RS1 and ST Racing Unstoppable in Race 1 at Sebring

RS1 and ST Racing Unstoppable in Race 1 at Sebring
  • Pumpelly and Hindman Take Overall Win with RS1 
  • Tan and Verhagen Overcome Adversity to Clinch Pro-Am Win
  • Final Results 

Race 1 at Sebring International Raceway in the Fanatec GT World Challenge America championship saw no shortage of action, with battles and strategic moves between classes taking place throughout the entirety of the 90-minute event. The race ran under green flag conditions from start to finish, with drivers using each and every lap to fight for position.

Spencer Pumpelly and Trent Hindman took the Pro class and overall win with RS1, with the Pro-Am victory going to ST Racing’s Samantha Tan and Neil Verhagen.  

Pro Class 

It was a clean start from Spencer Pumpelly in the Pro class, who was pushing hard in the No. 85 RS1 Porsche 992 GT3 R to try to claim the overall lead from Pro-Am entry Philip Ellis. 

There was action unfolding behind as Varun Choksey in the No. 28 ST Racing BMW M4 GT3 overtook Luca Mars in the No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 EVO22 for second place in Pro class on the opening lap. The two continued to keep close as the race progressed, with Mars not allowing Choksey to pull a gap. The battle between Choksey and Mars also allowed Adelson to close the gap from fourth place in the No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche 992 GT3 R. 

Wright Motorsports were the first of the Pro teams to come into pit lane to perform their driver change, as Elliott Skeer took over from Adelson with 50 minutes remaining. ST Racing and Racers Edge Motorsports pitted in turn a lap later, returning back on track in the same running order. However, Skeer made the undercut work in his favor, overtaking both cars to move himself up to second in class. 

Trent Hindman, who was now behind the wheel of the RS1 machine, moved up into the overall lead and continued setting off on the clear road ahead, with Skeer attempting to chase him down in the remaining minutes of the race. 

Hindman kept his composure and continued to clock in strong lap times, taking the checkered flag to secure the overall win for RS1. Skeer raised a good challenge, finishing just 0.789 seconds behind to claim second place for Wright Motorsports. Third place belonged to Bill Auberlen and ST Racing. 

“Spencer bailed me out on that one for sure,” said Hindman at the podium. “I'm just grateful for the opportunity with RS1. It's a great start for us. We still have work to do. I have no doubt in my mind that with the way these guys debuted today, we will continue moving forward.” 

Spencer Pumpelly praised his teammate after the race; “I always want to do better, but this guy is just amazing. Can't say enough about him and the pressure he was under. This is a new program, we have a lot to learn. Despite the fact that these guys did so much work getting this thing ready, it's such a good job that we were able to come here and I'm really excited to share this with him and Justin, our team owner.” 

Pro-Am Class

Plenty of action arose in the Pro-Am class. As most teams elected to have their Am drivers start the race, Regulator Racing was on a different strategy. Philip Ellis took the start aboard his No. 91 Mercedes-AMG GT3. The Mercedes factory driver took off and never looked back, pulling a significant gap between him and the rest of the field. As most drivers dove down pit lane as soon as the minimum drive time was completed, he remained on track as long as he could to further extend his gap. 

When Jeff Burton took over from Ellis with just over 40 minutes remaining in the race. He was able to hold on to the class lead for more than half his stint, but was ultimately passed by Neil Verhagen in the No. 38 ST Racing BMW M4 GT3 with 17 minutes left on the clock. 

However, a short pit stop resulted in the ST Racing team being handed a 4.28 second post-race time penalty, giving Verhagen an additional challenge to overcome as other competitors began to try to close in. 

Robby Foley was on the charge in the No. 29 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3, and was able to make his way past Burton to claim second place in class in the closing minutes of the race as the white flag waved overhead. 

Despite the setback, Verhagen established a gap and took home the win for ST Racing, in addition to posting the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap of the race on Lap 23 with a 2:00.786. They also secured the SUPERFUEL Hard Charger Award after gaining four positions throughout the race. Turner Motorsport finished in second place to secure their second podium of the season, with Regular Racing’s pairing stepping on to the podium for the first time this year in third place. 

“This is the biggest redemption win,” stated Samantha Tan. “We came back here with something to prove and the team put together an incredible car and we got it done. It feels really good.” 

“After the pit stop, I was chasing time at that point,” explained Neil Verhagen. “Five seconds was the gap that I needed to fill, and I had Robby (Foley) behind me. He was keeping me on my toes as well. I didn't want him to close the gap too much. I think I took quite a bit out of the tire in the beginning, because towards the end it started to become more difficult. Tomorrow we’ll manage the tires a little better so they come a bit further into the race. In general, I think we can be very happy with the result.” 

Let’s Get Racing

The Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS field will return for Race 2 on Sunday, May 5th at 11:15 AM EST. 

If you can’t make it to Sonoma, be sure to tune-in to SRO’s free live streams all weekend long on YouTube (GTWorld) and Twitch (SROMotorsports) and follow all the action through our social media channels and the event hashtag #GTSonoma.