Veteran Porsche driver Gabriele Piana Looks Impressive in GTS Practice rounds Friday in the streets of St. Petersburg

Auto makes battle at the front with Porsche, Ford, Chevy, Ginetta & Audi

– Gabriele Piana of Italy, winner of the 24 hours of Nürburgring in GT4, continued his impressive performances Friday in the second-round practice for the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class by taking his No. 21 Muehlner Motorsports America Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR sports car to the top spot in the 28-car field.

Piana, 31, drove his mount to a time of one minute, 19.099 seconds, some two-tenths off the qualifying track record of 1:18.855 set last year by Lawson Aschenbach. The Italian must now be listed as the favorite for the GTS pole position after leading both practice rounds Friday with qualifying schedule for 9:40 a.m. EST at the 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary street circuit.

Second Friday afternoon in GTS practice was Jade Buford of Nashville, Tenn., in the No. 55 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 with a clocking of 1:19.362 followed by Aschenbach, the defending GTS champion in the No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, at 1:19.648.

Rounding out the top five overall positions were Drew Staveley of Salt Lake Lake, Utah, the GTSA driver from Salt Lake City, Utah, in the No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ginetta G55 at 1:20.038 and last year’s GTA and SprintX Pro-Am champion James Sofronas of Villa Park, Calif., in the No. 14 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS at 1:20.231.

After Stavely in the GTSA Friday at St. Petersburg was former TC champion Toby Grahovec of Celina, Tex., in the Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW M4 GT4 at 1:20.959. Grahovec is making his GTS debut in the Pirelli World Challenge this weekend in the new BMW.

Third in GTSA practice was the 2017 GTSA series champion George Kurtz in the No. 04 CrowdStrike/GMG Audi R8 at a lap of 1:12.138.
On Saturday, the GTS/GTSA Round 1 50-minute sprint race is set for 5:05 p.m. EST with Sunday’s Round 2 GTS/GTSA event to drop the green flag at 9:30 a.m. EDT.

ST. PETERSBURG – Friday’s Practice results of the Pirelli World Challenge GTS road racing series at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg for Saturday’s Round 1 and Sunday’s Round 2 50-minute sprint races. Results are provisional until posted Final.

Pos,PIC,Class,Name,Hometown,Car,Laps,Status,Fastest Lap Time,Fastest Lap Avg. Speed
1,1, Pro,Gabriele PIANA,Lugano,Italy, Porsche Cayman GT4 CS-MR,18,Not Running,1:19.099,81.9
2,2, Pro,Jade BUFORD,Nashville, TN,Ford Mustang GT4,18,Running,1:19.362,81.6
3,3, Pro,Lawson ASCHENBACH,Palm Beach Gardens, FL,Chevrolet Camaro GT4,17,Not Running,1:19.648,81.3
4,1, Am,Drew STAVELEY,Salt Lake City, UT,Ginetta G55,16,Running,1:20.038,80.9
5,4, Pro,James SOFRONAS,Villa Park, CA,Audi R8 LMS GT4,16,Not Running,1:20.231,80.7
6,5, Pro,Vinnie ALLEGRETTA,Hamptons, NY,Ford Mustang GT4,21,Running,1:20.753,80.2
7,2, Am,Toby GRAHOVEC,Celina, TX,BMW M4 GT4,19,Not Running,1:20.959,80.0
8,6, Pro,Ian JAMES,Paradise Valley, AZ,Panoz Avezzano GT4,16,Running,1:21.001,79.9
9,7, Pro,Jason BELL,Tampa, FL,Audi R8 LMS GT4,17,Running,1:21.015,79.9
10,3, Am,George KURTZ,Paradise Valley, CA,Audi R8 LMS GT4,18,Not Running,1:21.138,79.8
11,4, Am,Mike HEDLUND,Redwood City, CA,Audi R8 LMS GT4,20,Running,1:21.151,79.8
12,5, Am,Mark KLENIN,Lone Tree, CO,McLaren 570S GT4,20,Running,1:21.460,79.5
13,8, Pro,Shane LEWIS,Jupiter, FL,Mercedes Benz GT4,22,Running,1:21.501,79.5
14,9, Pro,Nate STACY,Owasso, OK,Ford Mustang GT4,13,Running,1:21.522,79.4
15,10, Pro,Harry GOTTSACKER,New Braunfels, TX,SIN R1,16,Not Running,1:21.564,79.4
16,6, Am,Jeff COURTNEY,Milwaukee, WI,Maserati Grand Turismo MC GT4,20,Not Running,1:21.631,79.3
17,7, Am,Justin RAPHAEL,Franklin Lakes, NJ,BMW M4 GT4,21,Running,1:21.839,79.1
18,11, Pro,Orey FIDANI,Etobicoke, ON, CAN,Porsche Cayman GT4 CS-MR,19,Running,1:21.940,79.0
19,8, Am,Marko RADISIC,Belgrade, Serbia, BMW M4 GT4,21,Not Running,1:22.238,78.7
20,9, Am,James PESEK,Harrisonville, MO,Ford Mustang GT4,22,Not Running,1:22.274,78.7
21,10, Am,Preston CALVERT,Potomac, MD,Panoz Avezzano GT4,20,Running,1:22.491,78.5
22,11, Am,Fred ROBERTS,Toronto, ON, CAN, Maserati Grand Turismo MC GT4,19,Not Running,1:22.609,78.4
23,12, Am,Adam MERZON,Greenwich, CT,Audi R8 LMS GT4,22,Not Running,1:22.728,78.3
24,13, Am,Chris OHMACHT,Franklin Lakes, NJ,BMW M4 GT4,21,Running,1:23.201,77.8
25,12, Pro,Gar ROBINSON,San Antonio, TX,Mercedes Benz GT4,20,Not Running,1:24.241,76.9
26,14, Am,Steve BURNS,Park City, UT,Ginetta G55,21,Running,1:24.936,76.2
27,15, Am,Tony GAPLES,Libertyville, IL,Chevrolet Camaro GT4,2,Not Running,,
28,16, Am,Frank GANNETT,Steamboat Springs, CO,Ginetta G55,0,NS,,