Sonoma In Numbers: A Look Back at the Opening Round

Sonoma In Numbers: A Look Back at the Opening Round

The Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS championship kicked off the 2024 season at Sonoma Raceway, with the California hills serving as the perfect backdrop for an exhilarating opening round.   

Although the start to the 2024 campaign came with some additional challenges, the action witnessed on track across both 90-minute races showed great promise for the emerging storylines and championship implications.  

With five different manufacturers currently in the hunt for vital points, with another two entering the mix soon, it’s clear that the competition will only continue to get more fierce as the year progresses and the margins for error will shrink. 

Mercedes-AMG currently leads the Global Manufacturers Championship, adding an extra 504 points to their tally following Race 1 and Race 2. BMW sits in second, collecting 378 points in the opening round. Third-place Aston Martin walked away from Sonoma with 90 more points in their pockets.  
The points battle will continue to take shape as the Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia field sets off to Sepang International Circuit for their opening round from April 19th to 21st. After that, the Fanatec GT World Challenge America and Europe championships will run simultaneously on the weekend of May 3rd to 5th for their respective third and fourth rounds. The America division will be taking on Sebring International Raceway, with the European field heading to Brands Hatch.  
Before looking ahead to what’s still to come, it’s time for one last trip down Sonoma’s memory lane. 

  • Wright Motorsports clinched back to back wins with Adam Adelson and Elliott Skeer showing their dominance early on in their debut Pro Class campaign. The No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche 992 GT3 R will be the one to watch as the current leader in the standings.

  • Similarly, CrowdStrike by Riley had an exceptional start to the season in the Pro-Am Class, with George Kurtz and Colin Braun also securing double victories. The 2023 Champions were quick to return to their winning ways in their No. 04 Crowdstrike by Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3, and they will be keen to keep the momentum going.  

  • In the Pro Class, Varun Choksey and Bill Auberlen claimed two second-place finishes with their No. 28 ST Racing BMW M4 GT3, with Racers Edge Motorsports’ Zach Veach and Luca Mars completing the podium with the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 Evo22. 

  • ST Racing saw the same success in the Pro-Am Class, with another two consecutive second-place finishes for Samantha Tan and Neil Verhagen in the No. 38 BMW M4 GT3. Meanwhile, Turner Motorsport took third place in the opening race with Justin Rothberg and Robby Foley in the No. 29 BMW M4 GT3. In Race 2, it was DXDT Racing’s Bryan Sellers and Scott Smithson who finished third in the No. 08 Mercedes-AMG GT3.

  • Philip Ellis emerged as one of the standout performers of the weekend in the No. 91 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, earning the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap in Race 2 with a time of 1:32.336, and the Super Fuel Hard Charger Award after moving up six places in the field.

  • Colin Braun posted the fastest race lap of the weekend, with a time of 1:32.119 in Race 1. However, it was Elliott Skeer who set the quickest time overall, with a rapid flying lap time of 1:31.783 that earned him pole position for Race 2.

  • The fastest Gold-rated driver at the event was Colin Braun, with the quickest Silver-graded driver being Elliott Skeer, while George Kurtz was the quickest Bronze with a time of 1:33.870.

  • A total of 56 laps were completed in Race 1, with 57 completed in Race 2. Additionally, all but one car finished on the lead lap in both races.

  • The 2024 season continues in just a couple of weeks at the historic Sebring International Raceway, taking place from May 3rd to 5th, for the third and fourth rounds. The event will bring exciting new ventures, with teams such as MMG and RS1 set to take to the track in their new Porsche 992 GT3 R entries, while DXDT Racing will debut their two Corvette Z06 GT3.R machines.