Rennsport One’s Eric Filguerias and Stevan McAleer claimed victory Saturday (April 29) in a delayed first race of the weekend for Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS at NOLA Motorsport Park. It is the duo’s second victory in three races, but it wasn’t easy in the final 20 minutes.
“Mario [Farnbacher] got to me pretty easily on the first restart,” McAleer told SRO America’s Amanda Busick after the race. “The track got really difficult late. The two hairpins were dry on the inside, so I could make a defensive maneuver. When I saw Bill [Auberlen] have a run on me, I gave him two choices, on the dry line or the rain line. He just overshot us and we got the over-under.”
Filguerias and McAleer finished .284 seconds ahead of BimmerWorld Racing’s Auberlen and Chandler Hull. Conquest Racing’s Alessandro Balzan and Manny Franco were third, followed by Wright Motorsports’ Adam Adelson and Elliott Skeer. DXDT Racing’s Bryan Sellers and Scott Smithson were fifth.
Sketchy weather was the name of the game at NOLA Motorsports Park. After being dry for qualifying and preliminary races, the heavens opened for the first Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS race of the weekend.
Unfortunately, NOLA Motorsports Park is at the lowest elevation of any major road course in North America (two feet below sea level). Heavy rains and somewhat swampy terrain don’t mix for racing. The track is also known to have issues with standing water. As a result, the start of the race was delayed for over two hours.
By the time the race started, the rain had stopped at the track, but the surface was still wet. Officials mandated a single-file start to cut down on spray.
Once the race started, Filguerias started from pole in his Porsche and the field tiptoed around the 2.748-mile road course. Franco made a move for the lead in turn 13, but was unsuccessful.
Despite the wet surface, the sun was out early in the race. That, combined with the treaded tires sweeping water off the track, led to a dry line quickly developing. In order to avoid an extra pit stop to change from wet tires to slicks, drivers would have to conserve their rubber.
By the time the mid-race pit stops came around, there was a dry line around the course, but there were still plenty of wet spots. Regardless, everyone came in and changed from wet tires to slicks.
Once the pit sequence was complete, McAleer ended up with a 20-second lead over…
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