Ferrari teams took first and second in their respective classes in Saturday’s SRO GT World Challenge America opening race at Virginia International Raceway.
John Megrue and Bill Sweedler won the Am category, while Martin Fuentes and Rodrigo Baptista took second in Pro-Am and third overall for Squadra Corse in the 90-minute race.
Am. John Megrue, who currently leads the Trofeo Pirelli Am category in Ferrari Challenge competition, and veteran Bill Sweedler cruised to the Am victory in the No. 31 Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO. Making his GT World Challenge America debut, Megrue had contact with a car in another class on lap six but was able to continue with minor right-side damage.
Megrue took the lead after the Am class leader tangled with another entry before turning the machine over to his co-driver Sweedler.
Sweedler found himself with two other competitors lined up behind the pace car when the caution flag waved following his pit stop. He managed to keep steady lines while holding off the faster cars for several laps, and then held his own for the remainder of the race. He finished sixth overall on the way to the Am class victory.
Pro/Am. Starting fifth, Martin Fuentes worked his way up to third overall and second in class before pitting the No. 1 Hublot/Alpha Prime Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO. Baptista took the overall lead following his stop as a full-course caution waved when the Pro-Am leader lost power.
However, the safety car situation allowed the challengers to catch up to the new leader, but Baptista took the green flag with 37 minutes remaining lined up behind three lapped competitors. Baptista got caught behind a lapped car, allowing two competitors to eventually get by.
Baptista took third overall, and second in Pro-Am. He will line up sixth for Sunday’s race, third in Pro-Am.
Fuentes turned the fastest lap in Pro-Am of the starting drivers, running a quick time of 1:47.846-seconds on the undulating natural terrain circuit. He managed a clean pass to gain a position on lap 13, and went to third overall on the following circuit on the way to a second place class result to build his championship momentum.
This event ends a four-month layoff for the series, which opened in March at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas. Sunday’s 90-minute event is set for 1:45 p.m. ET. The race will be streamed live on www.gt-world-challenge-america.com, and on the GT World Challenge America Youtube channel.