top of page
_SRO May.jpeg

Champions Celebrated for 2023 Fanatec GT World Challenge America

powered by AWS Season

10/11/23 (via Fanatec GT World Challenge America)

The SRO Motorsports America prize-giving ceremony took place at the JW Marriot in downtown Indianapolis following the fourth running of the Indianapolis 8 Hour presented by AWS, which marked the end of the 2023 race season.

The event conjoined all five SRO America race series in celebration, including the Fanatec GT World Challenge America, GT America powered by AWS, Pirelli GT4 America, TC America powered by AWS and Toyota GR Cup North America. The room lit up in red and surrounded guests with championship-winning race cars from various series while the familiar voices of Ryan Myrhen and Amanda Busick hosted the evening festivities. Champagne toasts cascaded table to table while team and drivers were crowned.

RS1 Earn Driver and Team Championship in PRO in Rookie Season
The PRO Class Driver Championship win went to Eric Filgueiras and Stevan McAleer of the No. 28 RS1 Porsche 911 GT3 R. The RS1 drivers took home three wins and four podium finishes over the course of the season. However, those three wins all came within the first three calendar events. The team pushed through various challenges outside of their control and often held on through attrition to fight back to collect the PRO Class Team Championship title in addition to the PRO Class Driver Championship.

Ashton Harrison and Mario Farnbacher withstood an onslaught of bad luck to finish second in the PRO Drivers Championship for Racers Edge Motorsports, narrowly surpassing BimmerWorld who went into the weekend two points ahead of the Acura Team. Third went to the ever-present and consistent duo of Seth Lucas and Trenton Estep. 

DRIVER CHAMPIONSHIP

  • Winner: Eric Filgueiras & Stevan McAleer 

  • Runner Up: Ashton Harrison & Mario Farnbacher 

  • Vice Runner-Up: Seth Lucas & Trenton Estep  

PRO TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

  • RS1 

4/30
_NOLA SRO.jpeg

RS1, Wright Motorsports take NOLA GT World Challenge America wins

4/30/23 (via Racer.com)

After a lengthy rain delay kept the action at bay, the sun finally broke through the clouds to shine down on NOLA Motorsports Park and shake up the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS field for their first race of the weekend. The slippery track surface ramped up the level of unpredictability going into this race, as drivers were faced with the challenge of finding the perfect balance between risk and reward.

PRO class
Despite the slick track conditions, drivers in the Pro class did not hesitate to get their elbows out and challenge for every opportunity. Eric Filgueiras had to fend off an early attack from Manny Franco on board the No. 21 Conquest Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 as he tried to dive down the inside. The leader positioned his No. 28 RS1 Porsche GT3 R 992 to remain in the lead as he began to settle into a comfortable rhythm. As the track continued to dry, Ashton Harrison gradually made up ground and closed the gap to the leaders ahead in the No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 EVO22.

As soon as the pit window opened up, most of the field elected to come down pit lane to hand their mighty machines to their teammates. A full-course yellow followed suit and took a significant chunk out of RS1’s lead and bunched up the rest of the field with a little under forty minutes remaining, much to the delight of Conquest Racing’s Alessandro Balzan as he had just clocked the fastest lap of the race.

Green flag racing resumed with 21 minutes remaining in the race. Mario Farnbacher had a great launch, overtaking Balzan before locking his sights on race leader McAleer ahead. However, the Acura skidded off the track a few corners later and became beached in the gravel, bringing out another full-course caution with 17 minutes left in the race.

As the race restarted with just under 13 minutes remaining, the No. 94 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT3 of Bill Auberlen closed in and settled into second place, hunting down McAleer. Balzan remained right on their tails, not losing sight of second place. With just a few minutes left on the clock, Auberlen made a daring move on the inside of McAleer but ran too deep and compromised his exit, allowing Balzan to retake second place in the closing stages of the race.

It was a thrilling sprint to the finish as McAleer crossed the line to claim RS1’s second race win this season, with Balzan and Manny Franco bringing home second, followed by Auberlen and Chandler Hull in third place.

“We had early conversations after qualifying about the potential incoming rain and how it affects this place,” explained Filgueiras. “I did everything I could to try to build up a gap like we had at Sonoma, but the full course cautions made things tricky yet exciting for us. It was a nail-biter at the end, and that’s why we have Stevan in our car because he is always able to deliver under pressure. This RS1 crew is fantastic, hats off to all of these guys and all the hard work they do. I want to give a special shout out to our fearless leader Justin who is just about to have his first child. This race is for him, Danielle and their family.”

