ALTON, Vir., (June 19, 2023) – Sunday afternoon at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR), the Wright Motorsports race car driving duo of Charlie Luck and Jan Heylen closed out the race weekend with a return to the podium in the Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. The Father’s Day success marked a special occasion for the father and son-in-law duo, as Heylen celebrated his first Father’s Day. Teammates Adam Adelson and Elliott Skeer supported the effort with a fourth-place finish, the team’s tenth top-five result of the 2023 season.
“VIR is always a special racetrack for us since it’s the home track for Charlie,” said Team Owner John Wright. “It’s always great to celebrate here with his ever-supportive home crowd, but for Jan to celebrate a podium with his father-in-law on his very first Father’s Day is a moment for the books.”
The pair of top five finishes in race two lifted the team’s spirits after a challenging trio of races in the World Challenge and GT America powered by AWS series.
While Adam Adelson celebrated a pole position in GT America for race one, his No. 120 Porsche 911 GT3 R fell victim to one of the several race incidents, resulting in an early race retirement. The Wright crew had the car ready to go for the second race of the weekend, in which he started from sixth place. He rebounded from the previous day, earning a fourth-place finish, his fifth of the season.
Race one of the GT World Challenge series fared poorly for the Wright Motorsports squad, throwing various sorts of attrition at the Ohio-based squad, who continued to persist. Podium-worthy performances were dashed, but the team pressed on, earning championship points with seventh and ninth place finishes.
The No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Luck and Heylen had a strong starting position for race two, taking the green flag from third place. The No. 120 of Adelson and Skeer started from tenth, and Skeer propelled the Porsche up three positions in the opening laps. With flawless pitstops and driver changes, the Porsches continued their drive up the field after the halfway point, battling against various manufacturers and teams in their quest for championship points.
The team led the GT World Challenge America Pro/Am championship points headed into the weekend, and although trials were present, the team still earned points that will aid in their quest for another assault on the title. Unofficially, the team still maintains the points lead exiting Virginia. The GT America series will race next on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee in support of the NTT IndyCar Series, August 4-6, while the GT World Challenge America championship resumes August 18-20 at Road America.
It always feels good to come back after a rough day like we had yesterday. I really have to take my hat off to Bobby Viglione and Jan. They worked tirelessly on the car and made it better. We still have ways to go but it’s better. I’m thrilled to have a good third place finish after yesterday. It feels good to be back on the podium.
Nice to be back on the podium after a tough race yesterday. We got some good points but I’m disappointed that we can't compete for the win. Hopefully we'll have some good things to come, and we can do a little bit better at the next race
Talk about a weekend of adversity. It was a tough one any way you look at it. I had a shunt on Friday practice in the morning, which was totally my fault. I was slower than I needed to be for the first two days of testing and all of Friday practice, but come qualifying, Elliott and I both did what we needed to do. Unfortunately, the races didn't go our ways for a number of reasons. But regardless, I'm still really proud of that entire effort by the by the Wright Motorsports team, and the support from Porsche. Even though this is the first race of the race weekend of the season that we didn't walk away with any trophies, this is arguably the weekend that we grew the most as a team and I know we're going to come out guns blazing at Road America.
This was a big boy weekend: GT3 cars at VIR, and it was definitely a new experience that didn’t start out on the best foot. We didn’t have quite the best Saturday you could want, but the team did everything we ever needed to get ourselves sorted for Sunday. We gave it all we had. I’m learning a lot with every single lap I do in one of these cars, and I’m incredibly happy with how Adam drove. At the end of the day, gaining four spots overall in the race and finishing fourth in class is a result we can be happy with. I believe we still have the points lead, so all the work we did early in the year was for a Saturday to happen and still be okay.