Trent Hindman and Shelby Blackstock claimed a commanding overall victory in Saturday’s GT World Challenge America powered by AWS season-opener at Circuit of The Americas.
Hindman took the No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo to a 21.590-second win over the pole-sitting No. 14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R of Jeroen Bleekemolen, in a caution-free 90 minute contest in Austin.
While having led the opening two laps, Bleekemolen’s co-driver James Sofronas was forced to give the position to Blackstock after having deemed to have cut through the Esses while attempting to defend his position.
It led to Blackstock expanding to a 9-second lead over Sofronas prior to the mid-race pit stop and driver changes that saw the Silver Cup Acura entry gain even more time through the sequence.
The outright win was Hindman’s first in GTWC America competition and came in Blackstock’s GT3 debut race.
Sofronas and Bleekemolen, meanwhile, picked up GT3 Pro-Am class honors with the runner-up overall finish, with the No. 04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Colin Braun and George Kurtz completing the overall podium in third.
Braun managed to get around the No. 1 Squadra Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 of Martin Fuentes and Rodrigo Baptista following the pit stops, dropping the TR3-run Ferrari to fourth in the end.
The No. 80 Racers Edge Acura of Kyle Marcelli and Martin Barkey completed the top-five overall, despite having had to serve a five-second time penalty during the pit stop for an incident during Barkey’s opening stint.
Matteo Cressoni and Ziad Ghondour finished sixth overall in the No. 24 TR3 Ferrari, ahead of the GT3 Am class-winning No. 20 Wright Motorsports Porsche of Max Root and Fred Poordad.
It came after Poordad started from the rear of the 14-car field due to an accident in qualifying.
Contact from the No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Bryce Ward in the opening stages saw K-PAX Racing’s charge derailed, with a further spin by Guy Cosmo resulting in a 10th place overall result for Cosmo and co-driver Patrick Byrne.
The No. 63 DXDT Mercedes Evo of Ryan Dalziel and David Askew was the only retirement of the race following right-front damage sustained due to contact during Askew’s stint.
Race 2 is set to get underway Sunday at 1:15 p.m. local time.
RESULTS: Race 1