Kyle Marcelli held off Trent Hindman to give Racers Edge Motorsports and Acura a 1-2 finish in the return of global GT World Challenge powered by AWS Saturday at Virginia International Raceway.
Marcelli and co-driver Martin Barkey claimed their first overall GT World Challenge America victory in a dominant run for the Jon Mirachi-led squad.
The team’s No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 Evo of Shelby Blackstock led from pole and dominated the early stages of the 90-minute race until a full-course caution that forced Blackstock to pit under yellow, dropping the car to third.
It came amid a decision by race control not to wave by the pair of DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos and No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari, who were ahead of the race-leading No. 1 Squadra Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 of Rodrigo Baptista on track.
It only took one lap after the restart for Marcelli to get around Baptista for the lead, which saw the Canadian ultimately holding off Hindman by 0.654 seconds at the line.
Marcelli and Barkey’s No. 80 Acura also took GT3 Pro-Am class honors for the first time this season.
Baptista and Martin Fuentes finished second in class and third overall, ahead of the No. 63 DXDT Mercedes of Ryan Dalziel, who charged back from an earlier race incident involving co-driver David Askew and the team’s sister No. 04 car of George Kurtz.
The No. 04 Mercedes was assessed a drive-through penalty for contact with Askew, which along with the decision for no wave-by, put both cars out of contention for an overall podium finish.
GT3 Am class honors went to the No. 31 TR3 Ferrari of John Megrue and Bill Sweedler following issues for the two other cars in the class.
Right-rear suspension failure sent the No. 20 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Fred Poordad off-track early on after running third overall while the No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes, which ran second in the hands of Kris Wilson, stopped on track to bring out the race’s only yellow midway through the race.
All eight of the GT3 entries finished the race, although some heavily delayed by various issues.
GT Sports Club America Debuts
Ryan Gates became the inaugural winner in GT Sports Club America with a dominant class win.
The new-for-2020 series, featuring SRO GT2-spec machinery for Bronze-rated drivers, ran within the GTWC America race this weekend.
Gates, driving for 311RS Motorsport, ran as high as fifth overall prior to the checkered flag being shown to series competitors at the 40-minute overall mark of the race.
Jason Bell, who is attempting to take part in eight races this weekend, came home second in class in the No. 2 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport.
The second and final race of the weekend for both GTWC America and GTSC America gets underway Sunday at 2:45 p.m. ET.