Skeer and Adelson Battle to the Finish Line to Secure Victory, Kurtz and Braun Claim Pro-Am Win During Sonoma Raceway Race 1 Protected by CrowdStrike

Skeer and Adelson Battle to the Finish Line to Secure Victory, Kurtz and Braun Claim Pro-Am Win During Sonoma Raceway Race 1 Protected by CrowdStrike
  • Wright Motorsports, Porsche Claims Overall Win
  • CrowdStrike by Riley sweeps the Pro-Am Class
  • Final Results

The first race of the Fanatec GT World Challenge season is in the books, and what a race it was! From thrilling action to nail-biting strategies, Sonoma Raceway Race 1 Protected by CrowdStrike was nothing short of intense. 

Drivers across the field kept us on the edge of our seats, as the No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche 992 GT3 R of Adam Adelson and Elliott Skeer rose to the challenge and secured the overall win. No. 04 Crowdstrike by Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3 came in second overall, but George Kurtz and Colin Braun claimed the win in the Pro-Am class, to the delight of their CrowdStrike guests who made the trip to Sonoma Raceway to cheer on their drivers. 

Pro Class 

Luca Mars started on the front row in his No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo22, but it was Adam Adelson who charged to the front of the Pro Class in his No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche 992 GT3 R, taking the class lead shortly after the race began. Varun Choksey was also in hot pursuit in the No. 28 ST Racing BMW M4 GT3. 

The trio were all challenging towards the front of the overall field, navigating through the Pro-Am competitors and putting themselves in a good position before performing their respective driver changes as the halfway mark of the race approached. 

However, the Racers Edge Motorsports team had a setback to manage as they were handed a penalty, resulting in Zach Veach needing to serve a drive-through, dropping him down the overall running order. 

Elliott Skeer, who was now behind the wheel of the No. 120 Porsche entry, was quickly making progress and closing in on overall leader Jeff Burton, before going on to complete the overtake for the top spot with 25 minutes remaining in the race. 

From there, Skeer set off on the clear road ahead and never looked back. He continued to strengthen his lead, and claimed the overall and Pro Class win in dominant fashion. 

“Wright Motorsports gave us an unbelievable car,” said Elliott Skeer. “Adam did everything he could during that stint, and he did a brilliant job holding off Luca Mars. It made my job as easy as it could be. I just got in the car and was able to focus on pushing and managing my tires. I just could not be more proud of this team. It's been good and we're just gonna keep it rolling with it.” 

“There's a long way to go to this season, but I really liked the way we started,” echoed Adam Adelson. “Elliott drove a great race. I knew that I had to get around Luca early because he had some good pace even though this is his first year in GT3, he is really impressive. He kept me honest, but I was able to keep it where I put it, and Elliott was flawless in the end.” 

Bill Auberlen also had a strong stint, taking over from Choksey in the ST Racing entry and claiming second position in class in addition to third place in the overall order, a testament to the strong potential of this new teammate pairing. Third place went to Lucas Mars and Zach Veach. 

Pro-Am Class

Philip Ellis started from the very front of the pack after securing the overall pole with his No. 91 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. As soon as the green flag waved, he set off on his mission to establish a substantial gap to the remaining drivers in the field. 

The action was briefly punctuated by an early yellow flag resulting from an off-track incident with the No. 8 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 of Elias Sabo. Still, he was able to resume the race and the green flag running kicked off again shortly thereafter. 

As the pit window opened, George Kurtz was the first to come down pit lane to perform the driver change with teammate Colin Braun in the No. 04 Crowdstrike by Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3. The remaining competitors all followed the same strategy, with the exception of Ellis, who continued to fly around the track in order to further extend the gap before handing over his machine to teammate Jeff Burton a few laps later. 

By the time Burton took over from Ellis and returned to the track, he had a 36 second lead on his hands, but the competitors behind were eager to close the gap as quickly as possible. Colin Braun was rapidly charging forward, setting flying lap times as he closed in on Burton and completed the overtake to swipe away the class lead. 

The battle continued to rage on for the remaining podium positions, with Neil Verhagen in the No. 38 ST Racing BMW M4 GT3 applying pressure on Adam Carroll in the No. 19 w/ Mercedes-Benz of Austin Esses Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, with Robby Foley joining in on the action as well in the No. No. 29 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3. The trio went back and forth, giving each other no room for error as they sought any opportunity to move up the ladder. 

Colin Braun went on to take the checkered flag to claim the opening win of the season for the CrowdStrike by Riley team, while also securing the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap Award and the Super Fuel Hard Charger Award. ST Racing and Turner Motorsport completed the race to finish second and third in class. 

“It's always great to be able to win a home race, and especially with so many guests and CrowdStrikers in attendance” said George Kurtz. “The CrowdStrike by Riley crew gave us a fantastic car. I put my head down and clicked off the laps before handing it over to Colin to get the job done. He was able to reel in Burton and come home in first place. It is always a pleasure to drive with him, I’m looking forward to what’s to come.” 

“George did a great job in that opening stint,” added Colin Braun. “It’s awesome to win in front of our CrowdStrike guests. What a weekend for us so far! Hopefully we can keep it going and take home the win tomorrow as well. It's going to be exciting to see what people do throughout the season. We're just going to try to keep carrying over this performance into each race. We had great pit stops by the crew, and all those little things matter. I am just super proud of this CrowdStrike by Riley team.” 

Let’s Get Racing

The Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS field will return for Race 2 on Sunday, April 7th at 2:15 PM PDT. 

If you can’t make it to Sonoma, be sure to tune-in to SRO’s free live streams all weekend long on YouTube (GTWorld) and Twitch (SROMotorsports) and follow all the action through our social media channels and the event hashtag #GTSonoma.