Ian James continued Team Panoz Racing Pirelli World Challenge success with a flag-to-flag win in today’s PWC GT4/GTS Championship Round No. 17 race on the 12-turn 2.385-mile road course Sonoma Raceway circuit. The victory is the team’s sixth of the season.
Starting from pole, which James earned today with a qualifying time of 1:39.951, James kept the No. 50 Avezzano GT out front in the early going. On lap three he laid down the race’s quickest lap, posting a time of 1:42.222 and earning the Motul Pole Award and pole position for tomorrow’s Round 18 race. Despite keeping the lead throughout the race, James did find needing to drive a smart race to fend off a late-race charge by Martin Barkey in the No. 80 Mantella Autosport KTM Xbow GT4.
Counting today’s victory, James has nine podiums in the last 11 PWC GT4/GTS Championship races and six overall victories. The previous five victories are two back-to-back wins at Road America, and one each at Mid-Ohio, Utah Motorsports Campus, and the Circuit of the Americas.
Despite Lawson Aschenbach securing the PWC Sprint GTS Drivers Championship two weeks ago in Austin, Texas, James and Team Panoz Racing started this weekend with opportunities to finish second in the Drivers Championship and the Team Championship and possibly win the Manufacturers Championship. Before today’s race James was second in the Drivers Championship with 253 points, 17 ahead of Martin Barkey. Panoz was in third in the Manufacturers Championship with 91 points, four points behind Porsche and 15 behind Chevrolet. Team Panoz Racing was 33 points behind second-place Flying Lizard Motorsports in the Team Championship rankings.
Next up for Team Panoz Racing is tomorrow’s PWC GT4/GTS Championship Round 18 finale at 4:30 pm Eastern Standard Time.
“Well, what a great day here in Sonoma. It’s been a pretty faultless day. Pole position start and flag-to-checkered flag finish. There was no resting. Had the KTM right behind me, and the Camaro from the start. Luckily, they were fighting and got a bit of a gap in the first three or four laps, and was able to maintain it. Gap was coming down near the end as I lost my rear tires. But we hung on. Great that it’s 50 minutes and not 60 minutes.
“I just have to thank everyone here at Panoz for what a car they gave me. Don Panoz is here this weekend, so I love he can take a trophy home with him. Very exciting and I love racing in this series. Hopefully one more tomorrow.”
Source. Panoz LLC