The Squadra Corse Ferrari completed a weekend sweep with its second overall and Pro Am class triumph starting from the pole Sunday in the second visit for the SRO GT World Challenge America series to the Circuit of The Americas.
Pro-Am. After Rodrigo Baptista started on pole, Martin Fuentes needed only three laps to run down and pass the overall leader following the pit stop, when he took over for Baptista in the No. 1 Squadra Corse Hublot Ferrari 488 GT3. Fuentes led the rest of the way, winning by 7.903-seconds over Silver driver Shelby Blackstock in the 42-lap, 90-minute event.
Baptista started on the pole, but was beaten into Turn 1 at the start by another competitor. He ran second for the remainder of 53-minute stint before turning the car over to Fuentes during a quick pit stop.
It was the fifth class victory – and third overall – for Squadra Corse, with the team also capturing both poles. After 10 races, Fuentes and Baptista hold a near-insurmountable 49-point lead (198-149) in the Pro Am class entering the final weekend.
“The most important thing for us was to have a fast car,” Fuentes said. “I know the circumstances were bad for the Mercedes team (which missed the race due to a family emergency), but we were just focusing 100-percent on getting the car faster and faster. Rodrigo did a great job all weekend, and the team did a great job. I’m just impressed and thankful for every one of the guys. Now, Rodrigo and I have come to the lead of the championship again.”
The outstanding results came despite a struggle in opening practice on Friday, when the Ferrari was fifth in class during the opening session.
“It was tough on Friday, and we were a bit lost,” Baptista admitted. “But the guys did a great job and the car was really good in qualifying. It was also really good in the first race – like today. It wasn’t easy to drive. The car was moving a lot, but it was quick. Everyone on the whole team did a great job, so I’m really happy for them.”
GT Sports Club. Mark Issa took the lead on the seventh lap in the No. 31 TR3 Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 and led the remaining 12 laps to win the GT Sports Club America race. The Sports Club competitors ran during the opening 40 minutes of the GT World Challenge America event.
This was Issa’s third GT3 victory in four races after taking second in the Saturday race. It was also the 2019 Ferrari Challenge Coppa Shell champion’s second overall Sports Club America victory since joining the series at the recent weekend at Virginia International Raceway, coming off an incident in testing earlier in the season.
“I wish you could see the smile on my face under the helmet and under the face mask,” Issa said. “When I’m out there, I’m smiling the whole time, with the guys behind me pushing, and I’m chasing the guys in front of me. It’s a most enjoyable time. All the therapy, all the hard work for my foot to get back together is all worth it, in every way.
Schedule. Only one race remains on the 2020 GT World Challenge America season – the Indianapolis 8 Hour on Sunday, Oct. 4.
The race is part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli. The opening three hours of the finale carry double-points to wrap up the GT World Challenge America campaign.