- Pepper, Caldarelli Drive the #3 Lamborghini from Pole to Checkered
- Hagler, Abel (Acura) Battle and Defend for Pro-Am
- Champions-elect Saada, Grunewald Notch Another Am Win
- PROVISIONAL RESULTS - PDF Link
Watkins Glen, NY - K-PAX Racing drivers Jordan Pepper and Andrea Caldarelli drove to a decisive flag-to-flag win in the #3 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in the first race of the Watkins Glen double-header weekend. Taylor Hagler and Jacob Abel grabbed positions and held off contenders to take the Pro-Am class win in the #93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3, while the #61 AF Corse Ferrari entry from Jean-Claude Saada and Conrad Grunewald took the Am class win.
At the drop of the green flag, it was Dinan that would take the first aggressive move to pass at the front of the pack, completing the overtake of Corey Lewis before the end of the first lap. At the Pro-Am section of the grid, it was Michael Di Meo (#77 Compass Racing Acura NSX GT3) that fought traffic to gain four positions in the field.
In Lap 3, the #10 TR3 Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Bill Sweedler made contact with the wall, creating a Full Course Yellow condition. Upon return to green Michael Di Meo (#77 Compass Racing Acura NSX GT3) snuck by class pole-sitter Erin Vogel (#19 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3) to take the lead in Pro-Am, while Jeff Burton had taken advantage of the packed-together field from the FCY and re-took four positions to start making his way back up the field. However, a mechanical issue would see him pit the car by Lap 9 and keep it out for the rest of his driving stint and a majority of the race.
By this time, the battle between Hagler and Vogel had intensified, with Hagler finally able to pass for second-in-class positioning in Lap 11. Slightly further back Martin Fuentes (#9 TR3 Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3) was able to make the pass on Fred Poordad (#20 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R 911.2) after their own multi-lap battle, with Frank Gannett (#12 Ian Lacy Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3) battling to regain lost positions as well.
As the pit window opened, Jean-Claude Saada (#61 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3) took advantage of the proximity and entered the pits first, followed closely by race-leader Pepper. As required, the rest of the field eventually followed with only the #6 K-PAX Racing Lamborghini and the #33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 continuing to battle third and fourth positions, finally pitting with only 3 minutes left in the pit window.
After the pit window closed and the field of secondary drivers settled into place, it would be the #3, #96, #33 and #6 Pro cars at the front of the field, with Jacob Abel in the seat of the #93 car slotting into the first Pro-Am position and Matt McMurry following close behind in the #77. This battle would continue throughout the remainder of the race but Abel successfully defended and kept pace to secure the Pro-Am win. The #88 Zelus Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan, the only car to receive a Drive Through Penalty for a pitlane infraction, was able to salvage and continue the chase for position-recovery, but ultimately suffered a gear-box failure and exited the race.
Results are provisional until posted Final. GT World Challenge competitors complete the weekend with the CBS Sports Network televised coverage of Race 2 starting at 12:50 PM EDT; check your local listings for channel information. Fans can also watch the live-streamed race on the GTWorld YouTube channel, catch audio simulcasts on SiriusXM Satellite Radio channel 392 (or 992 on the app), and follow live timing and scoring from the gt-world-challenge-america.com site, the official site of GT World Challenge America.