BOWMANVILLE, Ont., Canada – Jade Buford of Brentwood, Tenn., recorded his second straight GTS victory at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park with a convincing 7.24-second win Sunday in the No. 45 Racer’s Edge SIN R1 GT4 at the Pirelli World Challenge Victoria Day Speedfest.
Buford, who recently competed in the America Ninja Warrior competition in Daytona Beach, Fla., started from the pole position with a standing start for Round 6 of the 2017 GTS road racing campaign and led every lap to his fifth PWC career win.
Buford, an Auburn University graduate, completed the double-win sweep over former two-time GTS champion Lawson Aschenbach of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., with an impressive start and held off Aschenbach early in the 50-minute race.
Ernie Francis Jr., started second to Buford, but was unable to leave the starting line at the green flag due to a mechanical issue in the No. 40 PF Racing/Breathless Racing Ford Mustang. Francis’ starting line malfunction forced much of the GTS field to scramble for a position in turn one at the famed 2.458-mile, 10-turn circuit.
“I’ve been fortunate to have been at the start of a lot of development of race cars, and the SIN car is one of them,” said Buford. “The team has done a fantastic job working with me, developing the car, working on its weaknesses and really improving it. From what I was driving last year to now, it’s a completely different car and it’s impressive what they’ve done. And, we still have a couple of little tweaks to make and I think it will be an even better car. You have to do the best you can with what you have. As a driver, that’s your goal.”
Aschenbach, a Vanderbilt University grad, drove his No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4R from a seventh starting position to second place early in the 33-lap contest and remained in the runner-up spot until the checkered flag.
“I’m always looking forward to standing starts because the car seems to launch really well,” said Aschenbach. “Unfortunately, the inside of the track here had a ton of marbles so I had a feeling we would get too much wheel spin and that’s basically what happened. Fortunately, everyone was jostling around because of Ernie’s (Francis, Jr.) misfortune. It ended up creating more passing opportunities on that first lap because everybody was so jumbled up and trying to sort each other out. I was able to pounce early. All in all, I’m really happy with the Camaro; six podiums in six races.”
Local favorite Anthony Mantella of Toronto, Ont., rounded out the top-three with his No. 8 Mantella Autosports KTM Xbow GT4 after a spirited battle with Rodrigo Baptista of Spain in the No. 3 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR. Baptista finished sixth behind Ian James of Paradise Valley, Ariz., in the No. 50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT in fourth and veteran Jeff Courtney of Milwaukee, Wis., in the No. 99 Kenda/JCR Motorsports Maserati GT4.
“With our car, it’s really difficult to go up against the guys that are in front of us, and (Rodrigo) Baptista as well,” said Mantella. “They have a little more straight line speed. Because our car is so good in the corners, the series has given some cars straight-line speed so it’s really difficult to get by. Unfortunately, he got a little aggressive and he was forcing me off to the side in turn 4. Turn 4 is a high-consequence corner, I wasn’t going to give it up because I wasn’t going to go in the grass for him, and we made contact. The carbon-fiber was rubbing on the tires and immediately our two spotters were giving me reports about how much smoke was coming out. But, that’s racing, it’s passed now and we’re moving on to Lime Rock.”
Seventeen-year-old Nate Stacy of Owasso, Okla., piloted the No. 14 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR and collected seventh place Sunday at CTMP followed by local driver Martin Barkey of Huntsville, Ont., Canada in the No. 80 MBRP Performance Exhaust KTM XBow GT4, George Kurtz of Paradise Valley, Ariz., in the No. 04 Crowdstrike/GMG Motorsports McLaren 570S and Tony Gaples of Libertyville, Ill., in the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Sport Chevrolet Camaro GT4R.
Kurtz captured the GTS Amateur division honors Sunday in the PWC Victoria Day Speedfest.
All results are provisional until posted Final. Rounds 7 and 8 of the GTS class are scheduled for next weekend at the popular Lime Rock Park road circuit on Friday (May 26) and Saturday (May 27) and will be live-streamed on World-Challenge.com and MotorTrendOnDemand.com. Check the PWC site for links and live-stream times.
Results of Round 6 GTS 50-minute sprint race Saturday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Results are provisional until posted Final.
1,1, Pro,Jade BUFORD,Brentwood, TN,SIN R1 GT4,33,Running,50:17.827,
2,2, Pro,Lawson ASCHENBACH,Palm Beach Gardens, FL,Chevrolet Camaro GT4,33,Running,50:25.067,7.240
3,3, Pro,Anthony MANTELLA,Toronto, ON,KTM Xbow GT4,33,Running,50:42.754,24.927
4,4, Pro,Ian JAMES,Paradise Valley, AZ,Panoz Avezzano GT,33,Running,50:51.732,33.905
5,5, Pro,Jeff COURTNEY,Milwaukee, WI,Maserati GT4,33,Running,50:52.289,34.462
6,6, Pro,Rodrigo BAPTISTA,Barcelona, Spain,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,33,Running,50:52.652,34.825
7,7, Pro,Nate STACY,Tulsa, OK,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,33,Running,50:52.853,35.026
8,8, Pro,Martin BARKEY,Huntsville, ON,KTM Xbow GT4,33,Running,50:53.047,35.220
9,1, Am,George KURTZ,Paradise Valley, AZ,McLaren 570S GT4,33,Running,50:59.716,41.889
10,2, Am,Tony GAPLES,Libertyville, IL,Chevrolet Camaro GT4,33,Running,51:01.195,43.368
11,3, Am,Aristotle BALOGH,Palo Alto, CA,BMW M3 E46,33,Running,51:13.373,55.546
12,4, Am,Fred ROBERTS,Toronto, ON,Maserati GT4,33,Running,51:33.338,1:15.511
13,5, Am,Jason BELL,Tampa, FL,KTM Xbow GT4,33,Running,51:33.904,1:16.077
14,6, Am,Bill ZIEGLER,Ponte Vedra, FL,KTM Xbow GT4,32,Running,51:06.607,1 LAP
15,7, Am,Craig LYONS,Newport Beach, CA,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport,32,Running,51:37.463,1 LAP
16,8, Am,Adam MERZON,Greenwich, CT,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,28,Running,51:28.087,5 LAPS
17,9, Am,Cameron CASSELS,Coldstream, BC,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,28,Running,51:34.644,5 LAPS
18,10, Am,Mark KLENIN,Lone Tree, CO,McLaren 570S GT4,17,Not Running,27:48.260,16 LAPS
19,9, Pro,Ernie FRANCIS Jr,,Ford Mustang,0,NC,0.000,