Wright Motorsports’ Adam Adelson and Elliott Skeer claimed the overall lead with 39 minutes to go Saturday (May 20) at Circuit of the Americas. From there, Skeer was able to hold on to win a somewhat wacky Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS race in their Pro-Am 991 generation-based Porsche 911 GT3 R. It is the first overall victory in the series for both drivers.
“I’m watching Adam [Adelson] scurry off and run away and I’m thinking, great, I can have a pace race,” Skeer told SRO America’s Amanda Busick after the race. “Then, you see what happens right before the pit window. Oh great, [now] it’s going to be warfare.
“Incredibly proud of our pit [crew] for getting us out there in a very good spot. Just starting to get some confidence in a GT3 car and I had to use all of it today.”
Adelson and Skeer’s overall margin of victory was 2.495 seconds over Rennsport One’s Eric Filguerias and Stevan McAleer, the Pro class winners. Wright Motorsports’ Jan Heylen and Charlie Luck were third, followed by ACI Motorsports’ Spencer Pumpelly and Pedro Torres. The Racer’s Group’s Derek DeBoer and Valentin Hasse-Clot were fifth.
Conquest Racing’s Manny Franco started his Ferrari 296 GT3 on the overall pole, but was absolutely trounced on the initial start by Filguerias. Filguerias easily took the lead while Franco had to fight with BimmerWorld Racing’s Chandler Hull for second with MDK Motorsports’ Seth Lucas lying in wait.
Franco dropped back as far as fourth, but worked his way back up to second 35 minutes into the race. Hull had a speed advantage, so he was able to get back alongside Franco heading towards turn 1. Then, contact was made, pitching the Ferrari into the air briefly. Both drivers then spun and went hard into the barriers to bring out the safety car.
Both Hull and Franco were ok afterwards. The crash ended the weekend for Conquest Racing, as they could not repair their Ferrari 296 GT3 on-site. Since the crash happened so close to halfway, the mandatory pit window was pushed back until after the yellow.
Under SRO America rules, if you’re in the outside line and have an overlap, it’s your position. As a result, Estep ended up with the overall lead even though McAleer beat him off the pit lane.
In the scramble that resulted from five different cars coming together while McAleer was trying to address the situation, Estep ended up with rear diffuser damage. That resulted in Estep losing the overall lead to Skeer, then the Pro lead to McAleer.
The diffuser damage got worse and worse on the MDK No. 53 Porsche, resulting in Estep falling further and further back. From here, Skeer was able to get a three-second lead from the scrum and hold on for the overall win.
In Pro-Am, Esses Racing’s Will Hardeman started his Mercedes on pole in the home race for his team, which is partially owned by Mercedes-Benz of Austin. Unfortunately, his time at the front did not last long. On the first lap, Hardeman spun and hit the Armco barrier entering the Esses. While he was able to continue, Hardeman dropped to the rear of the field.
Hardeman’s issues resulted in Crowdstrike Racing with Riley Motorsports’ George Kurtz assuming the lead. Fresh off of a victory in GT America powered by AWS Race No. 1 earlier in the day, Kurtz had a lot of pace in his Mercedes.
Kurtz’s primary competition early on was The Racer’s Group’s Derek DeBoer. On the second lap, DeBoer was nearly able to get the class lead from Kurtz, but came up short.
A couple of laps later, DeBoer spun his Aston Martin exiting turn 11 after contact from RealTime Racing’s Anthony Bartone. The spin dropped DeBoer to the rear of the field. Bartone was given a drive-through penalty for causing the incident.
DeBoer’s spin put Torres up to second, but he then lost the spot to Adelson. Samantha Tan was in the hunt in her BMW as well.
Following the stops, Colin Braun ended up third overall with Skeer and John Edwards all over him. Skeer made an aggressive move to the inside heading into turn 1 that Edwards later described as “coming from Narnia.”
A three-wide squeeze play was the result, contact was made and Braun spun out. While Braun was able to recover, Edwards ended up with a cut tire and suspension damage that put him out.
Skeer ended up claiming the Pro-Am lead here for good. A lap later, Skeer was able to pass Estep, who was dealing with rear diffuser damage, for the overall lead that he would not relinquish.
Adelson and Skeer won the Pro-Am class by 3.634 seconds over teammates Heylen and Luck. Pumpelly and Torres were third, then DeBoer and Hasse-Clot. Braun and Kurtz had to settle for fifth.
Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS Race No. 2 from Circuit of the Americas is scheduled to go green at 3:15 p.m. ET Sunday afternoon. Coverage will begin at 3 p.m. ET on the GT World YouTube channel.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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