- Brutal battles at the front of Pro and Pro-Am
- BimmerWorld secures the Pro-Am win
- ST Racing and Zelus Motorsports win Silver and Am
- Provisional Results
Indianapolis, Indiana - The second half of the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS’ Indianapolis 8 Hour was defined by the battle between the #77 Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 and #71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3, who exchanged P1 and P2 overall multiple times across its running. At one point the #77 had as much of a 3.9 second gap on the #71, though that would be diminished within the final 20 minutes of the race.
During the sixth hour, the pit strategy employed by both teams was a nail-biter. The #77 pitted early while the #71 stayed out to run as quick of laps as it could. In the end, the strategy worked out in the #77’s favor, giving them the lead out of pit row just before the #71 came around on the front straight.
The race also saw its first yellow flag during the 5th hour, when the #1 K-PAX Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 experienced a mechanical failure on the front straight, causing an impact with the walls. Driver Marco Mapelli walked away without issue, and the reset brought on some aggressive moves throughout the rest of the field.
One hour later, contact between #23 Triarsi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 and #63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 led to race control giving the #63 a time penalty for avoidable contact. Not long after, both cars retired.
This allowed the #93 Racers Edge Acura NSX GT3 to inherit P3 in Pro-Am, increasing their chances at the championship, which Mario Farnbacher was able to hold onto for the majority of the latter half.
A brief yellow flag unfortunately caught the #33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the wrong spot at the wrong time—due to not being waved by in this non-emergency situation, it took away its P3 position in Pro, as well as put the team almost an entire lap down on the leaders.
The Silver Cup class #38 ST Racing BMW M4 GT3 maintained solid pace and drove up to third overall and held it comfortably into the sixth hour. After Samantha Tan pitted, she got back into the field in P2 overall, and after another driver change, Nick Wittmer kept the car in a comfortable P9 overall.
The #45 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3-R (991.ii), who led the Pro-Am points chase coming into Indy, saw their championship hopes dashed by a power steering problem early on. The team made a rapid repair in the garage and returned to the track, but were unable to move up beyond P7 in class.
DXDT Racing experienced a close shave and epic recovery: David Askew spun into the gravel at the helm of the #08, but was able to drive right out without the yellow flag unfolding.
Towards the middle of the seventh hour, contact between #04 CrowdStrike with Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 and and #43 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3 in Turn 13 happened after the #43 spun and was smacked by the #04—both went into the pit, only the #43 was able to return to the field.
The #04 came into Indy second in points powered by wins at NOLA, VIR, and Watkins Glen. The team was running strong when Ben Keating was unable to avoid an abruptly slowing car. The body damage was minor, but the radiator was punctured.
Heading into the final hour, dropping track temperatures made for tricky conditions. Fresh tires straight out of the oven didn’t guarantee an easy strategy or blazing lap time, especially considering the noticeably chillier-than-we’re-used-to temperatures.
But still, the final hour was nothing short of wild.
A tough battle between Auberlen and Baumann at the front of Pro-Am lasted all 60 minutes and never cooled down. Wildly, the battle at the front of Pro between the Marciello and Fuoco mix arrived on their rear bumpers and created nothing but havoc—their move between Baumann and Auberlen guaranteed Auberlen’s win in Pro-Am, but gave Fuoco a strong chance at getting the jump on both of them. Some off-track driving and blurry mix of headlights later, and it was Marciello across the line first, followed by Fuoco close in tow, then Auberlen and Baumann.
Further down the Pro-Am running order, the #93 Racers Edge raced ahead to fourth and then third in class just past the sixth hour, Farnbacher at the wheel. They held onto it until the end, earning the championship win.
In the heat of the seventh hour, the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap was reset to 1:22.439 by Marciello in #77 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3.