Birthday Boy Harry Gottsacker Takes GTS Pole Friday With Ginetta G55 GT4 sports car at Mid-Ohio. 18-year-old driving star scores first Pirelli World Challenge pole.

LEXINGTON, Ohio – It was a special birthday present for 18-year-old racer Harry Gottsacker of San Antonio, Tex., Friday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with his first Pirelli World Challenge pole position in the GTS division for the PWC Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio presented by Honda Racing.

Gottsacker, driving the No. 69 Performance Motorsports Group Ginetta G55 GT4 sports car, dazzled the 18-car field on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn permanent road circuit near of Columbus with a time of one minute, 28.084 seconds and an average speed of 92.28 miles per hour during the IndyCar Series racing weekend that features four PWC 50-minute sprint races.

Gottsacker, who was awarded an Eagle Scout badge recently, jumped to the top position early in the 30-minute qualifying session and never looked back as he now prepares for Saturday’s 10:55 am EDT GTS Round 11. The race can be streamed live for free on www.motortrendondemand.com and world-challenge.com/streamvideo; check world-challenge.com for links. The CBS Sports Network telecast is set for Wednesday, Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. EDT.

Taking the second position in GTS qualifying was current GTS record holder Lawson Aschenbach of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R with a 1:28.483 (91.86 m.p.h.) lap followed by another young star, Ernie Francis Jr. of Miami, Fla., in the No. 40 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 with a 1:28.565 (91.78 m.p.h.).

Rounding out the top-five in GTS time trials were 16-year-old Parker Chase of New Braunsfels, Tex., in the team car to Gottsacker, the No. 19 Performance Motorsports Group Ginetta G55 GT4 with a clocking of 1:28.616 (91.73 m.p.h.) and two-time GTS pole winner Martin Barkey of Huntsville, Ont., Canada, in the No. 80 Mantella Autosports KTM X-Bow at 1:28.710 (91.63 m.p.h.)

“We unloaded and the car felt perfect almost off the bat,” said Gottsacker. “The only thing I had to do was work on my line; the throttle pickup, brakes, everything was great. I can’t wait to get racing tomorrow (Saturday). I saw that number and I tried to beat it in the next two laps, but I’m just happy that we’re on pole. It was a little bit different racing here compared to last year, but I really think I had a lot more experience coming back to this track this year. I feel much more comfortable in the car. (Parker Chase and I) ran British GT with Ginetta in GT3 earlier this year. But it feels great to be back in the Pirelli World Challenge.”

Taking the pole in the GTS Amateur division was Fred Roberts of Toronto, Ont., Canada with a 1:28.718 (91.62 m.ph.) in the No. 89 JCR Motorsports Maserati GT4.

Second in GTS Am was Jason Bell of Tampa, Fla., in the No. 2 Racer’s Edge SIN CAR 1 GT4 at 1:29.143 (91.18 m.p.h.) with third to veteran Tony Gaples of Libertyville, Ill., at 1:29.464 (90.86 m.p.h.) in the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.

“I’d like to say it was a plan to wait until the end for the fastest lap but it wasn’t,” said Roberts. “It’s just building. We’re still getting to know the car. It’s only a few races in for us. For me, stepping into a car without the ABS (brakes) is a big adjustment, so my style is to keep building. You always make a few adjustments and tweaks. The car was better yesterday. The benefit of a two-car team is to be able to compare. Today, we were struggling a little bit in the morning. We went backwards in some settings and then had to dial them back this afternoon since the conditions were always changing. We’re working very hard and doing everything we can on the engineering side.”


Results from the Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by Honda Racing Qualifying session for GTS Rd. 11. Results are provisional until posted Final.

Pos,PIC,Class,Name,Hometown,Car,Laps,Fastest Lap Time,Fastest Lap Avg. Speed
1,1, Pro,Harry GOTTSACKER,San Antonio, TX,Ginetta G55,7,1:28.084,92.2
2,2, Pro,Lawson ASCHENBACH,Palm Beach Gardens, FL,Chevrolet Camaro GT4,5,1:28.483,91.8
3,3, Pro,Ernie FRANCIS JR,Miami, FL,Ford Mustang,5,1:28.565,91.7
4,4, Pro,Parker CHASE,New Braunsfels, TX,Ginetta G55,8,1:28.616,91.7
5,5, Pro,Martin BARKEY,Huntsville, ON,KTM Xbow GT4,15,1:28.710,91.6
6,1, Am,Fred ROBERTS,Toronto, ON,Maserati GT4,19,1:28.718,91.6
7,6, Pro,Jeff COURTNEY,Milwaukee, WI,Maserati GT4,17,1:28.978,91.3
8,2, Am,Jason BELL,Tampa, FL,SIN R1 GT4,15,1:29.143,91.1
9,7, Pro,Ian JAMES,Paradise Valley, AZ,Panoz Avezzano GT,8,1:29.268,91.0
10,8, Pro,Rodrigo BAPTISTA,Barcelona, Spain,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,13,1:29.431,90.8
11,3, Am,Tony GAPLES,Libertyville, IL,Chevrolet Camaro GT4,13,1:29.464,90.8
12,4, Am,Bob MICHAELIAN,Seal Beach, CA,SIN R1 GT4,17,1:29.489,90.8
13,5, Am,George KURTZ,Paradise Valley, AZ,McLaren 570s GT4,12,1:29.536,90.7
14,9, Pro,Nate STACY,Tulsa, OK,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,15,1:29.579,90.7
15,6, Am,Mark KLENIN,Lone Tree, CO,McLaren 570S GT4,14,1:30.090,90.2
16,7, Am,Adam MERZON,Greenwich, CT,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,19,1:30.962,89.3
17,8, Am,Bill ZIEGLER,Ponte Vedra, FL,KTM Xbow GT4,11,1:30.986,89.3
18,9, Am,James PESEK,Harrisonville, MO,Ford Mustang,5,1:31.820,88.5
19,10, Pro,Jason WOLFE,Mount Vernon, OH,KTM Xbow GT4,0,NS,,