When you win eleven out of fourteen races in a support series, you might be good enough to compete at the next level. That’s just what Eric Filgueiras and RS1 proved in the opening round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge America season.
After dominating the GT4 America championship last season, Filgueiras, RS1, and co-driver Steven MacAleer decided to embark on a GTWCA campaign. The result of the team and Filgueiras’ first qualifying session with its new car? Pole. The result of Filgueiras’ first stint in a GT3 car? A nearly 10s lead. The result of the team’s first race? A convincing win.
“Incredible, incredible,” Filgueiras told RACER. “For this type of debut three days ago, I don’t think we would have seen ourselves in this position. The team, myself, Steven, we’re so green with this car. Porsche puts such a great together but we’re still getting there, we’re still developing it, and we’ve had such little time with it.
“The guys have worked so hard, Porsche has given us really great support, feedback, and guidance with the car as well and then it was just managing the race,” Filgueiras added.
MacAleer inherited a 9s advantage and despite the field chewing away that gap to just 1.538s, he was not concerned. With such a comfortable lead, MacAleer turned the traction control up to help the tire wear and simply guided the car home.
“I had I think an 8.5s or 9s lead and, in all honesty, I was quite happy to manage the tires,” the Scotsman said. “I turned the traction control up and tried to look after the car. They keep reading me the gap, ‘half-second, two-tenths, four-tenths, six-tenths.’ I know this game though; I’ve been at it a long time. Yes, there were three cars catching me, but it would’ve taken something special to get around me.”
The team will test at NOLA Motorsports Park ahead of the third and fourth rounds of the season at the Louisiana venue. That test will be focused on improving long-run pace, which MacAleer cited as one area that the team could be better, as well as increasing the team’s general familiarity with the tuning of the new Porsche GT3 R 992.