When discussing the closing stages of the race, McAleer added that “I knew the BMW behind me had quite a lot of straight line speed, and I had to wisely choose my approach. The track conditions were difficult, but I knew the two hairpins were dry on the inside so I could go on the defensive around there. When I saw Bill coming off the last corner it was clear that he was closing the gap and ready to make a move. I gave him two choices to attempt an overtake; one on the rain line and one on the dry line, and he overshot it so I managed to pull back ahead. I am very happy to get another win for the team.”

FGTWCA RACE 2 RESULTS

4/1
28-RS1-Porsche-GT3-R-992-GTWC-America-2023-Sonoma-2.jpg

RS1 Porsche Claims Maiden GT World Challenge America Victory In Sonoma

4/2/23 (via dailysportscar.com)

The new #28 RS1 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Eric Filgueiras and Stevan McAleer picked up right where the team left off in their ascent from GT4 America to GT World Challenge America – leading virtually from flag to flag to win Race 1 of the GT World Challenge America round at Sonoma Raceway, California.

Making his first start in a GT3 car from the pole position that he’d won that morning, Filguieras took the early lead into the first few corners in his new type 992 Porsche, followed by Adam Adelson in the older type 991.2 #120 Wright Motorsports Porsche, and Chandler Hull in the #94 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT3. Second-year GT3 driver Hull was determined to continue his strong form off the back of his Asian Le Mans Series GT title over the winter, and he got past Adelson to take second position overall.

Further back, DXDT Racing’s pair of Mercedes-AMG GT3s were having trouble keeping their composure around the undulating, sweeping first sector. Scott Smithson spun his #08 Mercedes up the hill into turn three, but he was able to return to the track. Utah’s Jeff Burton, on the other hand, wasn’t as fortunate – he spun his #91 Mercedes going up the hill out of turn one and spun off at turn two as he clipped a tyre barrier. The Safety Car was deployed after three laps of racing. Burton and Corey Lewis were the first retirements of the race, the damage to their red and black Mercedes was too great to continue.

Off the ensuing Safety Car restart, the #14 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II of James Sofronas had to serve a drive-through penalty – for not having their tyres properly mounted at the scheduled time before the start of the race. Sofronas and Tom Dyer finished five laps down in 16th place.

Up front, Filgueiras went back to work to build his lead over Hull: 3.5 seconds after 30 minutes of racing, and 8.5 seconds by the end of his stint in the #28 Porsche. It was what many had been used to seeing from the past Road to Indy ladder standout from Miami during his run to the GT4 America Silver class titles last season.

After 40 minutes of racing, the pit window opened up with Filgueiras, Hull, and Adelson still running first through third, with George Kurtz in the #04 CrowdStrike by Riley Mercedes fourth, and Manny Franco in the #21 Conquest Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 in fifth. Down in sixth place, Seth Lucas in the #53 MDK Motorsports Porsche 992 was the first car that was able to come in for a compulsory pit stop and driver change.

On the next pass-around, Filgueras brought the #28 Porsche in for its stop and handed the cockpit over to his co-driver McAleer. Once all of the cars had made their pit stops, McAleer was able to preserve the eight-second advantage that he had over the rest of the field.

But there was a change for second position coming out of the pits: Elliott Skeer in the #120 Wright Motorsports Porsche 991.2 was able to edge ahead of Bill Auberlen in the #94 BimmerWorld BMW. Auberlen drove out of the pit lane ahead, before being asked to redress the position due to an unsafe pit exit, and dutifully tucked in behind Skeer.

With the pace of the Pirelli tyres dropping off towards the end of the closing stints, McAleer wasn’t able to pull away from the pack like he did so many times in GT4 America last year – far from it actually, as Skeer was able to bring the margin down over the final minutes. Ultimately, the savvy Scot had enough pace in hand to hold on and take a sensational maiden GT World Challenge America victory for the newest Porsche 911 GT3 R model – and the first GT3 victory for Filgueiras, McAleer, and the RS1 (Rennsport One) team.

“I tried my hardest at the start there to conserve some tyre because of how well Eric had done on the first stint,” McAleer remarked – before embracing his co-driver Filgueiras, and telling him, “we just won a GT3 race!”

“I saw a couple of cars catching me at the end there. I think they were still gonna get to me, but I had saved enough tyre that when they got to me, I was fairly comfortable I could hold them up. It gets greasy out there, and it was a lot of fun holding on.”

“It’s incredible – our first GT3 race ever as a team, driver pairing, and our first win!” Filgueiras added.

Skeer’s late charge to close in on McAleer couldn’t bring them the overall victory, but with a second-place overall finish, he and Adelson picked up the Pro-Am class win in their first GT3 race as a pairing in the previous-generation Porsche.

