Ferrari opened the SRO GT World Challenge America season with a pair of podium finishes at Circuit of The Americas on Saturday. The event concludes on Sunday with the second race of the weekend with a Ferrari on the front row for the 90-minute race on the 20-turn, 3.426-mile circuit, starting at 1:15 p.m. CT.
Squadra Corse. Martin Fuentes and Rodrigo Baptista opened the year with a steady third-place finish in the Pro-Am class after racing to fourth overall as the experienced duo shared the No. 1 Hublot/Ferrari of Fort Lauderdale/The Concours Club 488 GT3. Fuentes took second in the class on lap 2 and held the position until his pit stop with 49 minutes remaining. The team lost six seconds on the pit stop, costing them one position. Baptista returned to the race in third, and stayed there for the remainder of the event. “Today was a bit different for me, because it was the first time I have driven against my former team,” Baptista said. “But I drove a Ferrari last year at Le Mans, and this car is very similar. The Ferrari is the biggest change for me this weekend, and I am very happy with it so far.” Baptista will start third in Pro-Am in the Sunday event.
TR3 Racing. Ziad Ghandour made his first lap in GT World Challenge America competition an impressive one, quickly taking the No. 24 TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 up to second. He slipped back to sixth by the pit stop at the 40-minute mark, when he turned the car over to Matteo Cressoni. The Italian went on to finish fifth in the Pro-Am class. Cressoni will start Sunday’s race on the outside of the front row, posting the fastest Pro-Am lap of 2:15.917-seconds in Saturday morning’s second qualifying session.
Vital Speed. Trevor Baek and Jeff Westphal took sixth in Pro-Am and eighth overall, sharing the No. 7 Metier Studio/Vital Enterprises/Novus/Sift Flatwater/Cinder Ferrari. Mark Issa and Rich Baek took third in Am competition, placing 13th overall in the 6 Metier Studio/Vital Enterprises/Novus/Sift Flatwater/Cinder Ferrari. Issa took the Am class lead on the fifth lap and held it through his pit stop. One of the final drivers to pit, Issa was running second overall when he turned the car over to Baek. For Sunday, Rich Baek qualified second in Am with a lap of 2:41.838-seconds in the No. 6 Vital Speed Ferrari, while Westphal starts fifth in Pro-Am after a strong finish on the damp track during the morning session.