Race Weekend Central

Wright Motorsports Sweeps GT World Challenge at Sonoma

Wright Motorsports’ Adam Adelson and Elliott Skeer led flag-to-flag Sunday (April 7) to score the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS weekend sweep at Sonoma Raceway. It is the duo’s third overall victory in the series.

“It’s a dream come true,” Adelson told SRO America’s Amanda Busick after the race. “To think that I’d be racing in the Pro class in my second year of GT3 racing, I didn’t even think that I’d even be here. To sweep the weekend in our first go-around [in the Pro class] is just incredible.”

Adelson and Skeer’s margin of victory was 13.513 seconds over CrowdStrike Racing by Riley’s Colin Braun and George Kurtz. ST Racing’s Samantha Tan and Neil Verhagen were third, then DXDT Racing’s Bryan Sellers and Scott Smithson. Bill Auberlen and Varun Choksey were fifth in the second ST Racing BMW.

In the Pro class, Adelson and Skeer won by 33.013 seconds over Auberlen and Choksey. Racers Edge Motorsports’ Luca Mars and Zach Veach were third.

Skeer started from pole in his Porsche and immediately ended up in an overall lead battle with Braun. Braun is a very strong driver, but Skeer was able to roll with the punches.

After the initial fight, Skeer was able to pull away to a small advantage over Braun. Meanwhile, he had a fairly substantial lead over Auberlen in the Pro class.

Skeer waited until the last possible moment to pit for tires and a change to Adelson. With the size of their lead in the Pro class at the time, they were all about the overall win at this point.

After the stops, Adelson was able to put significant distance on Kurtz. What was a two-second lead became seven. Ultimately, Adelson was never seriously threatened en route to victory.

In Pro-Am, Braun started from pole in his Mercedes. His attempts to try to snag the overall lead away from Skeer allowed him to pull away from Verhagen.

Like Skeer, Braun stayed out as late as possible and stopped just before the 50-minute deadline to swap over to Kurtz. The stop was only a couple of tenths of a second slower than Wright Motorsports and kept the CrowdStrike Mercedes in the Pro-Am lead.

However, during that stop, the CrowdStrike Racing by Riley crew had a tire roll away into the middle of the pit lane. That drew a five-second post-race penalty.

Behind Kurtz, a strong run by Sellers in the first half of the race brought DXDT Racing’s No. 08 Mercedes up to second in class. Smithson maintained a steady pace, but Tan was faster in her BMW.

With Kurtz staring down a time penalty, the battle for second could have ended up being a battle for the Pro-Am victory. At the time the penalty was announced, Kurtz was just barely five seconds ahead of Smithson. As the race continued on, both Smithson and Tan were able to gain on Kurtz.

With 16 minutes to go, Smithson spun his tires exiting turn 2 and nearly spun out his Mercedes. That was all Tan needed to take the spot away.

Over the final laps, Kurtz needed to push in order to hold onto the Pro-Am victory. When Tan took second, she was only three seconds behind him, enough that the penalty would wipe out his victory.

From there on, Kurtz set a series of quick laps to stretch out the advantage to over six seconds. That was all he needed to take the class win in second overall.

The margin of victory at the line over Tan and Verhagen was 8.034 seconds, reduced to 3.034 seconds due to the penalty. Sellers and Smithson were third.

On the final lap, DXDT Racing’s Philip Ellis ran down Turner Motorsport’s Justin Rothberg from 20 seconds behind. He made a move on Rothberg for fourth in Pro-Am in turn 9. The two drivers came together, sending Ellis off the track in the process.

Despite this, Ellis was able to make the pass and finish fourth on the road with teammate Jeff Burton. Rothberg and Robby Foley were fifth.

Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS: Sonoma Race No. 2 Results

Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS teams will race next at Sebring International Raceway in early May. Race No. 1 from the bumpy course will be May 4 at 3:05 p.m. ET. The race will be streamed live 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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