By Tarek Ramchani
The Circuit of the Americas hosted a thrilling Pirelli World Challenge season opener. An action packed Race 1 with great battles on track for overall win and class honors.
Seven Audi R8 LMS ultra cars took part in the 50-minute sprint race. After 23 laps, only one Audi R8 LMS ultra managed to enter the Top 10. Madison Snow driving his #21 Audi ended in a strong ninth overall, not bad for a debut with GMG Racing in the demanding PWC series.
GMG Racing team owner James Sofronas battled well in the middle of the GT pack. The driver of the #14 R8 LMS ultra ended in thirtneeth place overall.
Mike Skeen who qualified well taking a very strong fifth place, was penalized. The CRP Racing Audi driver had to start from the rear. Mike Skeen bounced back well and took sixteenth place.
Alex Welch with the #76 Audi from GMG Racing was twenty-fourth. Drew Regitz driving the #19 R8 LMS ultra was thirty-second.
Bad luck hit the remaining two Audis, both forced to retire very early into the race with technical issues. First it was Guy Cosmo who retired in the second lap with his #23 R8 LMS ultra. A lap later it was the turn of Jeff Courtney and his #99 Audi to retire.
Overall race victory went to Ferrari factory driver Oliver Beretta with the #61 Ferrari 458 GT3. Ryan Dalziel took second place driving the #31 Porsche 997 GT3-R. Johnny O'Connell gave Cadillac a strong debut with a podium behind the wheel of the brand new Cadillac ATS-VR GT3.
Pirelli World Challenge race 1 results are here.
The second race is set for Saturday afternoon at the beautiful COTA circuit. We wish the best of luck to all Audi teams and drivers.