“It really feels that way,” said Adelson, who said earlier in the weekend that he was ‘born to drive a GT3 race car’ and made a strong first impression in the category.

“This guy right here,” he said, pointing to Skeer, “taught me everything I know about how to drive a car, and that’s ultimately what got us here today. It’s teamwork – Wright Motorsports put up an incredible team effort: World class, they’re a team that can go and compete with anyone, anywhere, and dominate. And I just can’t tell you how happy I am right now! Incredible!”

“We did Dubai [24 Hours] earlier this year, and that was a very good showing,” Skeer said about his team’s preparation for their step up to GT World Challenge America this season. “We just kept the momentum going with that. I kept telling [Adam], you know, going with Wright was making the right choice – I think we’ve shown that it was.”

“This kid just keeps surprising me with [the car] – in GT3 cars, it’s all about the qualifying, and that was definitely him there – I just had to manage,” Skeer recalls about Adelson’s second-place effort in Qualifying earlier in the day. “Now we get to go and do it again tomorrow!”

 

This is Wright Motorsports’ third straight Pro-Am class win at Sonoma after Charlie Luck and Jan Heylen swept the weekend last year.

With an opportunistic move around the outside of Auberlen at the turn nine chicane, Daytona 24 Hours champion Colin Braun drove the #04 CrowdStrike/Riley Mercedes up into third place overall and finished second in the Pro-Am class alongside Kurtz.

The #16 ACI Motorsports Porsche 991.2 of Pedro Torres and Spencer Pumpelly picked their way through the field from 13th on the grid. Torres was eighth at the end of his opening stint, and once Pumpelly got on board, the veteran driver from Virginia quickly made his way through the field to finish fourth overall, and third in Pro-Am – not a bad start for the Tennessee team with the ex-KCMG Porsche chassis.

Auberlen slipped from third to fifth in the final 12 minutes of the race, but in the Pro class he was still able to hold on to second place and maintain 18 points for himself and Hull.

Another hard charger in the race was the #93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo22. Ashton Harrison was mired down in 14th on the grid after getting caught up in a skirmish for track position in qualifying. But the trailblazing Pro-Am champion regained her composure in the race and fought her way up to seventh place at the end of her stint.

Farnbacher took over for the second half and worked his way past the #21 Conquest Racing Ferrari of Alessandro Balzan to secure sixth place overall and the last spot on the Pro-Am podium.

Trenton Estep finished seventh aboard the #53 MDK Motorsports Porsche 992, while Charlie Luck recovered from a spin after the Safety Car restart, and left co-driver and son-in-law Jan Heylen in position to finish eighth in the #45 Wright Motorsports Porsche 992.

Despite a weight break and a power boost handed down before the race, the best that the new Ferraris could manage was ninth from the #21 Conquest Racing Ferrari of Franco and Balzan. The #19 Esses Racing Mercedes (Will Hardeman/Adam Carroll) finished tenth overall, with Carroll putting up a stingy but fair defense of his track position to hold off the #9 TR3 Racing Mercedes (Ziad Ghandour/Daniel Morad).

FGTWCA RACE 1 RESULTS

4/1
1SRO23_SON_3419__FL.jpg

RS1 Dominates Race 1 at Sonoma

4/2/23 (via sportscar365.com)

Stevan McAleer, Eric Filgueiras claim flag-to-flag victory in team’s GTWC America debut…

By John Dagys

RS1’s Stevan McAleer and Eric Filgueiras claimed a dominant win in the opening Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS round of the season at Sonoma Raceway.

McAleer took the No. 28 Porsche 911 GT3 R to a 1.538-second victory over the Pro-Am class-winning No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche of Elliott Skeer and Adam Adelson in Saturday’s 90-minute contest.

Having started from pole, GT3 debutant Filgueiras stretched out into an eight-second lead over the No. 94 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT3 of Chandler Hull prior to the mid-race pit stops and driver changes.

Hull’s co-driver Bill Auberlen was forced to relinquish second by race control after making an unsafe pit exit, which handed the position to Skeer, in one of the several previous-generation Type-991.2 Porsches in the field.

While having closed the initial gap, McAleer controlled the remainder of the race over Skeer to give the Type-992 Porsche victory in its global SRO race debut.

Colin Braun and George Kurtz finished third overall and second in Pro-Am in their No. 04 CrowdStrike by Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, with Braun having gotten around Auberlen with ten minutes to go.

Auberlen dropped to fifth overall at the checkered flag, with the No. 16 ACI Motorsports Porsche of Spencer Pumpelly getting around the veteran BMW driver with less than three laps to go.

