Wright Motorsports Adds Another Win, Several Podiums at Circuit of The Americas
AUSTIN, Texas (May 3, 2021) – Wright Motorsports spread its wings across three race series and two wildly different weather conditions – wet and drenched on Saturday and clear and sunny on Sunday – during a busy weekend at Circuit of The Americas. The team scored one class win and three additional podiums as it competed in a total of six races, two apiece in SRO America GT World Challenge America, GT America, and IMSA’s Porsche Carrera Cup North America series, at the 20-turn, 3.4-mile road course.
GT WORLD CHALLENGE AMERICA
After a strong start to the SRO America season in Sonoma, Fred Poordad and Jan Heylen continued their momentum in the Pro/Am class of Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by aws. The drivers of the No. 20 Porsche 911 GT3 R finished second in class in both races, and fifth and sixth overall.
In Saturday’s first race, Poordad started fourth in class, eighth overall, and enjoyed a good scrap with the No. 93 Acura and several DXDT Mercedes cars throughout his stint. Despite losing a spot shortly after the start, Poordad hung tough and handed the car off to Heylen, who emerged ready to dice and attack. Shortly after Heylen took over, he made it to third, then second in class by lap 23, and by lap 31 was past the No. 6 Lamborghini Pro class car for fifth overall. Heylen did all this as the weather worsened from cloudy and overcast to a torrential downpour that caused an early red and checkered flag to the 90-minute race. It ensured their third straight class podium and third straight overall top-five finish to start the season.
Heylen started third overall in Sunday’s race two and enjoyed a spectacular start to jump to second. The Belgian tried repeatedly to get past the overall leading No. 33 Mercedes, but the driver made it difficult to do so, running a wide line down the straight. After the driver was warned by series officials, and with Heylen’s persistence, he was able to get past twice on lap 7: once at turn 11 and again at turn 12 after getting run down to the inside portion of the track.
Heylen set sail from there the rest of his stint and turned over the car in the overall lead to Poordad just before the end of the pit window with just over 40 minutes remaining. Poordad lost the overall lead as the competition for the lead heated up, but maintained the Pro/Am lead. After a restart following a caution to clear debris, Poordad lost the class lead in traffic but kept the car planted and focused to secure another P2 class finish after holding off the lone McLaren entered in the field. With another strong points weekend, the duo continue to lead the Pro/Am championship point standings.
Fred Poordad | No. 20 Porsche 911 GT3 R
We can’t be too unhappy about two second place finishes this weekend, although I thought we were good for a first place finish in race two, to be honest. During the race two the full course yellow, I picked up a lot of debri all my tires and I really just couldn't put the hammer down. By the time I got up to speed, the gap ahead of me was just a little too big. But it was a good learning experience. I learned a ton this weekend and the rain and in the dry, so I’m looking forward to VIR and we’ll get better and better.
Jan Heylen | No. 20 Porsche 911 GT3 R
We had another good points weekend, closing it out with a good second race. In race two, I had a really nice battle with the Mercedes in my first stint, and really enjoyed it. Then Fred got in the car he did a really good job holding off the McLaren behind us. We came home with very good points still leading the championship. It was a good weekend overall. Another podium and we’re looking forward to the next one.
Charlie Luck delivered a pair of unplanned but well-executed recovery drives in the pair of GT America powered by aws races at Circuit of The Americas. The driver of the No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 R started Saturday’s wet first race fourth overall, but contact with another car in the slick conditions resulted in him losing valuable track time early on. Nonetheless, Luck put his head down the rest of the race, running some of the fastest laps on track and climbing to a seventh-place overall finish, and second within the Masters class. He did even better on Sunday in a perfectly sunny race two. After again starting fourth overall, he fell back exiting turn one on the opening lap, but quickly rose up the order. After a long caution, his comeback drive was capped off with an excellent pass for third overall and the Masters class lead on lap 11. He finished there to score his third Masters class victory in four GT America races, continuing to keep the SRO3 Masters class points lead.
Charlie Luck | No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 R
I’m really happy with a lot of parts of the weekend. I learned a ton and drove super hard. I also had a couple mistakes in race two. I had surgery on my left foot, and I was braking with my left foot on the warm up lap, and had been running with my right foot all year. Going into turn one, I broke with my left foot and downshifted, which means that the car would not go down into first gear. Therefore, everybody passed me while trying to get it sorted out. So I had my work cut out for me and I worked from the back up to third overall, and position one in Masters, totally giving it all I got. It was exhausting. I learned so much and really am learning how to hustle this new car. Overall, I’m thrilled with the weekend. Sometimes you in and don’t drive your best, and then sometimes you finish third overall and drove your butt off. That’s what happened today. Great weekend.
PORSCHE CARRERA CUP NORTH AMERICA
Wright Motorsports’ trio of Porsche Carrera Cup North America presented by the Cayman Islands drivers entered Austin out of luck and out of position for the weekend thanks to a combination of a challenging Sebring opener and the adverse weather conditions. The rain canceled qualifying for race one, so the trio of Max Root (No. 7 Moorespeed-Wright Porsche 911 GT3 Cup), Hutton McKenna (No. 88 Wright Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) and John Goetz (No. 57 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup) all fought through mixed track conditions in the 45-minute Sunday morning race. Under clear and sunny skies for race two later Sunday afternoon, fortunes improved. Root had his best race of the season, running as high as seventh amidst a five-car battle for fifth place and finishing in eighth overall. McKenna was 12th overall and Goetz fourth in Pro/Am.
John Goetz | No. 57 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
As I had expected it was a challenging pair of races. As a newcomer to COTA I’m still learning the track and the slick conditions in the morning race made it particularly challenging. While not happy with my P6 and P4 outcomes, it was a great development experience and the Wright team did everything on point.
Hutton McKenna | No. 88 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
The first and second race had much different conditions, but I tried to make the best of it. I was hoping for a better result, but with no qualifying session, it made it difficult. Onto the next rounds!
Max Root | No. 7 Moorespeed-Wright Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
Our race weekend at Circuit of the Americas was certainly a character-building one, due to the weather conditions and shortened track time. Having a qualifying session canceled was a bit of a disappointment, but we made the most of it. It was great to be able to run some clean laps and have a strong eighth place finish to close out the weekend. Thanks to the Moorespeed-Wright crew for putting together such a strong car for the weekend.
SRO America heads next to VIRginia International Raceway, June 4-6. The new VIR date is a week earlier than originally announced, due to schedule adjustments within the series following the canceled Canadian Tire Motorsport Park round, which had been set for May 21-23. For series information, visit sro-america.com
The next Porsche Carrera Cup North America weekend is set for June 24-26 at Watkins Glen International. For series information, visit porschecarreracup.us.