Koch, Morad Win Back-to-Back in PRO Class
Kurtz, Braun Win it All in Race Two
Race Two Results
Race Two at VIRginia International Raceway for the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS series brought the weekend to a close on a high note. Koch and Morad swept the weekend doubling up the wins in the PRO Class. In PRO-AM Class George Kurtz and Colin Braun also doubled their winning ways with a first-place finish in Race Two. Kurtz and Braun were the overall winners as well.
Race Two was all about on-track battles as the race nearly went green to checkered without seeing a safety car. Corey Lewis in the No. 91 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 stopped on track early in the race bringing out the only caution period. The car was quickly removed and allowed the race to continue though the No. 91 Mercedes race was over early.
Mario Farnbacher in the No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX led the way for the PRO Class though not the overall field at the start. He battled alongside leading PRO-AM Class entries in an effort to keep the competition far behind. Bill Auberlen in the No. 94 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT3 reeled Farnbacher in over the course of his stint placing the two cars within four seconds of each other. Daniel Morad in the No. 9 TR3 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 pushed past Trenton Estep in the No. 53 MDK Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R to hand over the car in third.
Harrison, the teammate of Farnbacher, found herself in a similar situation on track early in her stint as she fought out-of-class competition trying to keep in-class competition behind her. Hull took over for Auberlen and continued the fight of chasing down the Acura however, a pit lane speed penalty halted his forward movement. Meanwhile, Koch continued the fight for Morad in the No. 9 Mercedes. Eric Filgueiras had an excellent handoff from Steven McAleer in the No. 28 RS1 Porsche 911 GT3 R advancing the team. The No. 53 Porsche fell in class after Seth Lucas took over for Estep in a lengthy pitstop. Manny Franco held position in the No. 21 Conquest Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 after taking over for Alessandro Balzan.
While the class shuffled, Koch worked his way to the bumper of Harrison making a run past her in Turn 3 with 20 minutes remaining. Once past Harrison Koch focused forward to the checkered flag where he would take a second win in the PRO Class, sweeping the weekend. Harrison stayed steady to finish second, a huge improvement from Race One. Filgueiras inherited third after Hull served his penalty and ran a race of his own without class cars around him. Filgueiras and McAleer took the third-place finish, saving the weekend from being without a podium celebration.
“This team has been pushing hard for a long time, and there have been many manufacturers over the years but they’ve found their home with Mercedes AMG," Morad said. "Amazing family, amazing car, amazing co-driver - he’s a friend and now we’re race winners together again.”
Robby Foley started the race from pole in the No. 096 Turner Motorsports BMW M4 GT3. He charged forward in full control of the race pushing to keep Colin Braun in the No. 04 CrowdStrike by Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3 behind him. Neil Verhagen in the No. 38 ST Racing BMW M4 GT3 made his way past PRO Class Farnbacher to chase down Jan Heylen in the No. 45 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. Their battle was the highlight of the opening stint. Verhagen went on to overtake Heylen prior to the driver change window.
George Kurtz in the No. 04 Mercedes took over for Braun and took over the lead from Vincent Barletta in the No. 096 BMW. Barletta fell back to fourth with Samantha Tan in the No. 38 BMW and Charlie Luck in the No. 45 Porsche making up time in pitlane. A small off by Barletta opened the door for the No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Adam Adelson to slide past into fourth. The class of cars began to settle into position as their stint went on, each seemingly well enough spaced from the car ahead to present a challenge.
Kurtz was calm, cool and collected throughout his stint to not only take the PRO-AM Class win but the overall win. Tan challenged Kurtz to keep him honest throughout the race. In the end, the gap from first to second was under a second. Tan pulled a double, double taking home a second, second-place finish. In third, was Charlie Luck who can celebrate Father’s Day with his son-in-law and teammate Heylen on the podium.
“I put as much effort into work as I do racing,” said CorwdStrike CEO George Kurtz. “The guys gave us a great car this weekend. Sam kept me honest the whole time so there was lots of pressure, but we got the job done. It was a big-time overall win.”
Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS clocked out of Race Two and with it the 2023 season crescendo. SRO Motorsport America takes the GT America powered by AWS and Toyota GR Cup North America series to the streets of Nashville next. However, first and foremost the motorsport world turns its attention to the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa from June 29 through July 2.