This weekend at Road America, Wright Motorsports reclaimed the points lead in the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS Pro/Am class. Charlie Luck and Jan Heylen produced a stout performance in the No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 R, earning a third and fourth place finish in Rounds 9 and 10 of the championship.
“Our goal heading into this weekend was to close the gap in the points,” said Team Owner John Wright. “We not only did that, but we took back that lead from the Crowdstrike Mercedes. The competition was tight this weekend, but our guys really fought for this one. It’s great to be back on top, but we have to be more vigilant than ever to stay there.”
Despite the mixed weather conditions leading up to the qualifying sessions, the Wright Motorsports Porsche clocked in admirable lap times, setting Am-ranked Luck up to start from third place in Saturday’s race one and Pro-ranked Heylen to start from fourth on Sunday.
The start of race one tested many of the competitors, as contact between two cars near the front of the field forced many entrants off course to avoid calamity. Luck expertly avoided the wreck, unlike the championship leader, the No. 04 Mercedes AMG GT3 of George Kurtz. With the incident later cleared, Luck restarted the race from second place in class and sixth overall, behind the No. 23 of Charlie Scardina. After a strong battle with Ashton Harrison in the No. 93 Acura, Luck closed out his stint in third place, and co-driver Jan Heylen jumped in the No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 R to conclude the race. Heylen raced hard from his first lap, closing the gap to the second place car of Mario Farnbacher ahead. In the end, the Porsche’s power was no match for the Acura. With the pre-established balance of performance in the Acura’s favor, Heylen kept his race clean and stayed patient while Farnbacher and Bill Auberlen fought side-by-side for top position. The battle of the leaders allowed Jan to close his gap and contend for second place, but in the end, the clock ran out and he finished third, getting a valuable boost in championship points.
Energized by the strong finish the day before, Heylen took the green flag on Sunday, eager to again make the most of the 90 minutes of racing ahead. The front end of the field went three-wide and then crowded into turn one on the start. Heylen squeezed through to come out in second place, holding off heavy pressure from Bryan Sellers in the No. 08 Mercedes AMG GT3. The Acura of Mario Farnbacher led the pair, riding high on the momentum of the previous day’s race win. Little action happened in the first half of the race, as the field spread out across the four-mile circuit. Lady luck again shined on Wright Motorsports, as the championship contending Mercedes of Colin Braun suffered a bodywork issue, forcing the car to pit and lose valuable track time as it underwent repairs.
Heylen closed out his stint in second place, pitting during the mandatory window to pass the torch on to Luck. The Am driver joined the race ahead of the No. 08 DXDT Racing Mercedes of Scott Smithson, and the two raced nose-to-tail for the next 20 minutes until Smithson made the pass for second place. Luck then immediately had pressure from Chandler Hull in the No. 94 BMW, who took the position, resulting in a fourth place finish for the Wright Motorsports squad. The strong finish over the No. 04 Crowdstrike with Riley Motorsports Mercedes brought the Wright duo back to the top as the points leaders, unofficially holding two points over the No. 93 Acura of Ashton Harrison and Mario Farnbacher.
The battle for the Pro/Am title remains tighter than ever with just two events remaining. Sebring International Raceway will host the final doubleheader of the season, September 23-25. The 2022 season will conclude at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 8 Hour, October 7-9.
Charlie Luck // No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 R
Overall, we had a good weekend. We didn’t finish quite as high as we wanted to with a third place yesterday and a fourth place today. We made up some points so we’re a few points into the lead right now. More importantly, I’m looking forward to Sebring. That’s a really good track for our car. We’re still down on power compared to the Mercedes, BMW, and Acura, so I think we got out of here in really good shape. If you had asked me if I’d be happy coming out of here with the points lead, I’d say yes. Also, wished we had a little bit more in the tank so to speak. We are ready to go to Sebring. I wish it was tomorrow.
Jan Heylen // No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 R
It was a really good points weekend for us, I think that’s the positive. Charlie had a strong qualifying session and his pace was really good. Overall, it was a good weekend with a Balance of Performance that was not favourable to us. For us to finish where we did and to make up points just shows that we have a good team and that Charlie bringing his A game. I am looking forward to coming to the track again knowing that we have a chance to win again. It’s been a long time.
Source. Wright Motorsports