- Harrison Pulls in Win through Final Turn Pass
- Kurtz Sails Smoothly to Finish Line in First
From the drop of the green flag, cars began swapping paint at Sonoma Raceway for the GT Sonoma protected by CrowdStrike weekend. There was no love lost as both PRO Class and PRO-AM Class drivers pushed for the win from the start, bumping each other out of the way.
Colin Braun in the No. 04 CrowdStrike by Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3 took over the lead a few turns into Race Two. Kurtz brought home the PRO-AM Class win, crossing the finish line first overall. Meanwhile, the PRO Class was a nailbiter with Ashton Harrison in the No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 taking the lead back in Turn 11 and drag racing the No. 21 Conquest Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 of Manny Franco and Alessandro Balzan to the finish line.
Mario Farnbacher flew under the radar for most of his stint with only one bobble that slid him back in his class. It was certainly in the hands of his teammate Harrison that the No. 93 Acura came alive. She lost no time while passing the competition into first. However, at the start of the last lap, Franco made a pass for the lead. It was the final turn, on the last lap, when Harrison made her move to regain the lead for the win.
Seth Lucas in the No. 53 MDK Motorsports Porsche GT3 R 992 crossed the finish line third. His teammate Trenton Estep showed that while the duo may be both young and new to the series, the No. 53 Porsche is one for winning contention. Estep led laps in the PRO Class while fighting amongst veterans of the series in both the PRO and PRO-AM classes.
“I knew it was going to be tough at the end,” Harrison said. “He (Franco) was picking up pace and I was trying to save my tires. I went into the last corner thinking I’m either going to fly straight past him or it’s going to stick. I had like no other options. It worked. I couldn’t believe it worked. I remember hitting the radio button and just screaming so sorry to my crew.”
PRO-AM and AM Class
Braun was on the literal bumper of John Edwards’ No. 38 ST Racing BMW M4 GT3 at the start of the race. The pole-sitting BMW held onto the lead for mere turns before Braun and Daniel Morad in the No. 9 TR3 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 pushed past in a train of their own.
Co-driver Kurtz came out of the pitlane behind the No. 9 of Ghandour but would take over the lead early in his stint. The drivers remained in first and second, respectively through the checkered flag. The No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R made steady progress in the hands of both Elliot SKeer and Adam Adelson to finish third.
The AM Class had a dream weekend with clean racing from flag to flag. The No. 43 RealTime Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Andy Pilgrim and Anthony Bartone continue on their quest for growing the famous drag racing families name in road course racing.
“It’s just incredible,” Kurtz said. “The team did such a great job. We had good pace all weekend. We just had to put it together and get a little luck. Colin did a killer job to put me in the lead. We came out behind the other Mercedes but made the pass to bring home the overall win.”
The Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS takes on NOLA Motorsport Park next. The racing continues from Friday, April 28, through Sunday, April 30. Tickets are now on sale.
STAY UP TO SPEED WITH #GTWorldChAm