Bingham bosses GT3 AM at Sebring
iRacing Apex Racing League GT Trophy R4 Sebring
Sebring International Raceway hosted round four of the inaugural Apex Racing League GT Trophy season. So far, competition has been fierce across the ranks of GT3 and GT4 machines.
Nearly 70 seventy years ago, a small group of enthusiasts brought international sports car racing to the United States. Hendrick field in Sebring was where they gathered. Alongside Le Mans, Daytona and the Nurburgring, Sebring is no stranger to multi class sports car racing.
After an impressive victory at the Nurburgring, Gaetan Anger heads to Sebring with a handy lead over Nick Madsen. All eyes would be fixed on the Lamborghini pair as the second half of the season commenced.
Anger struck the first blow in qualifying with a storming run to pole position. Joining Anger on the front row, albeit half a second off the pace, was Jonathan Poulet. In a much tighter GT3 AM class, only two tenths of a second covered the top five. Dennis Lempka prepared to lead the class away in fourteenth overall.
Amongst the GT4 runners, Mergim Aliu led the way in the PRO class and Daniel Markov continued his dominance of the AM division.
Following an entire tour of Sebring International Raceway, the iRacing pace truck released the forty-four-car field into the sixty-minute encounter. From pole, Gaetan Anger was in no mood to get tangled in a battle and pushed ahead early on. Once Anger was ahead, neither Nick Madsen nor Jonathan Poulet could mount a challenge on the championship leader. Enjoying an 8 second lead into the pit stops, Anger extended this advantage in the second stint and cruised to an imperious victory.
GT3 AM polesitter Dennis Lempka soon faded, allowing Julian Martinsen to lead momentarily. However, Tom Bingham was the man on the charge in his Lamborghini Huracan. On lap seven, the British ace moved past Martinsen and claimed the lead.
With Bingham escaping ahead, AM championship leader Andrew Broome was eager to catch his compatriot. However, a misjudgement under braking sent Broome ploughing into the back of Martinsen’s Audi R8 at the hairpin.
Martinsen miraculously recovered to second and pressured Bingham for the lead. Unperturbed, Bingham marched on and sealed victory by a handful of seconds. Evo SR ace, Tony Dougan, kept Martinsen honest in the closing stages and settled for third in class.
A controversial incident in the opening laps changed the complexion of the GT4 battle for the rest of the race. A light nudge from Hristo Ublev sent Mergim Aliu off track and out of contention for the win. Although Aliu would recover, third place was the best the Italian star could muster. Despite setting the fastest GT4 lap on the final circuit, Piotr Matuszczak couldn’t quite catch Ublev for the win.
Daniel Markov recovered from early contact with Matuszczak to claim another GT4 AM win. However, Markov will leave Sebring disappointed by missing out on the overall GT4 podium battle that the Bulgarian driver has become accustomed to.
After the race, several of the ARL GT Trophy drivers joined the Apex Racing TV broadcast team to share their thoughts:
Tom Bingham: “What a race, unbelievable! I nearly ran out of fuel at the end there. I only had around one and a half litres left at the end.”
Mergim Aliu: “I’m not really happy. The season began perfectly at Spa. I’ve had a few difficult rounds since then. I was happy to get the pole today, but I got punted twice in the race. I’m not very happy about this race.”
Road America is next up on the Apex Racing GT Trophy stateside swing. Join the action on the 30th of March at 7pm GMT on Apex Racing TV.