Koch and Morad win PRO Class Debut
Kurtz and Braun Cruise to PRO-AM Victory
Race One Results
Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS Race One at VIRginia International Raceway featured a few bumps and bruises but remained green as drivers fought for points and pride. In the PRO Class Kenton Koch and Daniel Morad proved they belong taking home a win in their debut as teammates for TR3 Racing. In the PRO-AM Class, George Kurtz and Colin Braun kept their win streak alive as they paired their class win from the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a Race One win today.
Kenton Koch in the No. 9 TR3 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 had a lovely drive around the circuit as he led the entirety of his stint before passing off to Daniel Morad. Not without issue, Koch stopped early in the pitlane before finding his way to the TR3 pit box.
Morad joined the race door-to-door with Auberlen and Jan Heylen in the No. 45 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. On his out lap, Morad encounterd equipment issues in the cockpit that forced his TR3 Racing machine off the track. This opened the door for Auberlen, who took over for Chandler Hull in the No. 94 BimmerWorld MBW M4 GT3, and quickly built a two-second lead. However, Auberlen would have an off minutes later and Morad would regain the lead and keep a firm grip through to the checkered flag.
Seth Lucas and Trenton Estep in the No. 53 MDK Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R earned another third-place finish. The duo may not be the flashiest pairing but they’ve become a reliable entry to earn a podium. Manny Franco and Alessandro Balzan in the No. 21 Conquest Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 followed in fourth with Eric Filgueiras and Steven McAleer in the No. 28 RS1 Porsche 911 GT3 R finishing fifth.
Ashton Harrison and Mario Farnbacher in the No. 93 Racers Edge Acura NSX GT3 had a rough ending to an otherwise quiet race. The final 25 minutes of the race saw Farnbacher go wide into a turn causing him to drop a tire where a piece of the car went flying off and cutting a tire sending him into pit lane for an extra pit stop. They finished sixth in class.
“First of all the three-stop strategy was fabulous. Great call by Kenton,” Morad said. “No seriously, TR3 did an amazing job. We were limited in our practice time. Kenton got maybe six laps before the race. It was a little bit adversity filled but we delivered the win.”
George Kurtz didn’t have any formal foe around him for his stint as he rolled off the line in the No. 04 CrowdStrike by Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3 as the only PRO-AM entry on the front two rows. Kurtz was pacing PRO Class competitors as he put more than a 15-second gap between him and Samantha Tan who ran second in class at the time.
Colin Braun had a clean handoff from Kurtz and settled into the lead. Neil Verhagen looked like he had been in the ST Racing BMW all season as he made himself right at home chasing down Braun. Verhagen finished the race three seconds behind Braun but had over an eight-second gap to Dalziel.
Running third was the No. 33 Triarsi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3 of Justin Wetherill and Ryan Daziel. The teammates steadily moved up the field from their ninth place starting position. In the race of attrition, Wetherill and Dalziel kept their car and drove clean to earn their first podium finish of the season.
The No. 007 TRG Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 took a few hits while Derek DeBoer was in the cockpit however DeBoer was unphased and pushed forward to hand off the car to Valentin Hasse-Clot who brought the TRG Aston Martin in fourth. They were followed by the new driving pairing of Anthony Bartone and Adam Christodoulou in the No. 43 RealTime Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in fifth. The jumped into the PRO-AM Class from the AM Class making this the team’s first top-five finish.
“It's great, you know we just try to keep the momentum going,” Kurtz said. “ We struggled to get the car where we needed it to be. This morning it looked a little bleak, but we got it where we needed to be to get the win. It's an honor to drive with a guy like Colin.”
Race Two takes place Sunday, June 18 at 3:10 p.m. ET. Fans can follow progression with Griiip Live, live timing. The studio makes it easy to follow class battles, lap times, and pit strategy for the five SRO America series. Stream the race live on the YouTube page, GT World or join the conversation on Twitch with Daniel Gilligan.