Chris Walsh makes his GT4 America debut at Sonoma Raceway in California
Step One Motorsports Ambassador, Chris Walsh, kicked off his 2023 racing season 30 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge at Sonoma Raceway last weekend. Walsh is competing in the Pirelli GT4 America series for the first time, which sees drivers traveling from coast to coast throughout the season. The series adopts a sprint format, running two 60-minute races over the course of the three-day event and two drivers take the wheel for 30 minutes apiece. Sonoma Raceway, a hilly road course, showcases 12 turns with over 150 feet (46 meters) in total elevation change making it a fantastic location to host GT4 America’s season opener.
Walsh, an active-duty Air Force officer, ran in the number 96 car alongside Dominic Starkweather in the Silver Class in a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport. The Silver Class comprises amateur racers and up-and-coming professional drivers. In Saturday’s tightly contested qualifying session, Walsh recorded the fifth fastest time in his class ahead of the first of two races. Upon the checkered flag for race one – which saw a lengthy safety car period in the closing stages – the duo claimed P6 in their class.
The second race of the weekend on Sunday yielded another consistent performance, with the Walsh and Starkweather combination completing a clean race, crossing the line P6 in their class once again. Despite poorly timed yellow flags overshadowing the drivers’ strong race pace and great battles, it was a solid opening round for series newcomer Walsh and one that provided valuable learning experiences that can be implemented in the coming races.
Next up, Walsh and GT4 America will visit Avondale, Louisiana to compete at NOLA Motorsports Park from 28-30 April 2023.