Jade Burford took the honors for Round 5 of the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge GTS Championship in the No. 45 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4. He was followed by Ernie Francis Jr in the PF Racing Mustang GT4 and Lawson Aschenbach’s Camaro ZL1 GT4.R to the checkers.
The pass for the lead happened early in the race with 27 minutes remaining on the clock. Lurking in the background through the first 20 minutes, Buford followed Francis Jr around Martin Barkey’s KTM XBow, but waited to make his move until the Mustang left a SIN R1-shaped inside of Turn 10. Once around Francis Jr, Buford pulled away to an 8.5-second lead before the checkers fell.
Buford had alot to say about the SIN R1’s performance. “It’s been one of the best cars I’ve ever driven,” he said on the live broadcast, pulling his helmet off after the race. “We had a plan today and we were able to execute that plan.”
Francis Jr continued on uneventfully to give the new Ford Mustang GT4 it’s first podium in Pirelli World Challenge GTS competition.
Starting from sixth place on the grid, Aschenbach was able to follow suit with Francis Jr and Buford in getting around Barkey, who had fallen back after taking pole position. A late race battle for the final spot on the podium gave-way to a great four-car battle. Tire degradation began to take it’s toll on Aschenbach’s heavy Camaro, forcing him into defense mode ahead of the two XBow’s of Mantella and Barkey and Baptista’s Porsche. Aschenbach and Mantella traded position for the final spot on the podium with both the Camaro and XBow playing to their strengths; straight line speed and corner agility.
The battle allowed Barkey and Baptista to catch them. Batptista was able to get by the XBows, but contact with Barkey’s KTM forced a retirement for the Porsche and penalty for the XBox. The incident left Aschenbach and Mantella to battle for third. Despite the XBows pace in the twisty bits, Aschenbach was able to out-muscle his competition on the Mario Andretti Straight
Ari Balough took the top spot in the Am category in the No. 019 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M3 E46. He was able to get around George Kurtz’ GMG Racing McLaren, which had passed Tony Gaples’ Camaro early on.
Round 6 for the GTS field is scheduled for 10:15am Eastern time tomorrow Saturday, May 21. The race will be streamed live at World-Challenge.com/streamvideo.