Michael Lewis converted his first career Pirelli World Challenge GT pole into his first overall win in dominant fashion in Saturday’s Race 1 on the streets of St. Petersburg.
The EFFORT Racing driver controlled the 50-minute caution-free race, finishing a hefty 10.113 seconds ahead of the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 of Alvaro Parente in second.
It marked the team’s second victory in three races this season and the first for the No. 41 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Lewis, who has been the pace-setter so far this weekend.
Johnny O’Connell completed the podium in third in his No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R — maintaining his championship lead — after pressuring Parente early but slightly fading later in the run.
The No. 8 Cadillac of Michael Cooper was fourth, with Austin Cindric making it two K-PAX McLarens in the top-five in the relatively incident-free race.
Patrick Long, who started from the rear of the 19-car GT/GTA field after his Porsche’s late arrival due to repairs from last weekend’s race at Circuit of The Americas, charged to a 7th place result.
The top-10 was completed by Jon Fogarty (6th), Andrew Davis (8th), Bryan Heitkotter (9th) and Ryan Eversley (10th), who had a late-race battle with Andrew Palmer.
Palmer was spun by Eversley but the RealTime Racing Acura driver gave back the spot before resuming the fight. The No. 87 Bentley Continental GT3 finished 12th.
Martin Fuentes continued his dominance in GTA, with the Scuderia Corsa driver taking his third class win in as many races in the No. 07 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3.
Fuentes, who finished 16th overall, battled with the No. 66 DIME Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 of Frankie Montecalvo early until the defending GTA champion stopped on track and continued.
In GT Cup, Sloan Urry claimed his second class win of the season in an equally impressive flag-to-flag run in his No. 20 TruSpeed Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
Alec Udell, bouncing back from an accident on Thursday, finished second in class, with Preston Calvert scoring his first class podium in third, after an early spin by Corey Fergus.
Sunday’s GT/GTA/GT Cup Race 2 gets underway at 3:15 p.m. ET.
RESULTS: Race 1