International GT’s first visit to the Circuit of the Americas, in Austin, Texas can only be described as a huge success! With the second largest field of the season, the COTA circuit was new to most of the International GT competitors and all took a liking to the challenging 3.4 mile course.>/p>
Going into the COTA event, JOHN MAURO held a slim points lead over THOMAS PANK for the 2017 Mission Foods GT3 Cup Trophy Championship. Mauro did everything he could to repeat as champion, winning the 3.6 liter class enduro race with co-driver JAN HEYLEN and Sprint race 2 on Sunday. But Pank was not to be denied as he swept the 3.8 liter class with wins in both Sprint races and the 90-minute enduro in his Ultra Performance prepared Porsche, finishing the season with more than 300 points. Thomas edged out John by just 4 points to win the 2017 Championship. It was a special moment for Thomas winning Sunday’s Sprint race 2 and being joined on the podium by his son LUKAS, who finished third in the final race of the weekend.
There was plenty of competition for podium positions in all classes. In his series debut, PHIL GILSDORF joined his father JACK making his presence known by winning the first race of the weekend in the GT3.6 category. Phil shared the podium with TODD SLOAN who finished third place in Sprint race 1 and second place in Sprint race 2 and BRAD WAITE finishing third place in Sprint race 2.
MARK SANDRIDGE returned to the 3.8GT class in International GT to finish second in Sprint race 1 and third place with co-driver JOE VARDE in the enduro. CARMINE REPPUCCI teamed up with COREY FRIEDMAN to finish second in the enduro and Sprint race 2. The final 3.8 liter podium spot belonged to series regular, BILL RIDDELL finishing third in Sprint race 1.
Having already secured the Maranello Cup Championship prior to the season finale, STEVE HILL did not let up on his competitive spirit, dominating the weekend with overall wins in all three races. Hill was joined by JASON HART in his Norwood Auto Italia prepared F458 for Sunday’s enduro. During Friday night’s driver and sponsor reception, Fredric Gasser, North American President of BRM Chonographs presented Hill with one of the spoils of the Maranello Cup Championship, a custom BRM Chronograph.
COTA is the home track for the Norwood Auto Italia team and Hill’s teammates BARRY FROMBERG and COLIN COHEN both had very strong runs over the weekend with Fromberg finishing second to Hill in all three Maranello Cup races and Cohen taking a third place in Sprint race 1 and the enduro race. The Maranello Cup regulars were joined by MARKO RADISIC running double duty between Trans Am and International GT in his Ferrari F430 or 360 in and amongst a large field of Porsches.
We also welcomed Austin resident, KATHY MEAD to International GT. She ran well all weekend in her Porsche Cayman GT4 Club Sport. She joins the Stuttgart Cup in what is becoming a growing category in International GT.
In a series first, the International GT Porsches and Ferraris were joined at Circuit of the Americas by two BMWs in an exhibition category. Fall-Line Motorsport’s MARK BODEN and TOM HERB ran throughout the weekend with competitive lap times and strong race finishes in their BMW M3s.