Martin Fuentes and Rodrigo Baptista piloted their Ferrari 488 GT3 to a second straight Pro/Am and overall GT World Challenge America powered by AWS Series victory at Circuit of The Americas Sunday afternoon. Shelby Blackstock and Trent Hindman took their Acura NSX GT3 to a second straight Silver division win.
Fred Poordad and Jan Heylen finished third overall in the race and second in Pro/Am. David Askew and Ryan Dalziel finished third in Pro/Am. Alec Udell and Russell Ward in the No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 finished second in the Silver division.
Baptista led the field to green in the No. 1 Squadra Corse Ferrari 488 GT3. Heylen in No. 20 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (991.II), who started second, drag raced to the inside and squeezed through into the lead through Turn 1. Baptista slotted into second. Hindman, in the No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 and Kyle Marcelli, in the Racer’s Edge No. 80 Acura NSX GT3 both moved around Ryan Dalziel, in the No. 63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
With Heylen building a 1.5-second lead over Baptista by Lap 5, the two leaders had pulled away from the pack. Hindman, Marcelli and Dalziel closed up to battle for third overall. By Lap 8, Marcelli closed on Hindman, with Dalziel waiting in the wings. On Lap 14, Hindman and Marcelli went door-to-door through Turn 11 and drag raced down the back straight. Marcelli out braked through Turn 12 to complete the pass. Then on Lap 22, Dalziel would pass Hindman through Turn 11, just as the pit window opened at the 45-minute mark. At the window, Heylen held a six-second advantage over Baptista.
The leaders Heylen, Baptista, Dalziel and Hindman all stayed out until near the end of the pit window. The focus then switched to the action on pit road as Heylen came in for Poordad, Baptista changed over to Fuentes, Dalziel gave the seat over to Askew, and Hindman handed the reins to Blackstock.
Once the charts recycled, Poordad remained in the lead by 2.9 seconds over Fuentes, with Askew and Blackstock third and fourth.
By Lap 27, Blackstock had closed on Askew and passed for position through Turn 12. A lap later Fuentes had closed the gap on Poordad and passed for the lead sweeping around the outside of Turns 16 and 17. Blackstock then pursued Poordad and by Lap 34 moved up into second overall through Turn 11.
From there the leaders held position and Fuentes crossed the line 7.9 seconds ahead of Blackstock. With the win, Fuentes and Baptista lead in the Pro/Am Division Driver’s Championship by 49 points.
“We were focused 100% on getting the car faster and faster this weekend. Rodrigo and the team did a great job. I’m impressed and thankful to the team,” said Fuentes. “And now Rodrigo and I are in the lead in the championship again.”
“Missing that first practice session of the weekend really hurt us and unfortunately we also discovered an issue with the car in practice 2,” said Blackstock, “but overall we are happy with two podiums this weekend. So thankful for the Racer’s Edge team, they worked their tails off this weekend to get us on the podium. We’ll take the points and look forward to Indy.”
Drivers now look ahead to the finale weekend of the 2020 season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, October 2-4. Follow the series at http://www.gt-world-challenge-america.com.
Issa wins Round 8 GT Sports Club at COTA, Gates grabs GT2 win
Mark Issa held off Jason Daskalos to score the GT Sports Club Overall GT3 class win at COTA on Sunday afternoon. Ryan Gates took the GT2 class win.
Daskalos, in the No. 27 Daskalos Motorsports Audi R8 LMS Ultra led the field to green, with Issa in the No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 slotting into second. Gates, in the 311RS Motorsport’s No. 311 Porsche 911 GT2 RS CS slotted into third, while Jason Bell, in the No. 2 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT2 RS CS slotted into fourth.
By Lap 3, Daskalos had built a 1.5-second lead over Issa. But by Lap 5 Issa began to close the gap and by Lap 6 moved around Daskalos for the lead. Daskalos however kept close contact with Issa staying within 1.5 seconds of the leader. On the white flag lap, Daskalos was on a charge and had closed the gap, but carried a healthy amount of speed through the Turn 8 and 9 complex and spun allowing Issa to pull away for the checkered.
GTSC drivers now look ahead to the 2020 finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, October 2-4. Follow the series at http://www.gtsportsclub.com/america.