With a stacked field of 31 cars in the Pirelli GT4 America series lined up for the first of two 60-minute races at NOLA Motorsports Park, the green flag dropped only to have several cars get caught up in contact forcing a full-course yellow from the start.
While the leaders accelerated towards turn one, rows five and six made contact near the start line resulting in three cars being eliminated and began a lengthy caution period. Three cars were too damaged to continue. With 40 minutes left to race, race control red-flagged the race due to severe weather conditions and the risk of lightning. At the time of the stopage, the No. 18 RS1 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport driven by Eric Filgueras was in the lead followed by Pro-Am driver Adam Adelson in the No. 120 Premier Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport and the No. 52 Auto Technic Racing BMW M4 GT4 driven by Tom Capizzi.
Following the extended weather delay, the NOLA Motorsports Park crew worked rapidly to resume racing. During the delay time, teams were not permitted to work on the cars in any way until ten minutes prior to the re-start when teams were allowed to change to wet weather tires.
After the race restart, the cars left the pit behind the safety car for two formation laps before full-speed racing resumed. Racing went back to full-course yellow with 30 minutes on the clock when the No. 2 GMG Racing Aston Martin Vantage and No. 98 Random Vandals Racing BMW M4 went into the tire barrier. Due to barrier repair that would require an extended amount of time to repair, race officials flew the checkered flag to end the race under yellow.
In addition to winning overall and in class, RS1 driver Eric Filgueras recorded the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap with a 1m59.057s. Joining them on the podium in class was the No. 68 Smooge Racing Toyota GR Supra of Kevin Conway and John Geesbreght in second place and the No. 51 Auto Technic Team BMW M4 of Austen Smith and Zac Anderson.
“This felt like a true endurance race,” said Filgueras. “The work we put in during qualifying helped us keep it in with this weird racing scenario we had today,” he added.
Finishing in second place overall, the No. 120 Premier Racing Team of Adam Adelson and Elliott Skeer captured Adelson’s first career win, and their first win as a team in the Pro-Am class in their Porsche. For Skeer, both the rain and the NOLA Motorsports track have been good luck as conditions were similar in 2015 when he won his first Porsche race, the last time professional auto racing came to NOLA. Finishing in third place overall and second in the Pro-Am class was the No. 52 Auto Technic Racing Team BMW M4 of Tom Capizzi John Capestro-Dubets. They were followed in third by the No. 24 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Gary Newell and Ian James
“This kid (Adelson) put in the qualifying lap of his life, and then to hang on the wet never being here, I couldn’t be more proud, he made my job really easy today,” said Skeer.
In Am action, the No. 36 BimmerWorld BMW M4 of Postins and Clay claimed the top of the podium. They were followed by the No. 83 RS1 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport of Nelson Calle and Juan Martinez. Completing the podium was the local team NOLASPORT their No. 19 Porsche 718 Cayman driven by Alain Stad and Seth Thomas.
With two wins and a second place finish already this season, the BimmerWorld team currently sits atop the points standings in the Am class. Like all teams who raced today, they are hoping to carry their experience into tomorrow’s Race 2 where there is expected rain for the day. “If it’s wet tomorrow, the track is amazing, it has fantastic grip in wet,” said Clay.
Pirelli GT4 America racing continues tomorrow with Race 2 beginning at 11 a.m. CST. You can follow all of the action via livestream on the GT World YouTube Channel.