The SRO America championships held their third race weekend of the season at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas this past weekend, and it was a very successful weekend for BMW and MINI, with multiple podiums in the GT4 America and TC America races. In contrast, it was a very trying weekend for the two BMW teams competing with the M4 GT3 in GT World Challenge America.
In GT4 America, the M4 GT4 scored no less than ten podium finishes among the various classes in the two races. In the Silver class, the Auto Technic Racing #51 M4 GT4 driven by Zac Anderson and John Capestro-Dubets (JCD) was the class of the field in race one, starting from second before quickly taking a commanding lead that they held until the end to get the victory. It was the second consecutive victory for the duo after winning at NOLA Motorsports Park in late April. “You need these moments,” said JCD after the race. “This is what you work for. Our goal is GT3 and we’re on our way there I think.”
The #38 STR38 Motorsports M4 GT4 of Jon Miller and Chandler Hull finished in third in Silver in race one, while the #44 Rooster Hall Racing BMW of Johan Schwarz and Colin Garrett finished second behind the winning Toyota Supra in the Pro-Am class. In the Am class, it was a BMW one-two-three sweep of the podium, with the #438 STR38 Motorsports M4 GT4 driven by Robert Mau and Chris Allen taking the victory ahead of the #36 BimmerWorld car of James Clay and Charlie Postins and the #253 Auto Technic Racing car of Rob Walker and Satakal Khalsa.
In GT4 America race two, the Auto Technic pair of JCD and Zac Anderson had another strong race in Silver, finishing second behind the winning Toyota Supra, in a race that had the last eighteen minutes run under caution after BMW driver Jon Miller took out two other cars in a late braking maneuver into turn one that didn’t work out. In Pro-Am, the #82 BimmerWorld entry of James Walker, Jr. and Tyler McQuarrie finished in second behind the winning Aston Martin. In the Am class, the BimmerWorld duo of Clay and Postins took the victory ahead of STR38 Motorsports drivers Robert Mau and Chris Allen. “It feels like an earned win today,” said Charlie Postins. “We got a bit of a lesson yesterday and it got us on our toes. This is how we respond. I’m really proud of the team and James.”
In TC America, the BMW M2 CS ended the three-race win streak of the Honda Civic Type R in the TCX class, aided by balance of performance adjustments to make the cars more even. In race one, Rigid Speed Company driver Lucas Catania got his first win in the series after finishing as runner-up multiple times, taking the victory in his #26 M2 CS over Rooster Hall Racing driver Colin Garrett and Fast Track Racing driver Maddie Aust to make it a BMW sweep of the podium. “We changed the diff last night and were here until around 11:00,” said Catania. “We’re a small team, so after that to give them a result like that after consistent top finishes–there’s no better feeling.”
The M2 CS cars carried their momentum into race two, with Colin Garrett of Rooster Hall Racing getting the victory, followed by Maddie Aust in second and Honda driver Kyle Loh in third. It was Garrett’s second win of the year after winning the opening round at Sonoma Raceway. In the TC class, MINI JCW Team driver Clayton Williams won both races in his MINI JCW Pro car and was followed by teammate Christian Perocarpi on the podium in second in race two.
The ST Racing duo of Samantha Tan and works driver John Edwards showed good speed throughout the weekend, but had circumstances go against them. Tan put in a great drive in her opening stint of race one before handing off to Edwards, who soon after was hit by the #120 Porsche in turn one, resulting in a broken suspension on the BMW. Edwards had a strong start to race two and was running as high as third in the Pro-Am class before handing off to Tan, who had a great battle going with Charlie Luck in the Wright Motorsport Porsche before finishing fifth in class.
It was a mostly forgettable weekend for the BimmerWorld Racing and ST Racing teams competing in GT World Challenge America with the M4 GT3. In race one, Chandler Hull had a strong run going in the #94 BimmerWorld car before making an overly aggressive move on the Conquest Racing Ferrari that took both out of the race. The wreck resulted in the Ferrari not being able to start race two and a late night for the BimmerWorld crew as they repaired the damage to the M4 GT3. The incident also resulted in a penalty for the team, forcing Bill Auberlen to start from the pit lane in race two, where they ended up in last place in the Pro class. It was a major blow to the championship hopes of the team, which finished first and third in the last two races at NOLA Motorsports Park.
The SRO GT World Challenge, GT4 America and TC America championships will compete next at VIR on the weekend of June 16th-18th.
[Photos by SRO]