AUSTIN, TX (Sunday, May 19, 2024) – SKI Autosports rode a rollercoaster of emotions in the GT America powered by AWS at Circuit of the Americas weekend with a series of enthralling highs balanced by disappointing lows.

After having a victory taken away in 2023 due to a pre-race procedural penalty, the team looked set to take care of that unfinished business after O’Connell put the team’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo on pole position in Saturday morning’s qualifying session.

While the team’s one-lap pace was strong in qualifying, contact in turn one on the opening lap pushed the No.3 car from the lead, and O’Connell eventually settled in fourth place – gradually falling off the place with a car set-up turned out not to be ideal.

Luck was on the team’s side late in the race as rivals James Sofronas (broken rear splitter) and George Kurtz (suspension damage) fell off the pace, with O’Connell pushing through to the finish to take second place and becoming the only driver in the series to earn a podium in every race held up until that point.

Sadly, the team’s good fortune did not continue in the second race on Sunday morning. The race was marred by several long full-course caution yellow flag periods due to car breakdowns and multiple crashes.

O’Connell sadly assessed a pair of penalties for moving out of line before the green flag – pushing him back to eighth in the final standings – the team’s first non-podium finish of the season.

“Under the rules, all cars must remain in a single-file line until the green flag. Cars begin to accelerate after turn 20 in anticipation of the green, but the starter elected to throw a late green to allow as many of the field to get through turn 20,” said team owner, Kent Hussey.

“The slight early movement out of line resulted in drive-through penalties, which clearly ruined our day.

“This was by far the most frustrating race of the season with so few laps under green. Johnny was incredibly disappointed as he had James Sofronas clearly in his sights. He said the car was the best it had been so far this season.

“We hope that bodes well for the back half of the season. As always in GT America, it’s a very competitive field with good hard racing, and for this weekend – new faces on the podium.”

SKI Autosports and the entire SRO paddock now enjoy a two-month hiatus with a break for the 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium. The championship will reconvene at VIRginia International Raceway from June 19-21.