RS1’s Stevan McAleer and Eric Filgueiras claimed a dominant win in the opening Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS round of the season at Sonoma Raceway.
McAleer took the No. 28 Porsche 911 GT3 R to a 1.538-second victory over the Pro-Am class-winning No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche of Elliott Skeer and Adam Adelson in Saturday’s 90-minute contest.
Having started from pole, GT3 debutant Filgueiras stretched out into an eight-second lead over the No. 94 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT3 of Chandler Hull prior to the mid-race pit stops and driver changes.
Hull’s co-driver Bill Auberlen was forced to relinquish second by race control after making an unsafe pit exit, which handed the position to Skeer, in one of the several previous-generation Type-991.2 Porsches in the field.
While having closed the initial gap, McAleer controlled the remainder of the race over Skeer to give the Type-992 Porsche victory in its global SRO race debut.
Colin Braun and George Kurtz finished third overall and second in Pro-Am in their No. 04 CrowdStrike by Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, with Braun having gotten around Auberlen with ten minutes to go.
Auberlen dropped to fifth overall at the checkered flag, with the No. 16 ACI Motorsports Porsche of Spencer Pumpelly getting around the veteran BMW driver with less than three laps to go.
Despite dropping several positions late, Auberlen and Hull were still credited with a second place finish in the Pro class.
The No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 of Ashton Harrison and Mario Farnbacher completed the Pro podium with a sixth place overall finish, meanwhile.
After starting from the rear of the 18-car field, Harrison carved her way to run inside the top-ten before handing over to Farnbacher at the halfway mark, who made up further ground, including a late-race pass on the No. 53 MDK Motorsports Porsche of Trenton Estep, who was relegated to seventh.
The lone Am class entrant, the No. 43 Bartone Bros Racing by RealTime Mercedes of Anthony Bartone and Andy Pilgrim, was classified 15th overall.
The race saw only a single full course caution due to an accident by Jeff Burton in the No. 91 DXDT Racing Mercedes in Turn 2, which led to the final 1 hour and 16 minutes running caution-free despite several other spins, including one for the No. 45 Wright Porsche of Charlie Luck early on.
Luck and co-driver Jan Heylen rallied for an eighth place overall finish, ahead of the best of the debuting Ferrari 296 GT3s from Conquest Racing’s Alessandro Balzan and Manny Franco in ninth, followed by the Esses Racing Mercedes of Adam Carroll and Will Hardeman, who completed the top-ten overall.
Race 2 is set to get underway Sunday at 2:15 p.m. PT (5:15 p.m. ET) with live coverage on SRO’s GT World YouTube page and on its Twitch channel.
RESULTS: Race 1