Racers Edge takes GTWC Pro-Am title victory at Indy 8 Hour, Craft-Bamboo win overall

SRO America

Racers Edge takes GTWC Pro-Am title victory at Indy 8 Hour, Craft-Bamboo win overall

SRO America

Racers Edge takes GTWC Pro-Am title victory at Indy 8 Hour, Craft-Bamboo win overall

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The 2022 Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS season came to a dramatic end this Saturday evening, as the Indianapolis 8-Hour concluded at 8 PM ET sharp. GT World Challenge America was joined by the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC), who disputed their penultimate round within the Indianapolis 8-Hour race. This was the 13th round of a championship where the previous 12 races had been 90 minutes each.

Temperatures were chilly, but that didn’t stop the 25 cars from putting on a show for the thousands of spectators in attendance. Although the Pro Championship was already decided, with the No. 1 K-PAX Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 clinching the title earlier in the season, the on-track action continued to roll on. Crowds were treated to a nail-biting battle in the Pro-Am class that saw the No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura of Ashton Harrison and Mario Farnbacher claim a sensational first title. The regular duo was joined by Christina Nielsen for the 8-hour endurance race.

Although the GT World Challenge America series had only one race this weekend, the drivers accumulated double the points at the checkered flag, making things all the more interesting or heartbreaking, depending on the desired outcome.

IGTC contestant Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing won the race, effectively skyrocketing Daniel Juncadella to the top of the IGTC Championship standings. Raffaele Marciello and Daniel Morad joined their teammate on the top step of the podium, as the No. 71 AF Corse – Francorchamps Ferrari 488 GT3 IGTC entry came in second. The podium was not decided until the very end as these two cars were battling it out hard around the Brickyard.

“Raffaelle Marciello pissed us off by making the end of the race too intense,” joked Juncadella. “We knew our car was very strong. It was a pity to not be able to qualify. Daniel and Dani did an amazing job putting the car in front. It was a nice battle with Antonio,” added Marciello.

In addition to claiming this thrilling win, Marciello set the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap late in the race with a lap time of 1m22.439s.

Third in the Pro and overall podium was seasoned Fanatec GT World Challenge America team Turner Motorsport in the No. 96 BMW M4 GT3 co-driven by Robby Foley, John Edwards, and Michael Dinan.

“The last stint was hard work,” said Robby Foley after climbing down from the podium. “We were basically trying to keep the No. 33 behind. They are a great team with three great drivers, so it was not an easy task. It’s a great day for BMW and Turner Motorsports. I am proud to give these guys a big podium after a long and hard season. Great way to end the season and we will take the momentum into 2023.”

Finishing just outside of the Top 3 was the No. 33 Team Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of regulars Russell Ward and Phillip Ellis, who were also joined by Mercedes-AMG factory driver Jules Gounon. The American-German lineup was left in an unfortunate position after an untimely full-course caution that came out as they exited pit lane. This situation put them nearly a full lap down, although Gounon was able to stay in the top five for the remainder of the race. AF Corse – Francorchamps’s second Ferrari rounded up the top five, as drama erupted between the Scuderia’s two teammates when they made contact near the halfway point.

Bill Auberlen—one of America’s winningest touring and gt racers, ever—added to his tally as he ended the 8-hour race on a high note. Though the No. 94 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT3 co-driven by Chandler Hull and Richard Heistand finished second in team points, they walked away with an iconic win under the stars.

“This is as good as we could have done,” said Auberlen. “Thank you to BimmerWorld for everything they have done, and to James Clay and my guys. This victory is unbelievable, that was more stress than I could handle! He was right behind me and this BMW M4 GT3 ran flawlessly all day long and the crew was perfect. That’s what it takes to win at this place.”

It wasn’t a total clean sweep for the BimmerWorld outfit, as IGTC’s No. 75 SunEnergy 1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 machine was determined to put up a good fight for the win. Rounding out the podium was the newly crowned Pro-Am Champions, Ashton Harrison and Mario Farnbacher in the No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3, joined by Danish driver Christina Nielsen. Harrison becomes the first female racer to win a GT World Challenge America championship.

“Wow, I’ve grown so much throughout the year,” noted Ashton Harrison after the race. “Racers Edge has been so good to me, graduating from the academy and jumping into a full season of GT3 with my coach Mario. We worked really hard with the team, and we just kept our heads down. It was a roller-coaster season, it wasn’t easy. We won by five points and that’s enough!”

“I think the sweep at Road America resulted in a big change in the championship and the win at Sebring as well,” added Mario Farnbacher. “I am very happy for Honda HPD and for Ashton.”

Racers Edge team owner Jon Mirachi was all smiles remarking “It’s just fantastic to win. And to do it with one of our driver academy students on top of it. It’s just incredible. Really special.”

The Indy 8-Hour was a defining moment for the Pro-Am team, as Farnbacher was handed a drive-through penalty in the early stages of the race. However, the German driver put his head down and clocked in purple sector after purple sector, flying down the Racing Capital of the World with monumental speed. The trio finished the race in third place, after a thrilling event.

Luck was on Racers Edge’s side as their main opponents, Wright Motorsports and CrowdStrike with Riley Motorsports, were delayed with mechanical issues that brought both cars behind the wall for extensive repairs. Wright’s No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3-R (991.ii) needed to make up one more position in order to clinch the Pro-Am title, but failed to do so as the next Pro-Am car was 12 laps away.

IGTC’s Pro-Am Championship leaders No. 75 SunEnergy 1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 finished second, ahead of the Racers Edge Motorsports machine.

The No. 88 Zelus Motorsports Lamborghini HuracanGT3 of Jason Harward, Seth Lucas and Jason Daskalos is leaving Indianapolis with some hardware as the team claimed first place in the Am class, leading ahead of the No. 08 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.

One performance that must be noted was the lone entry in the Silver Cup class. Although ST Racing’s outfit went unchallenged for a class win, they fought brilliantly for the overall honors! Samantha Tan, Nick Wittmer and Harry Gottsacker put their No. 38 BMW M4 GT3 machine near the front of the field for almost the entire event, claiming an overall 9th place finish.

K-Pax Racing had a rough end to the season with a fourth place finish for their No. 3 Lamborghini Huracan, and a DNF for the championship winning No. 1 of Andrea Caldarelli. Caldarelli won the drivers championship, while K-PAX secured the Pro teams championship. Caldarelli noted, “It was a tough year, obviously for some it looked like we had a smooth year, but it wasn’t. To give the team this title means a lot. I would like to thank the team and Lamborghini Squadra Corse for their endless support and I am really happy to have clinched my sixth SRO series title.”

The Fanatec GT World Challenge America manufacturers championship was won by Lamborghini, followed by Mercedes-AMG, BMW, Acura, Porsche, and Ferrari.

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