sponsors to IGT. On track Guzman ran into some mechanical issues in sprint race 1 but came back to win the 4 liter category in both sprint race 2 and the enduro.
As we mentioned, Ed Baus won the Mission Foods GT3 Cup 3.8 category enduro, as well as sprint race 1 and there were fierce battles throughout the weekend in the Series’ most popular class. LUKAS PANK #40 returned to IGT competition just days after graduating from Virginia Tech! He proved he hasn’t lost his touch while cracking the books, as he took a convincing win in sprint race 2 and was runner up in the enduro.
Also on the podium in the 3.8 category was JOHN BLEAZARD #33, from Quirt Racing who finished second and third in the two sprints, IGT first-time competitor TOM NELSON #62 finishing third in sprint 1 and JAMES HAMMAN #176 from TLM Racing finishing third in the enduro. Just off the podium, ROBERT WISEN #27 and BRIAN HICKS #22 swapped fourth and fifth place finishes throughout the weekend with strong points events toward the championship.
An equally lively battle ensued in the Mission Foods GT3 Cup 3.6 category. TOM MCGLYNN #17 swept the weekend winning both sprint races and partnering with 901 Shop owner, BRADY REFENNING to take the victory in the enduro. In the sprint races McGlynn was followed closely in second by NICKLAS PANK #41, the youngest Pank sibling with his Ultra Performance prepped Porsche and RANDAL CASSLING #70 in third. Cassling moved up a step to finish second in the enduro.
Thanks to all the competitors who joined us at Road America, making for a great race weekend. Round 4 of the 2021 season is quickly approaching with the Series return to historic Lime Rock Park on Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-28.
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