Thermal, CA - This past weekend, teams and drivers participated in the inaugural SRO Winter Invitational at The Thermal Club in Southern California. Twenty-six entries across GT Sports Club, Pirelli GT4 America, and TC America took to the private motorsports country club’s 2.5-mile Twin Palms configuration for the first-ever event. Perfect weather and scenic views set the stage for an excellent weekend of racing before the Holidays.
Aghakhani and Sofronas Split GT Sports Club Overall Honors
In the first race of the weekend double-header, U.S. Racetronics’ Steven Aghakhani drove his Mercedes-AMG GT3 to victory over fellow Mercedes driver David Askew (DXDT Racing) and Jason Bell (GMG Racing). After leading early, James Sofronas suffered a mechanical issue that forced his retirement. Aghakhani drove a dominant race to close out the win after a late yellow. In Race 2 on Sunday, a race-long battle between Sofronas and Aghakhani offered an exciting spectacle. At the checkered flag, Sofronas and his Audi R8 LMS Ultra were able to hold off the hard-charging Aghakhani for the overall win.
Askew doubles for Titanium Class Sweep
DXDT Racing driver David Askew claimed victory in the GT3 Titanium Class, also finishing 2nd and 3rd overall in the weekend’s contests, respectively. TruSpeed Racing’s Kevin Wescott and Jim Slavik, driving Audi R8 LMS GT3 machines, each earned a 2nd and 3rd place finish across the two races. The 50-and-over age requirement offered a first-hand look at the new class for GT Sports Club.
GMG Racing’s Bell and Lawler share GT2 Victories
The North American debut for the new GT2 category occurred during the Invitational event at The Thermal Club. GMG Racing’s Jason Bell claimed the first victory for the Porsche 911 GT2 Clubsport, taking top honors in the new class and third overall. Steven Lawler (GMG Racing) and Aaron Heck (R3 Motorsports) completed the podium for Race 1. In the second contest, Aaron Heck would be called for a jumped start to take him out of contention for the win. Lawler cruised to victory in his 911 GT2 Clubsport to take the win for Sunday’s contest.
Burton Brings Victory to new Aston Martin
Jeff Burton, driving for Rearden Racing, recently took delivery of his new Aston Martin Vantage GT4 and quickly proved it to be a contender this season. Burton drove two flawless races to sweep the GT4 podium both days. Karl Thompson (Compass Racing) earned second in his McLaren 570S GT4 in Race 1 and third for Race 2. Thermal’s own Chief Instructor, Dominic Cicero, finished third in Race 1 and second in Race 2 for TruSpeed Racing in a Porsche 718 Cayman CS.
Tallman and Slonaker Earn Touring Car Wins
Lara Tallman drove a commanding first race to take the win in her Rearden Racing Nissan 370Z, while mechanical gremlins limited her to finish third in race 2. New TC competitors Rob Slonaker and Bruce Robson, driving for AutoTechnic Racing continued to make improvements. The duo would finish second and third respectively in Race 1 and each shift up a spot with Slonaker taking the win in Race 2. Classic BMW’s John Rader continued to make great progress in his BMW M240iR racer as well.
The SRO Winter Invitational takes a much needed Holiday Break with the second weekend of competition slated for January 17th - 19th at The Thermal Club. All three categories will be back in action with GT Sports Club, Pirelli GT4 America, and TC America. Teams and Drivers interested in competing in the Winter Invitational can get information and start the registration process at the Winter Invitational microsite link below.