Frenchman Takes over Title-Winning KTM Xbow to beat Veterans Courtney, Aschenbach
ALTON, Va. – Young French driver Nico Jamin is making a name for himself in U.S. racing already in 2017 following another impressive win Saturday at VIRginia International Raceway in the GTS division in the No. 13 ANSA Motorsports KTM Xbow at the Pirelli World Challenge Nissan Grand Prix of VIR.
Jamin, 21, started second in the 17-car GTS presented by Case-It field and grabbed the lead from pole sitter Jeff Courtney and never really looked back as he took the checkered flag over Courtney by 3.396 seconds.
The victory for the talented, young driver was his third in the last six weeks in a variety of motorsports series including a PC class win at Sebring, an Indy Lights victory last week at Barber Motorsports Park and Saturday’s wire to wire GTS triumph at VIR.
“I knew I had to make a very aggressive move on the first lap to grab the lead,” said Jamin. “I went into turns one and two very deep under braking to get the lead from Jeff. My KTM car doesn’t have the straight speed of the Maserati and I needed to get a clean run in the lead. The car is fun to drive and I really enjoyed the race today. I hope to drive it in the future.”
Jamin will start on the pole for Sunday’s GTS presented by Case-It feature beginning at 11:10 a.m. EDT at the popular 3.27-mile, 17-turn road circuit.
Courtney, the PWC veteran, stunned the GTS division in qualifying when he stole the pole position late in the 15-minute session in his No. 99 Recstuff.com/Kenda Maserati GT4 with a track record of 1:55.144 (102.23 mph). The Milwaukee driver finished a solid second Saturday and will start next to Jamin on the front row in Sunday’s GTS feature.
“We have worked on the setup of our car a little and it is extremely strong in the esses here at VIR,” said Courtney. “I had a feeling that Nico was going to deep into the first corner very deeply and that’s exactly what he did. We know what the KTM is capable off too. That won the GTS championship last year. Now, we’ll try to have another strong race Sunday here.”
Third in the 50-minute GTS sprint event was four-time PWC series champion Lawson Aschenbach of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4R after a poor qualifying effort in the morning due to broken differential. In fact, Aschenbach’s teammate, Tony Gaples, sacrificed his Saturday race to donate the rear-end from his Camaro to Aschenbach’s machine.
“We had a problem in qualifying and I want to thank Tony for swapping the differential in his car so I could compete today,” said Aschenbach, a two-time GTS champion. “I had a great battle with Martin Barkey and Rodrigo Baptista today. It felt good to finish on the podium and collect important points today after the difficult morning. I think we learned some things too for Sunday’s race.”
Barkey, the Canadian veteran, drove his No. 80 MBRP Performance Exhaust/Mantella Autosport KTM Xbow GT4 to fourth Saturday with Baptista rounding out the top-five and running third for much of the race in the No. 3 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR.
GTS competitors next take to the track on Sunday at 11:10 a.m. EDT. for Round 4 of of the championship series. Live timing and scoring, as well as live streaming of the race, is available from links found on World-Challenge.com.
Results from GTS Round 3 of the Pirelli World Challenge Nissan Grand Prix of VIR, April 28-30, 2017. List below shows Race Position, Position in Class, Competition Class, Driver Name, Hometown, Car, Laps Completed, Status, Race Time, and Gap from Leader. Results are provisional until posted Final.
1,1, Pro,Nico JAMIN,,KTM Xbow GT4,26,Running,50:40.167,
2,2, Pro,Jeff COURTNEY,Milwaukee, WI,Maserati GT4,26,Running,50:43.564,3.396
3,3, Pro,Lawson ASCHENBACH,Palm Beach Gardens, FL,Chevrolet Camaro GT4,26,Running,50:50.060,9.892
4,4, Pro,Martin BARKEY,Huntsville, ON,KTM Xbow GT4,26,Running,50:51.734,11.566
5,5, Pro,Rodrigo BAPTISTA,Barcelona, Spain,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,26,Running,51:01.543,21.375
6,6, Pro,Ian JAMES,Paradise Valley, AZ,Panoz Avezzano GT,26,Running,51:14.844,34.676
7,1, Am,Aristotle BALOGH,Palo Alto, CA,Aston Martin Vantage GT4,26,Running,51:27.666,47.498
8,7, Pro,Anthony MANTELLA,Toronto, ON,KTM Xbow GT4,26,Running,51:34.941,54.774
9,2, Am,Mark KLENIN,Lone Tree, CO,McLaren 570S GT4,26,Running,51:46.648,1:06.480
10,8, Pro,Nate STACY,Tulsa, OK,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,26,Running,51:49.698,1:09.530
11,3, Am,Adam MERZON,Greenwich, CT,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,26,Running,52:01.496,1:21.329
12,4, Am,Jason BELL,Tampa, FL,SIN R1 GT4,26,Running,52:24.740,1:44.572
13,5, Am,Chris BEAUFAIT,Freeland, WA,SIN R1 GT4,25,Running,51:32.489,1 LAP
14,6, Am,Ricco SHLAIMOUN,Irvine, CA,KTM Xbow GT4,20,Running,51:56.898,6 LAPS
15,7, Am,Cameron CASSELS,Coldstream, BC, CA,Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR,10,Not Running,20:07.162,16 LAPS