Indianapolis, Ind. - The DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG team of George Kurtz and Colin Braun scored the Pro/Am GT World Challenge America powered by AWS Series win Sunday afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Squadra Corse Ferrari team of Martin Fuentes and Alessandro Balzan finished second. With the second-place finish, Fuentes is crowned the 2020 Pro/Am GT World Challenge America Driver's Champion.
Trent Hindman and Shelby Blackstock, the Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 team finished third. The three-hour race, integrated into the Indianapolis 8 Hour contest, was held as a makeup for the two rounds that were cancelled earlier in the year at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Mother Nature tested the abilities of the teams and drivers as the contest was held under cool and wet 50-degree Fahrenheit weather conditions. Rain started to fall as the 22-car combined World Challenge America and Indianapolis 8 Hour field completed their formation laps and at the green to start the contest at 10 am Eastern windshield wipers were in full use.
From pole, Hindman, in the #93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 led the World Challenge field and with heavy rain beginning to fall the leader as well as Balzan, in the #1 Squadra Corse Ferrari 488 GT3, and Kurtz in the #04 Mercedes-AMG GT3 all stayed out on course on a dry tire setup.
By lap 7 with track conditions worsening, Hindman remained out on track while Balzan and Kurtz came in to switch to rain tires and the switches proved invaluable as both Balzan and Kurtz moved up into first and second shortly after as Hindman gingerly navigated poor track conditions on his Pirelli slicks. Hindman would eventually bring his NSX in for wets and near the mid-point of the race moved back around Kurtz and into second overall in the race.
With rain falling off and on and track conditions continuing to worsen a yellow was called after contact between Indianapolis 8 Hour competitors. Race officials then called to extend the yellow as drivers reported pooling water in turn 14. Balzan would come in to change over to Fuentes, Hindman and Kurtz remained on track. Soon after Kurtz came down pit road to change over to Braun.
With the race going back to green by Lap 31, Hindman would pass Fuentes to take over the overall lead, with Braun in third and the driver of the #93 held the lead through lap 37. But then drama ensued on lap 41 as Hindman's NSX suffered a left rear puncture and he limped the machine into the pits for repairs. Fuentes moved back up into the lead with Braun pursuing in second. Drivers settled into a rhythm and Fuentes maintained the lead through lap 60.
Fuentes soon came into the pits in the final third of the race to change over to Balzan, Braun moved into the lead. Then with minutes remaining in the contest, Balzan came into the pits to changeover to his teammate allowing the driver from Mexico to cross the line at the three-hour mark as the newly crowned Pro/Am series champion.
"This is definitely the highlight of my career," said Fuentes. "I've been racing for a while, and I think this will be the biggest championship I could ever win. The circumstances were the hardest I have ever driven in, it was pretty challenging."
Results are provisional until posted final. Hindman and Blackstock claimed the Silver division 2020 driver's championship, while the Wright Motorsports Porsche GT3 team of Max Root and Fred Poordad were crowned the Am division champions. Teams and drivers now move into the offseason and plan for the start of the 2021 campaign set to start March 5-7, at Sonoma Raceway in California. Get up-to-date series new throughout the offseason at www.gt-world-challenge-america.com.
PROVISIONAL RESULTS - PDF Link