Indianapolis 8 Hours SRO 2021

The SRO GT4 America, GT America, and TC America series all closed out their respective seasons over the weekend at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway, using a circuit that combined portions of the oval with an infield road course.

In TC America, Classic BMW driver Jacob Ruud capped off an incredible season in the TCX class by winning both races at Indy in his M2 CS Racing—a great finish to a season that saw him score ten wins. “It’s been persistence and taking the time to learn this car,” said Ruud after the first race when talking about his success this season. “It’s been a new thing for everyone this year, so everyone was trying to get up to speed. We got ahead early, which was a great advantage to us, but we tried to keep the pressure and bring the car home in one piece. It’s been a fantastic season!” The TCX class is expected to grow next season with more entries.

In other classes running within TC America, Clayton Williams won both TCA class races in his Mini Cooper run by the JCW Mini team, which were his first wins ever. “I’ll never forget this drive,” said Williams after the first win. “Having fallen back at the beginning when everyone else was on rains (rain tires) and then coming back with the slicks was just amazing. I couldn’t be happier for the MINI JCW team and everyone that helped me get here.” In the TC class, Austen Smith had a solid fourth place in the first race and finished second in the second race in his Auto Technic Racing M240i Racing

In GT4 America, the #11 Classic BMW M4 GT4 of Toby Grahovec and Stevan McAleer finished third in the Silver class behind two Mercedes in the first race, with McAleer setting the fastest lap after starting from pole. The Classic BMW dealership in Plano, Texas has run motorsport programs in SRO and IMSA for years, but the dealership was recently sold to Sewell Automotive Companies. The good news is that the motorsport programs will continue under the Fast Track Racing name, led by Grahovec and sponsored by Sewell BMW Of Plano.

BimmerWorld Racing drivers Chandler Hull and Jon Miller also had a strong first race, finishing fourth in the Silver class. In the Pro/Am class, BMWs finished fourth, fifth, and sixth. Titles in both Silver and Pro/Am had been decided in the previous races at Sebring, with Mercedes drivers Kenny Murillo and Christian Szymczak taking the title in Silver and Porsche drivers Jason Hart and Matt Travis winning the Pro/Am championship.

The BMW highlight of the second GT4 America race at Indy was a great three-way M4 GT4 battle among Tom Dyer, John Capestro-Dubets, and Bill Auberlen. The battle got a little too intense when Auberlen tried going up the inside of Dyer and made contact, which spun Dyer and resulted in a penalty for Auberlen. Chandler Hull and Jon Miller repeated their performance from race one by finishing fourth in the Silver class as Mercedes again finished one-two. Fellow BimmerWorld Racing drivers James Clay and Nick Galante finished fourth in Pro/Am, and Random Vandals Racing drivers Al Carter and Paul Sparta finished a strong second in the Am class.

In GT4 America (which combines GT3 and GT4 machinery and utilizes only one driver per car instead of two as in GT4 America), Cameron Racing driver Sean Quinlan finished third in the GT4 class in his M4 GT4 behind two Aston Martins in the first race. Going into the second race, Quinlan still held the championship lead by a slim margin but never got a chance to race, as his car stalled to a stop on the pace lap, then went into the pits and eventually behind the wall, never to return. “We lost a cylinder,” said Quinlan after the race. “We’re still not sure what went wrong. It was tough. I was feeling motivated and racy, and I think I had the pace to make it interesting.” The GT4 class championship went to Aston Martin driver Jason Bell.

The SRO America series will open their 2022 season at Sonoma Raceway in California in mid-April.—David Haueter

[Photos courtesy SRO Motorsports Group America.]

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