As the final race of the NOLA Motorsports Park weekend, the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS championship provided 90 minutes of solid early-race action, some decisive moves in the final 15 minutes, and tremendous pace across the entire field. Sunday proved also to be a little less stressful compared to Saturday, as the track stayed green for the entirety of the race’s duration.
The No. 1 K-PAX Racing Lamborghini Huracan (Beretta/Caldarelli) initially didn’t see the same domination they saw in Race 1, starting in P6 today. Then, with the #6 US Racetronics Mercedes-AMG (Aghakhani/Spinelli) driving away and settling into a hearty 8.5s lead over the rest of the Pro field during the first stint, it was looking like a tough gap to close. However, after US Racetronics experienced equipment issues during their pit stop, K-PAX took the Pro lead and carved out a strong gap over second. This led Aghakhani to see the red mist and rage through the field, improving half a dozen positions to P5 overall, to eventually second in Pro.
The No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX (Harrison/Farnbacher) grabbed the Pro-Am lead on lap 2 during some brief rain with Farnbacher at the wheel, maintaining a small margin over the P2 No. 9 TR3 Racing Lamborghini Huracan (Ghandour/Altoe) for the first stint. Then, due to a long Farnbacher stint, solid pit strategy and hand-off, they jumped up to the overall lead with Harrison behind the wheel. She held onto the top overall spot for a few laps before letting the No. 1 K-PAX car by to focus on the fight in Pro-Am, maintaining a comfortable gap over P2.
Elsewhere in Pro-Am, the #45 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3.R (Luck/Heylen) recovered multiple positions up to P9, after starting in P17 due to a penalty incurred during Race 1 on Saturday. During the closing minutes of the first stint, Pro drivers stayed out for as long as possible before handing their cars over to their Am teammates, a strategy that played out quite well for Racers Edge Motorsports, the No. 08 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG (Smithson/Sellers), and the No. 94 BimmerWorld BMW M4 (Hull/Auberlen). DXDT Racing had much stronger luck compared to Race 1, and held onto P3 for a large chunk of the second stint.
Rain briefly set in with 15 minutes remaining, compounding the tough two-driver race and tricky overall strategy. Unfortunately, Turner Motorsports experienced driveline issues shortly into the second stint, ending their race early for the second time of the weekend.
In Pro, K-PAX took the win with its No. 1 car, followed by US Racetronics in second and K-PAX in third with the No. 3 car. “I didn’t expect it to be perfect,” Michele Beretta said. “We missed a little bit with Andrea, and it was very difficult for him. But he did a very good job in the first part of the race, the most tricky part of the race. He closed the gap with cars in front, and we did the perfect strategy with the team. Nothing’s better than this.”
Pro-Am saw the No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX at the top of the podium, followed by BimmerWorld in second and the No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports (Kurtz/Braun) in third. “Every team has a chance to come out here and drive the track and get familiar with it,” Harrison said of her driving the No. 93 home to victory and P2 overall. “Pulling double duty this weekend benefitted me as I got more laps. Just like everyone else I had to learn the GT3 here at NOLA. But it fits [the track] well, I had a great time, my team is so incredible, my teammate does an amazing job every time he’s in the car, and our pit stops were perfect.”
Her teammate Mario Farnbacher had similar positive things to say, especially regarding the brief bit of rain early in the first session. “I like the rain especially,” Farnbacher shared. “Usually slicks in the rain is something where you can make a difference. That was our advantage in the beginning where we could sneak around some people, and we did, and in the end we just saved the tires all the way around the stint to be consistent and didn’t make mistakes.”
Finally in Am, the No. 7 Triarsi Competizione Ferrari 488 (Scardina/Triarsi) claimed their second victory of the weekend, just past their rivals in the No. 61 AF Corse Ferrari 488 (Saada/Grunewald) in second. “This track had a lot of slow corners that, if you got on the power too early, there was a lot of understeer,” Scardina reflected. “So, for me, patience was key.”
The CrowdStrike Fastest Lap went to Steven Aghakhani in the No. 6 US Racetronics Mercedes-AMG for setting a blistering 1m35.184s as he charged through the field.
UP NEXT: Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS heads to Virginia International Raceway for rounds five and six June 17-19.