Brazilian Rodrigo Baptista Wins 4th GTS Win Sunday for Flying Lizard Motorsports at COTA
Aschenbach unofficially clinches GTS title with 9th place finish
AUSTIN, Texas – A great opening lap move by 20-year-old Rodrigo Baptista helped take the Brazilian to his fourth Pirelli World Challenge GTS victory of the year in Round 16 Sunday in the PWC Grand Prix of Texas at Circuit of the Americas (COTA).
Baptista, driving the No. 3 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR, had a tremendous start from the standing position and bolted into second place by the first turn of the 3.247-mile, 20-turn COTA road circuit. He then moved to the lead at the end of the long straightaway over pole-sitter Harry Gottsacker of San Antonio, Texas, in the No. 69 Performance Motorsports Group Ginetta G55.
Baptista then diced with Gottsacker and 16-year-old Parker Chase of New Braunsfels, Tex., throughout much of the 50-minute feature Sunday. Rodrigo was able to extend his margin late in the 22-lap main event to win by 2.762 seconds over Chase and veteran Jeff Courtney of Milwaukee, Wis., in the No. 99 RecStuff.com/Kenda/JCR Motorsports Maserati GT4.
Two-time GTS champion Lawson Aschenbach of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., unofficially clinched the GTS driver point championship with a ninth place finish in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R. Leading into the final two rounds at Sonoma Raceway on Sept. 16-17, Aschenbach has 326 points to 252 of Ian James of Paradise Valley, Arizona in the No. 50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT.
“I had a really good start,” said Baptista. “After that I just tried to build and manage the gap. COTA is more like the tracks I know, since I race in Europe. I like the (U.S.) tracks but not so much here since the car is not the best here. The team is very good. As far as the tracks, I try the simulators before racing, but it’s not the same. I’ve driven at Sonoma so I know that track so I look forward to it.”
Taking fourth and fifth in Sunday’s GTS contest were Drew Staveley of Salt Lake City, Utah., in the No. 12 Ian lacy Racing Ginetta G55 and Goottsacker. The San Antonio teenager attempted to make a pass on Chase on the final lap but spun. He returned to the track to place in the top five.
“I wanted to get by Harry (Gottsacker) because I thought I could catch Rodrigo (Baptista) faster than he could,” said Chase. “But after he got back by me I just wanted to work together to see how far up we could get and put as much pressure on Rodrigo as we could. Around 15 minutes left to go, something happened and that’s when Rodrigo just pulled away. This is probably one of the more important races being in my home state and near my home town, especially with my family here.”
Rounding out the top-ten positions were Martin Barkey of Huntsville, Ont., Canada in the No. 80 Mantella Autosports KTM X-Bow GT4; Scott Dollahite of Austin, Texas, in the No. 46 SDR Motorsports Lotus Evora; 17-year-old Nate Stacy of Owasso, Okla., in the No. 14 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR; Aschenbach and GTS Am winner George Kurtz also of Arizona., in the No. 04 CrowdStrike/GMG McLaren 570S.
Kurtz’ victory in the GTS Am class was his ninth of the season and vaulted him closer to a potential GTS AM series driver championship. He now leads Tony Gaples of Libertyville, Ill., by 51 points entering the two Sonoma rounds.
“I didn’t have a great start and didn’t get the start that we wanted,” said Kurtz. “So, we had to battle back from the beginning and managed to chip away. For me to get through the weekend with two wins is more than we expected here given the car and the track and how it’s not quite suited for it so we’re pleased with the results. Chris, Dave and Hector have done a great job the whole season with me and they know the car.”
Second in the GTS Am category Sunday was Bob Michaelian of Seal Beach, Calif., in the No. 45 Racer’s Edge SIN CAR 1 GT4 followed by Carter Yeung of Los Angeles, Calif., in the No. 7 GMG Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR and Mark Klenin of Lone Tree, Colo., in the No. 62 Tender Belly/KPR McLaren 570S and Gaples in the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.
Results for Sunday’s GTS Round 16 event in the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Texas at Circuit of the Americas (COTA). Results are provisional until posted Final.
1,1, Pro,Rodrigo BAPTISTA,Sao Paulo, Brazil,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,22,Running,51:10.424,
2,2, Pro,Parker CHASE,New Braunsfels, TX,Ginetta G55,22,Running,51:13.186,2.762
3,3, Pro,Jeff COURTNEY,Milwaukee, WI,Maserati GT4,22,Running,51:18.654,8.230
4,4, Pro,Drew STAVELEY,Salt Lake City, UT,Ginetta G55,22,Running,51:19.496,9.072
5,5, Pro,Harry GOTTSACKER,San Antonio, TX,Ginetta G55,22,Running,51:20.245,9.821
6,6, Pro,Martin BARKEY,Huntsville, ON,KTM Xbow GT4,22,Running,51:31.969,21.545
7,7, Pro,Scott DOLLAHITE,Austin, TX,Lotus Evora,22,Running,51:37.080,26.656
8,8, Pro,Nate STACY,Tulsa, OK,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,22,Running,51:38.036,27.612
9,9, Pro,Lawson ASCHENBACH,Palm Beach Gardens, FL,Chevrolet Camaro GT4,22,Running,51:52.428,42.004
10,1, Am,George KURTZ,Paradise Valley, AZ,McLaren 570S GT4,22,Running,52:01.059,50.635
11,2, Am,Bob MICHAELIAN,Seal Beach, CA,SIN R1 GT4,22,Running,52:28.959,1:18.535
12,3, Am,Carter YEUNG,Los Angeles, CA,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,22,Running,52:31.807,1:21.383
13,4, Am,Mark KLENIN,Lone Tree, CO,McLaren 570S GT4,22,Running,52:34.450,1:24.026
14,5, Am,Tony GAPLES,Libertyville, IL,Chevrolet Camaro GT4,22,Running,52:38.312,1:27.888
15,6, Am,Frank GANNETT,Steamboat Springs, CO,Ginetta G55,22,Running,52:42.560,1:32.136
16,7, Am,Keith JENSEN,Dorado, Puerto Rico,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,21,Not Running,49:39.746,1 LAP
17,8, Am,Cody ELLSWORTH,Jupiter, FL,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,21,Not Running,50:05.351,1 LAP
18,9, Am,Adam MERZON,Greenwich, CT,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,21,Running,51:13.373,1 LAP
19,10, Am,Jason BELL,Tampa, FL,SIN R1 GT4,20,Not Running,47:25.360,2 LAPS
20,11, Am,Bill ZIEGLER,Ponte Vedra, FL,KTM Xbow GT4,10,Not Running,24:08.173,12 LAPS
21,12, Am,Jonathan MILLER,Newport Coast, CA,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,6,Not Running,14:53.897,16 LAPS
22,10, Pro,Ian JAMES,Paradise Valley, AZ,Panoz Avezzano GT,2,Not Running,10:39.141,20 LAPS
23,13, Am,Dakota DICKERSON,San Diego, CA,KTM Xbow GT4,1,Not Running,2:41.621,21 LAPS