Despite dropping several positions late, Auberlen and Hull were still credited with a second place finish in the Pro class.

The No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 of Ashton Harrison and Mario Farnbacher completed the Pro podium with a sixth place overall finish, meanwhile.

After starting from the rear of the 18-car field, Harrison carved her way to run inside the top-ten before handing over to Farnbacher at the halfway mark, who made up further ground, including a late-race pass on the No. 53 MDK Motorsports Porsche of Trenton Estep, who was relegated to seventh.

The lone Am class entrant, the No. 43 Bartone Bros Racing by RealTime Mercedes of Anthony Bartone and Andy Pilgrim, was classified 15th overall.

 

The race saw only a single full course caution due to an accident by Jeff Burton in the No. 91 DXDT Racing Mercedes in Turn 2, which led to the final 1 hour and 16 minutes running caution-free despite several other spins, including one for the No. 45 Wright Porsche of Charlie Luck early on.

Luck and co-driver Jan Heylen rallied for an eighth place overall finish, ahead of the best of the debuting Ferrari 296 GT3s from Conquest Racing’s Alessandro Balzan and Manny Franco in ninth, followed by the Esses Racing Mercedes of Adam Carroll and Will Hardeman, who completed the top-ten overall.

Race 2 is set to get underway Sunday at 2:15 p.m. PT (5:15 p.m. ET) with live coverage on SRO’s GT World YouTube page and on its Twitch channel.

RESULTS: RACE 1

1/26
levitt-ROAR-01-23-071098_01262023.webp

McAleer Begins Daytona Win Defense with Pole-Winning Run

1/26/23 (via IMSA.com)

 

The Scotsman and Co-Driver Eric Filgueiras Will Lead the 46-Car Field in the BMW M Endurance Challenge

By Holly Cain

BMW M Endurance Challenge Qualifying Results

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Stevan McAleer began defense of his 2022 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge win at Daytona International Speedway in fine form Thursday, capturing the pole position for Friday’s BMW M Endurance Challenge that starts the 2023 season.

McAleer, driving the No. 28 RS1 Porsche 718 GT4 RS Clubsport that he shares with Eric Filgueiras, turned the best lap in the Grand Sport (GS) qualifying session of 1 minute, 52.157 seconds (114.268 mph) to secure the Motul Pole Award. It was the Scotsman’s second career pole and first since 2014 in the Street Tuner class.

McAleer will lead a field of 46 cars to the green flag (32 in GS and 14 in Touring Car) in the four-hour race. Starting alongside on the front row will be the No. 59 KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4, following an impressive qualifying run by 16-year-old Luca Mars that came up just 0.038 seconds short of McAleer. NASCAR star Zane Smith – the 2022 Craftsman Truck Series champion – qualified third in the No. 42 Ford Mustang GT4 he will co-drive with NASCAR Cup Series driver Harrison Burton.

“The four-hour race, there’s obviously a lot can happen,’’ said McAleer, a 10-time Michelin Pilot Challenge race winner who insists there are 10-12 cars with a legitimate shot to win. “It’s nice to be at the point end of the field. We won this race last year and our goal is to capitalize and get a good result tomorrow.”

Mat Pombo topped the 14-car Touring Car (TCR) class in qualifying, breaking the previous TCR lap record by more than 1.5 seconds. Pombo’s fast lap in the No. 37 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic FK7 TCR was 1:56.837 (109.691 mph). Tim Lewis was an eyelash slower, qualifying second in the No. 5 KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR at 1:56.925 (109.608 mph). Lewis and co-driver Roy Block won last year’s TCR race at Daytona, the first of three victories for the duo in the 2022 season.

 

Taylor Hagler, the two-time defending TCR season champion along with co-driver Michael Lewis, qualified 10th in the No. 1 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Elantra N TCR.

Pombo is a seven-time Michelin Pilot Challenge race winner and has three career pole positions, including the 2022 season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. He’ll co-drive for the full 2023 season with fellow Atlanta native Ryan Eversley.

“To have back-to-back poles and back-to-back track records is pretty cool,’’ Pombo said. “Really, today was a beautiful surprise because we’ve been focusing on the long runs, so to see we have pace on a short run and the long run really is a testament to the LA Honda World crew and how they’ve developed the car for us.

“I’m looking forward to not only tomorrow but just getting off to a good season start.’’

Also of note, NASCAR standouts Hailie Deegan and 2021 Craftsman Truck Series champion Ben Rhodes, will start eighth overall in the No. 41 PF Racing Ford Mustang.

Friday’s race will stream live on Peacock starting at 1:35 p.m. ET.

10/9 2
bottom of page