The Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS took to Road America for a 30-minute qualifying session. The session is broken into two 15-minute sessions to allow both drivers a qualifying run, setting the grid for both races. Pole in the PRO Class went to local Manny Franco and co-driver Alessandro Balzan while George Kurtz and Colin Braun took pole in the PRO-AM Class.
The 4.048-mile, 14-turn track gives competitors minimal laps to get their machines up to speed. The haste of the session had drivers and machinery on the edge. In the PRO Class, the BMW of Bill Auberlen and Chandler Hull had an impressive save as the car kicked up dirt. The PRO-AM Class saw Elliot Skeer sit out qualifying after a small fire occurred after Adam Adelson’s qualifying run.
Manny Franco in the No. 21 Conquest Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 set the pace for the PRO Class for Driver One Qualifying. Franco took the pole with a 2:03.486 lap time; the time placed him at the top of the charts overall and in the class. Eric Filgueiras in the RS1 Porsche 911 GT3 R will start behind the Ferrari in second. He is followed by Chandler Hull in the No. 94 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT3, who will start third, having set a lap time of 2:03.990.
The BMW was on rails for Hull but in Driver Two Qualifying the car pushed wide out of a turn with Bill Auberlen behind the wheel. Auberlen continued after the rear of the car skidded alongside the wall and kicked up dirt onto the track.
Meanwhile, Alessandro Balzan took his time coming out of pit lane. The methodical move must have given the No. 21 Ferrari 296 an edge as the driver placed the car on the pole for Race Two with a lap time of 2:03.003. After a short visit to pit lane, Auberlen would go on to claim the second position with a lap time of 2:03.294. Mario Farnbacher was third fastest in the PRO Class with a lap time of 2:03.651 in the No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3.
Driver One Qualifying and Race One pole position went to The No. 04 CrowdStrike by Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3 with a lap time of 2:03.791. His lap time placed him second overall. The No. 43 RealTime Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 took second in the PRO-AM Class. Scott Smithson has the No. 08 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 dialed in and will start Race One third in the class.
Following Driver One Qualifying the No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Elliot Skeer and Adam Adelson seemed to have caught fire in the pit lane, which kept the car out of Driver Two Qualifying.
Colin Braun in the No. 04 CrowdStrike by Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3 followed suit to Kurtz taking pole for Race Two. He was the first and only driver to turn a sub 2:02 lap time, he qualified first overall with a 2:01.970. Daniel Morad had an exciting run. Morad momentarily had the No. 9 TR3 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 sideways on track. He recovered with a lap of 2:02.498 and will start Race Two second. Third place is in the hands of Adam Christodoulou in the No. 43 RealTime Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. The local team and Britonian turned a 2:02.786
The AM Class returns with the No. 77 TR3 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Paul Kiebler and Jon Branam entry. The duo ran back-to-back clean qualifying efforts ahead of today’s Race One.
Let’s Go Racing
Race One takes place today, Saturday, Aug. 19 at 3:10 p.m. ahead of the Green Bay Packers game at 7 p.m. CT. The races are streamed live on YouTube and Twitch. Join the half million users on the GT World page and subscribe or join the conversation with Ash Vandelay on Twitch. Race Two takes place on Sunday, Aug. 20 at 2 p.m.