RECAP: Wright Motorsports Dominates at Circuit of the Americas
AUSTIN, Tex., (May 22, 2023) – The Wright Motorsports Porsches dominated the race weekend at Circuit of the Americas, sweeping both GT World Challenge America powered by AWS victories, and earning an additional three podium finishes at the Austin, Texas- area track. Drivers Adam Adelson and Elliott Skeer won the two headlining races of the weekend, followed by second and third-place finishes by Charlie Luck and Jan Heylen in the No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“It was an excellent weekend for our championship efforts,” said Team Owner John Wright. “We expanded our points lead in the GT World Challenge team championship, and we continued to have a strong performance in the GT America championship as well. Consistency is what wins championships, and we’re well on the way there, thanks to all the hard work from everyone at Wright Motorsports.”
GT America Race One
Rain from the previous night made the track damp for qualifying on Saturday morning, resulting in a tire gamble for Adam Adelson and the team of the No. 120 Porsche 911 GT3 R as they set the starting position for race one. After starting on rain tires and then switching to racing slicks, they set a grid position of seventh place for the afternoon. He maintained position until about ten minutes into the race, when contact between other cars occurred in front of him, and he suffered an unfortunate spin. Able to safely rejoin, Adelson salvaged a seventh-place finish, and was able to set a fast lap to start the following day’s race from second position.
GT America Race Two
Adelson took the start for race two alongside polesitter George Kurtz, but in the opening minutes made the pass and took the lead. A tight battle with the No. 14 of James Sofronas for the lead position ensued, and the pair was joined by Kurtz and Anthony Bartone to create a train of GT3 cars, all vying for position. Sofronas and Kurtz made contact and stopped in turn eight, while Bartone and Adelson held first and second under full course caution. Bartone spun on the final turn as the field charged down the front straight to the green flag, temporarily blocking Adelson as the field drove by. He was able to rejoin in seventh, with all podium hopes seemingly dashed. Not to be deterred, the No. 120 Porsche managed to conduct an impressive late-race charge from seventh in class to third place, then up to second after the race-winner received a penalty. His second-place finish marks his third podium finish in six races, getting one step closer to contending for the championship points lead.
GTWCA Race One
After a strong qualifying session, Adelson and the No. 120 Porsche sat poised to start the 90-minute race from third place, and Charlie Luck started his stint from sixth in the Pro/Am class. Luck gained a position on the start, as Adelson stepped back a spot, and the pair rounded out the top five in class in the opening laps. Luck showed a large amount of grit in his stint, holding off intense pressure from an eager Samantha Tan in a BMW, a car that showed a strong advantage on the Austin circuit. After a ten-minute battle, she eventually gained the position, as Adelson worked his way up to third behind George Kurtz and Pedro Torres. After applying heavy pressure on Torres, Adelson’s intense focus forced his competitor into making a mistake and he took second place. At the halfway point, Kurtz enjoyed a several-second lead on the field, but a full course caution at the halfway point completely erased his gap. The race went back to green after a slight delay, and the entire field pitted for the mandatory driver change. Elliott Skeer took over from Adelson and exited pit lane in fourth overall, and Jan Heylen resumed the driving duties for Charlie Luck, joining three cars behind.
From there, the final half of the race was non-stop action as the professionally ranked drivers stepped in to finish the final 40 minutes of racing. It began with the top five cars racing side by side and nose to tail in a small group, each fighting for the top position. They went three wide into turn one, a battle that removed Colin Braun from contention in turn one. Skeer slid into second place, applying non-stop pressure on the leading Porsche of Trenton Estep. He took the lead in turn one with 35 minutes to go, and charged forward to the checkered flag, earning yet another win for him and co-driver Adam Adelson.
Meanwhile, Heylen stayed close during the intense fighting up ahead, engaged in his own battle for the final podium position with the Mercedes of Corey Lewis. After completing the pass, he continued his run, taking second place from Spencer Pumpelly with ten laps to go. The pairing of the No. 45 Porsche finished in second place behind their teammates, closing out a successful day for Wright Motorsports in the championship.
GTWCA Race Two
Riding high on the momentum from the previous day’s win, both groups of crew behind the Wright Motorsports Porsche were amped up and ready to go on Sunday for race two. Skeer started the No. 120 Porsche from fourth place, and Heylen in the No. 45 just one row behind in sixth. With rain looming on the weather radar, the team knew every lap counted, and they would need to make the most of their time in clear conditions. Skeer made it up to third in the first lap, holding off heavy pressure from Daniel Morad in a Mercedes while Heylen faced a battle with Corey Lewis and his Mercedes while running eighth. The pair kept at it, and after the two leading cars began to face attrition, Skeer took the overall lead. He stayed out front for the entirety of his stint, and Adelson continued the run from the lead after taking over at the halfway point. Heylen continued his charge forward, picking off the competitors one by one.
After the pit stops and driver changes, Charlie Luck immediately started his stint with an exciting battle with Samantha Tan for third in class, while Adelson joined the race from second in class. He quickly took the lead back from the No. 9 Mercedes, and coasted to the checkered flag, earning another victory. Meanwhile, Luck continued his intense run with Tan, putting on one of the best shows the series had seen all year. In the end, he and Heylen kept their position, earning a third-place result, just behind their race-winning teammates.
Both the GT World Challenge America and GT America championships will resume next month VIRginia International Raceway June 16-18, officially marking the halfway point of the title fights. For additional information, visit wrightmotorsports.com.
Charlie Luck // No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 R
This weekend was one of consistency for us. With a second-place finish and a third-place finish, it was a good points race weekend. We learned a lot. I know I did, with my driving and my race craft. Jan did a bunch of work with me, which was super helpful. He also did his typical heroic job of making up ground for us, especially in race one. We’re coming. I feel it.
Jan Heylen // No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 R
It was a good result after NOLA. We needed a good points weekend. I’m happy with how we came back and overall proud of the job the entire team did. It was a really good race. It’s hard to match the straight-line speed of some of the other cars, but our whole effort is what brought us to the front.
Adam Adelson // No. 120 Porsche 911 GT3 R
This weekend was an absolutely incredible effort by the whole Wright team. Elliott has been incredible in coaching me and helping me stay confident and continuing to push regardless of whatever we face. Race two was a pretty straightforward race, pretty I’m super proud of the whole team and Elliott, and its extra special to have my family with me today.
Elliott Skeer // No. 120 Porsche 911 GT3 R
What a weekend. I can’t be prouder of my family here at Wright. I had a wonderful race car all week. The crew did an amazing job giving us what we needed, and the set up was exactly what we needed. I just did my part, Adam did his, and at the end of the day, we accomplished exactly what we set out to do.