After experiencing almost every meteorological annoyance imaginable between Thursday and Saturday, the clouds skipped town on Sunday creating ideal track conditions for Race 2 of the Fanatec GT World Challenge America presented by AWS.
In Pro, Jordan Pepper and Andrea Caldarelli (No. 1 K-PAX Racing Lamborghini) topped the podium for the second time this weekend followed by Russell Ward and Philip Ellis (No. 33 Windward Racing Mercedes) in second and Misha Goikhberg and Giacomo Altoe (No. 3 K-PAX Racing Lamborghini) third.
The battle in the first stint between P1 and P2 involving Caldarelli and Loris Spinelli (No. 6 US Racetronics Mercedes-AMG) showed great technique and perseverance. A wheel issue during the second stint extinguished race-winning hopes in Pro for Steven Aghakhani, though.
“Andrea had a crazy fight. There was a good battle there,” Pepper said of his teammate’s performance. “Him and Loris went into the distance and it was a good battle and made for some great entertainment. Luckily he handed me the car with perfect strategy.”
Jan Heylen and Charlie Luck (No. 45 Wright Motorsports Porsche) swept the Pro-Am weekend with their second win followed by Mario Farnbacher and Ashton Harrison (No. 93 Racers Edge Acura) in second. Colin Braun and George Kurtz (No. 04 Crowdstrike Racing Mercedes-AMG) rounded out the podium in third.
Midway through the first stint, Dirk Muller (No. 63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG) pulled off a tight pass on Michael Cooper (No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura), which opened up the potential for the field behind.
Luck inherited prime position after Heylan’s drive and the Wright team’s pit strategy. He led most of his stint until Ashton Harrison gained a ton of ground and kept Luck honest, nearly stealing P1 in the final minutes of the race.
“People think that pit stops aren’t a big deal — you just hop in and hop out,” Luck said of how the day went and how his perception changed compared to Saturday. “Well yesterday I started out easy, but going in today, there’s a ton of stuff between belts and timers and all these complexities. So I was anxious about it and you don’t want to get penalized.”
“We ended on a good note last year and are going to try and do it all over this season,” Heylen said of his plans this year, as well as how the race went for him. “We didn’t have the ultimate pace, so it’s a testament to the team and Charlie for doing such a great job.”
Samantha Tan went on the hunt in the final 20 minutes after gaining four spots after her stop. Ahead of her were Askew and Kurtz until Askew lost the rear-end and gave up his spot, dropping him far down the ladder in the Pro-Am field.
Kurtz would hold on to third — a double podium on the weekend for he and Braun.
In Am, Conrad Grunewald and Jean-Claude Saada (No. 61 AF Corse Ferrari) took the win over Charlie Scardina and Onofrio Triarsi (No. 23 Triarsi Competizione Ferrari), claiming the third sweep in GT World Challenge America over the weekend. Saada benefitted from a brief full-course yellow flag later in the race when Scott Smithson (No. 08 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG) exited the track. This created a comfortable gap and easy victory for Saada in the two-car championship.
Race 2’s CrowdStrike Fastest Lap went to Andrea Caldarelli with a 1m37.208s; his second of the weekend.