- K-PAX Racing’s Lamborghini continues to dominate with six straight wins in Pro
- CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports leads Pro-Am with Mercedes-AMG
- Ferrari and Triarsi Competizione hold the lead in Am
- Provisional Entry List | Timetable | Event Tickets
Watkins Glen, New York - The Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS championship reaches the halfway mark of the season as it heads to Watkins Glen International in Upstate New York. This fast, iconic track is a driver favorite, with 3.45 miles of snaking tarmac through the beautiful rolling hills of America’s Northeast.
Teams are looking to build up their points for not only overall series championship bragging rights, but in-class position as well. Current team points leaders in each class are as follows: K-PAX Racing leads Pro with 150 points, CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports sits first in Pro-Am with 102 points, and Triarsi Competizione sits atop Am with 136 points.
Considered the top-tier form of GT3 racing with pro-pairing in North America, the Fanatec GT World Challenge America series runs two 90-minute races in three classes: Pro, Pro-Am, and Am, which are based on driver pairing categories determined by the FIA’s driver categories. The seven-weekend season travels to world-renowned racetracks all over the United States, culminating with the Indianapolis 8 Hour presented by AWS at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in early October.
2021’s back-to-back Watkins Glen podium-topping pairing of Jordan Pepper and Andrea Caldarelli of K-PAX Racing have continued their efforts into 2022, now split between the #3 of teammates Misha Goikhberg and Jordan Pepper, and the #1’s Michele Beretta and Andrea Calderelli. The #1 car hasn’t seen any finish other than first since day one of the 2022 calendar, and there’s no sight of them slowing down.
US Racetronics’s Steven Aghakhani and Loris Spinelli (#6 Mercedes-AMG GT3) clocked in two fourth-place finishes at VIR, their first non-podium finish California team all-season-long. This bodes well for Turner Motorsports’ Michael Dinan and Robby Foley in the #96 BMW M4 GT3, who earned two second-place finishes in the same race and narrowed their gap with US Racetronics to now just 15 points. This bolsters their season points and keeps them firmly in contention for a second or third place finish in the 2022 championship. Both aiming to earn a win over the Lamborghinis.
Being the most populous class in Fanatec GT World Challenge America, there are still plenty of laps to turn before any truly solid lead in season points is carved out. The series welcomes Team Hardpoint into the 2022 season, who will kick off their place in the paddock with the #00 Porsche 911 GT3-R 991.2 piloted by PJ Hyett and Gunnar Jeannette.
The #04 CrowdStrike by Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG of George Kurtz and Colin Braun had a picture-perfect first place finish in Pro-Am at VIR, which has kept them in first place with 102 points in the 2022 championship so far. The #45 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3-R (991.ii) (Charlie Luck/Jan Heylen) earned second and fourth place finishes at VIR, and are still good positioning to nab the championship as they’re only 13 points off of CrowdStrike’s bumper.
The #93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 driven by Ashton Harrison and Mario Farnbacher has also done quite well so far, too, and after a very dramatic final 30 minutes in Race 2 at VIR, including a massive off by Harrison, they’re still firmly in third place in championship, ready to bring the ruckus into this second half of the season calendar. Especially on a long, high-speed-yet-tricky track like the Glen, which seems to be what the dynamic duo prefers in a circuit.
However, sitting closely behind Racers Edge Motorsports by six points is BimmerWorld’s #94 BMW M4 GT3 driven by Bill Auberlen and Chandler Hull. These two saw an excellent finish in Race 2 at VIR—a strong finish, or even win, by BimmerWorld at the Glen could tie them up with the Acura. The #13 Triarsi Ferrari (Justin Wetherill/Ryan Dalziel) grabbed a triumphant and hard-fought Race 1 win at VIR last month which brought them closer to TR3 Racing’s 54 points. This push netted them 51 points tota and brought them up to seventh in season points—a podium finish or two at the Glen could leap frog them past both TR3 Racing and DXDT Racing’s 56 points.
Also vying to gain points past the season’s halfway mark are the teams of RealTime Racing (#43 Acura NSX GT3 Evo22) with Erin Vogel and Michael Cooper, who finished in the upper quarter of the pack at VIR. Zelus Motorsports will be on-hand with their #88 Lamborghini Huracan with Jason Harward and Madison Snow, as well as #91 for Jeff Burton and Corey Lewis, and have a hard fight ahead. Ian Lacy Racing currently sits 10th in points for the season with their #12 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 (Frank Gannett/Drew Staveley), and has shown great pace since NOLA. A podium finish or two at the Glen could leap-frog them ahead of several other teams in the championship.
Sadly, ST Racing is out for Watkins Glen due to supply chain issues for new parts after their crash at VIR in the #38 BMW M4 GT3 (Samantha Than/Nick Wittmer). But we’ll see them back in action at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa protected by CrowdStrike July 28th through the 31st with their European chassis.
Before VIR, the two teams competing in the Am class split the season with two wins in Sonoma going to the AF Corse (#61 Ferrari 488 GT3) team of Jean-Claude Saada aad Conrad Grunewald. The NOLA top podium spots went to the (#23 Ferrari 488 GT3) Triarsi Competizione co-driven by Onofrio Triarsi and Charlie Scardina. However, after Triarsi Competizione grabbed the Race 1 and 2 win at VIR, they’re now in the lead in season points.
Tickets are now available. The weekend schedule, live timing and scoring, and session reports are available at gt-world-challenge-america.com. Live race streams are available free on YouTube (GTWorld) and Twitch (SROMotorsports).