BMW’s claimed victories in six races and scored additional podium finishes at the legendary Sebring International Raceway on October 2–3. Sean Quinlan is the only BMW entry in the GT America series and won the GT4 class in the first race on Saturday in his Cameron Racing M4 GT4. It wasn’t easy, as he battled with the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Jason Bell and eventually finished just 0.469 seconds ahead of him at the checkered flag.
“Sebring is one of my favorite race tracks, and having the race with Jason was a lot of fun. He was right on my tail, but he had a little trouble getting by me, so I enjoyed that but we raced right up until the checkered flag,” said Quinlan after the race. Race two (SRO holds two races per race weekend) didn’t go as well for Quinlan, as he was caught up in a multi-car accident.
In the GT4 America series, which has several M4 GT4s on the entry in different classes, BMW’s scored five podium finishes. Random Vandals Racing driver’s Al Carter and Paul Sparta had the best finish of any of the M4 GT4s with a win in race one in the Am class. In that same race, Classic BMW started from the pole in the Silver class with Stevan McAleer at the wheel, but fell back to finish third as Mercedes finished first and second. Sean Quinlan and Greg Liefooghe finished third in the Pro/Am class for Cameron Racing, and BimmerWorld Racing drivers James Clay and Nick Galante finished a strong fourth.
In the second GT4 America race at Sebring, BimmerWorld drivers Bill Auberlen and James Walker finished third in the Pro/Am class after Auberlen started from pole, and Sean Quinlan and Greg Liefooghe finished in fifth in Pro/Am. In the Silver class, Tim Barber and Cole Ciraulo finished third while Classic BMW was taken out of contention when Stevan McAleer had to serve a penalty for contact with fellow BMW racer Tom Capizzi.
With one race left, class championships were clinched at Sebring. Murillo Racing Mercedes drivers Kenny Murillo and Christian Szymczak won the Silver class drivers’ championship, and Nolasport Porsche drivers Jason Hart and Matt Travis clinched the Pro/Am championship.
In the TC America series, BMW drivers won their respective classes in both races. Stephen Cugliari won both TCX class races in his M2 CS Racing(the TCX class only has M2 CS cars on the entry this season) after some great battles in both races with points leader Jacob Ruud. With a podium finish in the first race, Ruud was able to clinch the TCX class championship for Classic BMW. In the TC class, Auto Technic Racing driver Austen Smith won both races in his M240i, and M240i drivers Tom Capizzi and Matthew Ibrahim also made it into the top five in the second race. “Every time I get in the car, I’m just focused on the next corner, said Austen Smith. “Ultimately, we just want to win every race that’s left. I really have to give it up to the Auto Technic team. The crew guys are amazing.”
Turner Motorsport is in a bit of a rut right now. After having a miserable IMSA race weekend at Long Beach the previous weekend with their M6 GT3, they had another weekend to forget in the SRO GT World Challenge series, as Michael Dinan crashed heavily during the qualifying session and led to a withdrawal from race one. The team had parts brought down on a flight from their Massachusetts race shop and managed to fix the car for race two, but retired after 24 laps with a throttle-related issue. Wins in both races by the points-leading Lamborghini of drivers Andrea Caldarelli and Jordan Pepper were enough to clinch the Pro class championship for them with one race still to go.
The season finale for SRO America is at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the weekend of October 14—16.—David Haueter
[Photos courtesy SRO Motorsports Group America.]