Pro-Am. Martin Fuentes managed to avoid an incident in Turn 1 on the opening lap that opened the door to victory for the No. 1 Hublot/Ferrari of Ford Lauderdale/The Concours Club Ferrari 488 GT3.
Entering the weekend with a one-point deficit, Fuentes and Baptista now lead the Pro Am standings by 16 points, 116-100.
Barely avoiding contact when his top-two Pro Am competitors spun, Fuentes ran third overall throughout his stint, pitting as soon as the pit window opened at the 45-minute mark to turn the Ferrari over to Baptista.
“I had a good start, and I was right behind the pole position,” Fuentes said. “I don’t know what happened behind me, but I looked over and saw the rear of the other Mercedes almost touch my mirror. We were so lucky, because I didn’t have anywhere to go. I’m happy we went on to win the race.”
The team lost ground following a pit stop as Baptista was assessed a drive-through penalty for a pit lane infringement. He returned to the race with 30 minutes remaining, and was able to maintain the class lead while placing fourth overall.
“For sure, it’s good for the points and good for the championship, but it wasn’t a nice race,” Baptista said. “The two Mercedes crashed in the first turn, and they touched our car, so our car was a little bit damaged, and wasn’t nice to drive – we were out there alone on the track.”
Baptista will start Sunday’s race from third position and fifth overall.
GT Sports Club America. Making his debut in the category, Mark Issa took a second-place finish in the GT Sports Club America race, run concurrently during the opening 40 minutes of the GT World Challenge America event. Issa was the winner of the GT3 class.
Issa won the pole in the No. 31 TR3 Ferrari 488 GT3. Lacking the top-end speed of his GT2 competitors, Issa fell to fourth in the opening laps. He fought back to gain third on lap 12 and took second on the following lap. He managed to gain six seconds on the overall leader over the final five laps, finishing 9.355-seconds behind.
Schedule. Sunday’s 90-minute event is set to start at 2:15 p.m. CT. The season concludes with weekends at Circuit of the Americas (Sept. 19-20) and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Oct. 3-