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GT World Challenge America

Estre, McLaren Dominate Wet COTA Sunday Race

Kevin Estre wins by more than 30 seconds in wet COTA race 2…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Kevin Estre crushed the rest of the Pirelli World Challenge field in Sunday’s second race of the Nissan Grand Prix of Texas weekend, to score the first win for the new McLaren 650S GT3 in worldwide competition.

The Frenchman won by some 30.344 seconds driving the No. 9 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren, to claim his first series win in an utterly dominating performance.

Estre started fourth but made a monster getaway from the rolling start, moving into the lead on the outside on the exit of Turn 1.

He built a gap of more than five seconds at the end of the first lap, and more than nine at the end of Lap 2.

Even with an extended yellow to remove the stopped No. 19 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Drew Regitz, Estre would not be denied.

He built the gap back to more than five seconds again on the first lap after the restart, and more than 20 seconds over the rest of the race, culminating with the final victory margin following the 18th and last lap of the 50-minute race.

Ryan Dalziel finished second for the second race running in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, while polesitter Nick Catsburg secured his first career series podium in third in the No. 25 Blancpain Racing Lamborghini Gallardo FL2.

Catsburg fell to fourth after the lone full-course caution of the race, but recovered to the final podium position after making a late-race pass of Mike Skeen in the No. 2 CRP Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra. Skeen finished fourth in a decent comeback drive after a 16th place result on Saturday.

In fifth, posting a great drive in the wet conditions was Ryan Eversley in the No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura TLX-GT, showcasing the all-wheel drive capabilities of the car.

Eversley started 25th but was up to 17th by the end of Lap 1, into ninth after the restart on Lap 7, and fifth by the finish.

Madison Snow was GMG Racing’s top finisher for the second straight race in sixth in the No. 21 Audi R8 LMS ultra.

Johnny O’Connell and Olivier Beretta ended seventh and eight after scoring podiums on Saturday, while GTA winner Michael Lewis and Robert Thorne completed the top 10.

Thorne rebounded from a mid-race penalty for exceeding track limits to a top-10 finish in the second K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3.

Lewis (GTA) and Colin Thompson (GT Cup presented by MOMO) each took their second straight class wins to sweep the weekend.

Lewis took top GTA honors in ninth overall, in the No. 41 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, while Thompson posted a very good drive through the field to end 17th overall in the No. 11 Kelly-Moss Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.

Thompson’s finish was ahead of both Bentley Team Dyson Racing Bentley Continental GT3s and Andy Pilgrim in the second Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R.

Henrique Cisneros (No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) and Christina Nielsen (No. 7 TRG-AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3) completed the GTA podium.

In GT Cup, Sloan Urry (No. 02 TruSpeed Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) and Alec Udell (No. 17 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) were second and third for the second straight race.

With a win and a fourth, Estre should take over the PWC GT points lead with Dalziel close on the strength of his two runner-up finishes. Beretta is unofficially third.

The next weekend of the season occurs at St. Petersburg, with Rounds 3 and 4 on March 28-29.

RESULTS: Nissan Grand Prix of Texas Round 2 (Provisional)

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony


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