Racers Edge Motorsports with WTR’s Ashton Harrison was able to run down TR3 Racing’s Ziad Ghandour and took the overall lead shortly after the mid-race pit stops. From there, Harrison was able to hold to win Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS Race No. 2 at Circuit of the Americas Sunday (May 21) with teammate Mario Farnbacher. It is Farnbacher and Harrison’s first overall win of 2023 and the second Pro victory of the year.
“I just knew that there was a gap, and if we keep our heads down…we would still win this race,” Harrison told SRO America’s Amanda Busick after the race. “There was no reason to push with a big lead and the weather starting to change.”
Farnbacher and Harrison’s margin of victory was 2.417 seconds over Rennsport One’s Eric Filguerias and Stevan McAleer. Race No. 1 winners Adam Adelson and Elliott Skeer were third, followed by The Racer’s Group’s Derek DeBoer and Valentin Hasse-Clot. MDK Motorsports’ Trenton Estep and Seth Lucas were fifth.
In the Pro class, Farnbacher and Harrison defeated Filguerias and McAleer. Estep and Lucas were third.
Crowdstrike Racing with Riley Motorsports’ Colin Braun started from pole in his Mercedes and led Triarsi Competizione’s Ryan Dalziel. However, Dalziel illegally changed lanes on the start, triggering a drive-through penalty.
Instead of serving that penalty immediately, Dalziel stayed out for the maximum three laps before doing so. In those three laps, issues developed under the hood of Braun’s Mercedes. As a result, when Dalziel pulled in for his penalty, he did so from the overall lead.
Braun pitted at the same time Dalziel served his penalty. Unfortunately, it was not a quick in and out for the Crowdstrike Mercedes. The team was unable to affect a fix on the car, ending Braun’s day.
Dalziel’s penalty put Elliott Skeer up to the overall lead with TR3 Racing’s Daniel Morad giving chase. Meanwhile, the man on the move early was John Edwards in the ST Racing BMW. Edwards started 13th overall and moved all the way up to sixth on the first lap. That became fourth once Dalziel served his penalty.
Skeer and Morad were able to open up a three-second lead on Farnbacher and fought among themselves for the lead. A move for the lead didn’t occur until during the mid-race pit stops. Morad was able to get to the inside of Skeer entering turn 12 for the lead.
During the mid-race pit stops, Morad got in and handed over to Ghandour. He was able to maintain the advantage. A slow stop for Wright Motorsports’ No. 120 allowed Harrison to jump into second.
In the second half of the race, there was some precipitation in the air, not dissimilar to what happened during the GT America race earlier in the morning. As a result, Ghandour started having handling issues.
It took all of a lap and change after the stop for Harrison to run down Ghandour and take the overall lead. Once out in front, Harrison drove away.
The fastest man on the track in the second half of the race was Filguerias in the Community Beer Works Porsche. After the stops, he was nearly 20 seconds behind Harrison near the back of the top 10 overall.
Filguerias then proceeded to set laps up to two seconds a lap faster than the leader while slowly picking off those ahead of him, one-by-one. The only trouble he ran into was when he approached Wright Motorsports’ Charlie Luck and ST Racing’s Samantha Tan, who were fighting for third in Pro-Am (fourth overall).
Luck and Tan were evenly matched and their battle was holding up Filguerias. Filguerias was able to dispatch Tan, then tried to pass Luck in turn 1. He went too hot into the turn and went wide, dropping back behind Tan.
While he was eventually able to get all the way to second overall, the lost spots and multiple additional laps that it took for Filguerias to dispatch of Luck and Tan set him back significantly. It was likely the main reason why Filguerias was unable to run down Harrison in the closing laps.
In Pro-Am, once Ghandour lost the overall lead, he quickly dropped back down the order. Barely a lap after Harrison passed him, Adelson took over the class lead. Three laps after he lost the lead, he was down to fifth in class.
Adelson was hoping to run down Harrison and got to within three seconds of the Acura. However, he fell back late. In the closing laps, DeBoer ran him down, but could do nothing to prevent Adelson and Skeer from sweeping the Pro-Am class for the weekend in third overall.
Adelson and Skeer’s margin of victory was 1.023 seconds over DeBoer and Hasse-Clot. Luck and Jan Heylen were third, followed by DXDT Racing’s Jeff Burton and Corey Lewis. ST Racing’s Edwards and Tan faded late to fifth.
Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS teams will be back in action the weekend of June 16-18 at VIRginia International Raceway in Afton, Va. Race No. 1 from the 3.27-mile road course is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. ET on June 17 and will be streamed 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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