Olivier Beretta has taken the overall victory in the Pirelli World Challenge season-opening Nissan Grand Prix of Texas at Circuit of the Americas, following a last lap pass for the lead to conclude the 50-minute race.
Beretta, in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, started third and has his first career PWC win in his second start, and first since 2004.
After hounding Ryan Dalziel, in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, Beretta made a move to Dalziel’s inside at Turn 20 on the second-to-last lap. Beretta got ahead briefly, only for Dalziel to regain the lead on corner exit.
Beretta won a drag race up the hill into Turn 1 and emerged ahead from there by an unofficial margin of victory of 1.603 seconds over Dalziel.
Dalziel had started fourth, but was up to second by the end of the opening lap behind pole-sitter Nick Catsburg in the No. 25 Blancpain Racing Lamborghini Gallardo FL2.
Catsburg, however, exceeded the track limits off the initial start. Drivers were explicitly told during the drivers meeting to not go over the white line at pit out in reaction to another car, and Catsburg was ruled to have done so by race control.
The Dutchman was issued a drive-through penalty and served it on Lap 8, and fell from the lead down to 15th. He recovered to 10th place by the checkered flag, and with the fastest lap of 2:06.759, will have the pole for Sunday’s Round 2.
Behind the leaders, Johnny O’Connell in the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R drove impressively from eighth up to third, to secure a podium for the ATS-V.R in its worldwide race debut.
Kevin Estre survived a slow start in his No. 9 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3 and finished fourth after qualifying second.
Michael Lewis took the GTA victory in fifth overall in the No. 41 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
He made a late move on James Davison, in the No. 33 AE Nissan GT Academy Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, for the overall top-five result. Davison was sixth.
Other GTA classified drivers Frankie Montecalvo and Ricardo Perez finished seventh and eight overall, with Madison Snow and Catsburg completing the overall top 10.
Colin Thompson continued his dominance in the opening weekend of the GT Cup presented by MOMO class, with a win in the No. 11 Kelly-Moss Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Sloan Urry and Alec Udell completed the podium finishers.
Although there were several incidents during the race, there were no full-course cautions.
Among those out of Round 1 included Duncan Ende, Guy Cosmo, Jeff Courtney, the pair of RealTime Racing Acura TLX-GTs (Peter Cunningham and Ryan Eversley), Joseph Toussaint and Christina Nielsen.
The latter two drivers, Toussaint and Nielsen were stopped on course in the final 10 minutes of the race, but were out of harm’s way. Nielsen was contacted in the esses by the GT Cup entry driven by Mitch Landry.
The GT/GTA/GT Cup classes will have a 15-minute warmup session at 9:15 a.m. CT and local time Sunday morning, before Round 2 goes green at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon.