Calvert Takes Am Class Honours.
Jade Buford, driving the #41 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 took the win in the second round of the 2019 Pirelli GT4 America Sprint series at St Petersburg, Florida, crossing the line 10.444 seconds ahead of Gar Robinson in the #74 Robinson Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4.
Robinson Racing rounded out the podium positions when Shane Lewis brought the sister #72 Camaro home to take third place.
Am class honours were taken by Preston Calvert, at the wheel of the #51 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT4.
Buford, in the #41 Mustang, led the field from pole position at the start and pulled out a lead over the Race One-winning #50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT4, driven by Ian James.
Buford never lost the lead throughout the 50-minute race which ran uninterrupted by Full Course Yellows or Safety Cars.
Gar Robinson, driving the #74 Camaro, made a move for second place past Spencer Pumpelly in the #66 TRG – The Racers Group Porsche 719 Cayman GT4 CS and initially had to give it back due to previous contact.
The Am category battle was intense, with Calvert in the #51 Panoz, Jarett Andretti in the #18 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S GT4, Marko Radisic in the #22 Precision Driving tech BMW M4 GT4 and Tony Gaples in the #11 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren all vying for class honours in the closing stages.
Calvert passed Andretti into T1 on the final lap to take the lead and held off Marko Radisic in the #22 BMW to cross the line under a second ahead of the Precision Driving tech entry.
Gaples dropped down the order after contact with Calvert in the #51 Panoz to finish eight in class, an incident he expressed dissatisfaction with on social media after the race.
Buford was pleased with the victory given his disappointment over the outcome of Race One.
“We were definitely looking for (redemption) after yesterday, which was heartbreaking,” said Buford. “We just had to shake it off. The car was quick. It made yesterday even harder because it gave me everything to capitalise on. I just had to manage it. Being able to stretch it out in the beginning and getting a really good start gave us some breathing room.”
Preston Calvert was delighted at his first Am win of 2019.
“Basically, you just wait for a small mistake or opening,” said Calvert. “Maybe you enter a corner a little bit harder than the other guy does and have enough to get by him. With Marko and Jarett, I finally got I done.”
The Pirelli GT4 America grid next convenes at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on March 28 – 30.