Class Championships Weigh in Balance Ahead of Indianapolis
Filgueiras, McAleer of RS1 Hunt PRO Title
CrowdStrike by Riley’s Kurtz, Braun Lead the PRO-AM Class
The Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS versus the world-famous bumps of Sebring International Raceway is the showdown needed for a penultimate event of the 2023 season. The points championships have yet to be decided but both PRO and PRO-AM Class drivers have the opportunity to clinch their respective classes ahead of the Indianapolis 8 Hour presented by AWS.
Sebring International Raceway is often considered the proving grounds as its physicality is as well-known as its technicality. The 3.741-mile, 17-turn is as difficult on drivers as it is on the machines they drive. Therefore, while teams may have experience at the Florida track, Sebring is always seen as a bit of a level playing field.
Leading the way is the No. 28 RS1 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Eric Filgueiras and Stevan McAleer. The duo returns to the class atop the Driver Championship with a 19-point lead, cut down after a rough weekend at Road America. The No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 of Ashton Harrison and Mario Farnbacher can relate. The duo was on point for a podium before an incident on track took Harrison and Farnbacher out of contention. They sit second place in the points standings going into a race weekend where they’ll hope to duplicate their 2022 Race One win.
Chandler Hull and Bill Auberlen in the No.94 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT3 turned two stellar performances in Wisconsin into a third-place positioning in the Driver Championship. They sit one point above fourth place. The ever-steady No. 53 MDK Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Seth Lucas and Trenton Estep is fourth in the standings. The duo has fought through weather, drama and incidents to stay in contention in their first PRO Class season.
Manny Franco and Alessandro Balzan in the No. 21 Conquest Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 are coming off back-to-back wins and a single point behind Lucas and Estep. They’ll aim to capitalize on their momentum to push ahead in the championship.
The No. 45 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Madison Snow and Jan Heylen joined the PRO Class for the first time at Road America. While they’re out of contention to advance upward in the points standings, they will add a level of competition to the class, making competitors work harder for their own advancement.
The No. 04 CrowdStrike by Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3 of George Kurtz and Colin Braun lead the PRO-AM Driver Points Championship by 17 points, owning 157 in total. In 2022, Kurtz and Braun finished second and fourth at Sebring International Raceway, respectively. A solid weekend at Sebring would ease the stress in Indianapolis.
The No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Adam Adelson and Elliot Skeer are the drivers in pursuit of the CrowdStrike Mercedes-AMG. In their first season of PRO-AM competition, Skeer and Adelson will lean on the success of their team from previous seasons. Currently third in the points standing is Derek DeBoer in the No. 007 TRG Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3. He is joined by Ross Gun in place of Valentin Hasse-Clot, who is fifth in the Driver standings. The entry has been highly competitive over the season, keeping DeBoer near the top of the championship.
Samantha Tan sits five points behind DeBoer in fourth place. Her teammate Neil Verhagen is seventh in the driver championship; he’ll easily move up in the class with Jan Heylen now competing in the PRO Class and Charlie Luck sidelined due to injury. Tan and Verhagen come into the weekend after celebrating their first win together at Road America. Jeff Burton and Corey Lewis in the No. 91 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 are eighth in the driver points standings. In 2022, the pair nearly missed the podium with a fourth-place finish at Sebring in Race One.
Scott Smithson and Bryan Sellers in the No. 08 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG sit near their teammates in 10thin the points championship. Together the two entries will pull their data to find their first podium of the season.
The No. 33 Triarsi Competizione of Justin Wetherill and Ryan Dalziel head home for the penultimate round. The two drivers are not only Florida residents, but they return to action at the home track of Triarsi Competizione. Finally, the No. 43 RealTime Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Anthony Bartone and Adam Christodoulou continues to gain ground. While the two are out of championship contention, having begun the season in the AM Class, a win could very well be in the cards.
Let’s Go Racing
Sebring International Raceway is set with two rounds of racing for the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS series Sept. 22-24. Tickets are available for purchase with kids free under 16 years old. To follow the race from home, join free livestream coverage on the GT World YouTube page or enjoy our Twitch Watch-Alongs with host AshVandeley at SROMotorsports.
Following Sebring, one final challenge awaits the Fanatec GT grid – the Indianapolis 8 Hour presented by AWS. Tickets are on sale starting at just $20 dollars.