Bryan Heitkotter has broken through for his first career overall Pirelli World Challenge victory, following a dominant effort in Saturday’s Sprint Race 1 at Utah Motorsports Campus.
Heitkotter took his No. 05 Always Evolving Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 to a 3.632-second win over the No. 88 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3 of Adderly Fong, in a race that saw major championship implications for two title favorites.
Contact between the pole-sitting No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S of Alvaro Parente and Michael Cooper’s No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R on the first restart on Lap 2 ended in retirement for the championship leader Parente, who entered the race with a 102-point lead.
Cooper, who headed into the weekend third in the title race, served a drive-through penalty for contact, and ending up 15th overall.
Up front, Heitkotter gave Nissan and the AIM Autosport-run team its first win of the season, after taking the lead from Parente on the outside of Turn 1 on the opening lap, and never looking back.
Absolute’s Fong got around the No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura TLX GT of Ryan Eversley for second with eight minutes to go, after the Acura driver faded in the closing stages of the 50-minute race. Eversley came home fourth.
The No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Patrick Long completed the podium in third, in a significant points day for the Porsche factory driver, who has closed to within 12 points of Parente.
Frankie Montecalvo claimed victory in GTA, finishing 9th overall in his No. 66 DIME Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, in a flag-to-flag run for the defending class champion.
Montecalvo ran as high as fourth in the early stages but faded late after getting passed by the No. 13 K-PAX McLaren of Colin Thompson and teammate Austin Cindric, who finished 5th and 6th overall.
Jon Fogarty edged out Spencer Pumpelly in a photo finish at the line for 7th overall, in a last-lap pass.
In GT Cup, Sloan Urry returned to victory lane for the first time since Lime Rock, claiming top class honors in a titanic battle with championship rival Alec Udell.
Urry took his No. 20 TruSpeed Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car to a 2.623-second victory over Udell, after his No. 17 GMG Racing Porsche suffered overheating issues in the final few laps.
The two drivers exchanged the lead multiple times, and were seen battling side-by-side on the front-straight.
The second GT/GTA/GT Cup Sprint race of the weekend gets underway Sunday at 1:30 p.m. local time.
RESULTS: Race 1