Elliott Skeer and Adam Adelson took Wright Motorsports to overall victory in an incident-filled opening Fanatec GT World Challenge America race of the weekend at Circuit of The Americas that saw Porsches lock out the first four positions overall.
Skeer drove his Type-991.2 Porsche 911 GT3 R to a 2.495-second win over the No. 28 RS1 Porsche of Stevan McAleer in a 90-minute race that saw multiple lead changes and a heavy accident between two front-runners.
Having started from pole due to a technical infractions from both the No. 21 Conquest Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 and No. 94 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT3, Eric Filgueiras bridged out into a six-second lead in his RS1 Porsche until chaos unfolded behind him in the battle for second.
Both Manny Franco and Chandler Hull were eliminated from the race with 55 minutes to go when Hull’s BimmerWorld BMW had side-to-side contact with Franco on the front-straight, sending the No. 21 Ferrari into the air and both cars heavily into the Turn 1 barriers.
The accident, which saw both drivers climb from their cars under their own power, resulted in a delay in the opening of the pit window to the race’s restart with 43 minutes to go.
While the RS1 Porsche initially held the lead through the mid-race stops, race control forced McAleer to give up his position to the No. 54 MDK Motorsports Porsche of Trenton Estep, which was deemed to be ahead on pit lane.
The handoff led to a bottle-up with the top five cars that eventually led to a three-car incident between Skeer, the No. 38 ST Racing BMW of John Edwards and Colin Braun’s No. 04 CrowdStrike by Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo that saw Braun spun around in Turn 1.
Diffuser damage from Estep’s MDK Porsche, meanwhile, saw him pit after receiving a black flag, while Edwards’ day was done with steering damage.
While McAleer and Filgueiras picked up Pro class honors with the runner-up finish, the No. 45 Wright Porsche of Jan Heylen and Charlie Luck provisionally finished third overall and second in class, pending a post-race investigation for an incident between Heyelen and the No. 91 DXDT Racing Mercedes of Corey Lewis.
The No. 16 ACI Motorsports Porsche of Spencer Pumpelly and Pedro Torres completed the Pro-Am class podium with a fourth place overall result.
Valentin Hasse-Clot and Derek DeBoer bounced back from an early race spin, triggered by the No. 43 Bartone Bros Racing Mercedes of Anthony Bartone, to complete the top-five overall in the No. 007 TRG Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
Bartone, in the lone Am class entry, was served a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility. He and co-driver Andy Pilgrim finished 12th overall.
Hasse-Clot held off a strong late-race challenge by Braun, who finished sixth, with the No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 of Mario Farnbacher capitalizing on the Pro class attrition rate to finish second in class.
Race 2 is set to get underway Sunday at 2:15 p.m. CT with live coverage on SRO’s GT World YouTube page.
RESULTS: Race 1