TC: In changing weather conditions, the TC America championship kicked off at Circuit of The Americas on Saturday.
On a wet track, 17 TC-class challengers took the green, and 40 minutes later, Johan Schwartz (Rooster Hall Racing BMW M235iR Cup) had captured the first win of the season by a narrow margin.
Schwartz battled all race long with Jeff Ricca (GenRacer Hyundai Genesis Coupe) and Toby Grahovec (Classic BMW M240iR Cup) who finished second and third, respectively, as just half a second separated the top three.
Joseph Federl, making his TC America debut with TechSport Racing, drove the team’s Nissan 370z to a fourth-place finish, while Robert Nimkoff (Auto Technic Racing BMW M235iR) rounded out the top five.
TCR: Mason Filippi charged from the back to earn Hyundai’s first victory with the new TFB Performance Veloster N TCR (pictured, top). Filippi ended the 2018 season with a pair of podium finishes, and continued to build on that momentum with his first victory in TCR competition.
The pair of FCP Euro Volkswagen Golf GTI TCRs were set to start on the front row together, but Nate Vincent’s slowed on the pace lap with technical issues, leaving teammate Michael Hurczyn to lead the field into Turn 1. Hurczyn had no answer for the hard-charging Filippi, though, and had to settle for a runner-up finish — his first TCR podium.
After falling back behind the entire field of TCR and TCA cars, Vincent stormed back to join his teammate on the podium with a hard-earned third place finish.
Alain Lauziere and the Alphasonic Motorsport team debuted at COTA in the DSG Cup class, winning with their Audi RS3 LMS. eEuroParts.com ROWE Racing’s Bryan Putt finished second, with Lauziere’s teammate, Nelson Chan, taking third.
TCA: The TCA class featured a 17-car strong field with over half the drivers making their series debut. It was the returning Nick Wittmer (TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ tS), though, who claimed the class victory, holding off a strong push by the Mini JCW team’s Mark Pombo and Copeland Motorsports’ Tyler Maxon.
Wittmer, who spent last season in GT4 competition, leveraged his experience and speed to bring victory to his TechSport team.
Mini joined TCA this season and brought their Mini John Cooper Works racer to take on Honda, Mazda, and Subaru. Pombo’s Mini and Maxon’s Mazda engaged in a race-long battle for second, with Pombo securing the place late in the race.
Former TCB champion P.J. Groenke returned for his second season in TCA with TechSport Racing and Subaru. The Canadian held off local team X-Factor Racing’s Chris Haldeman to take fourth, with Haldeman’s Honda Civic Si finishing fifth.
GT4: In a separate race for the Pirelli GT4 America SprintX contenders, Nolasport took victory in decisive fashion with drivers Matt Travis and Jason Hart at the wheel of the No. 47 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. The pair outran the No. 77 Park Place Motorsports entry of Trent Hindman and Alan Brynjolfsson to win by 8.226s.
TC America is back in action at Circuit of The Americas on Sunday with TC Race 2 at 9:05 a.m. CST and TCR/TCA Race 1 at 11:45 a.m. CST. Each race will be streamed live at http://stream.world-challenge.com/.