RECAP: Wright Motorsports Revels in Victory at Sonoma Raceway Season Opener
SONOMA, Calif., (April 3, 2023) – The SRO America 2023 season began for Wright Motorsports last weekend at Sonoma Raceway. The Porsche customer team celebrated multiple visits to the podium including a win in the headlining series, the Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Team veterans Charlie Luck and Jan Heylen concluded the weekend with two top-five finishes in their new No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 R, while newcomers Adam Adelson and Elliott Skeer won the opening round, followed up by a third-place finish in the No. 120 Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“It was a great opening weekend for our team,” said Team Owner John Wright. “Charlie, Jan, and the 45 group had a great debut with their new car. Two top-five finishes is a great result, and lots more has been learned about this platform. Adam and Elliott jumped into the big leagues and did a fantastic job racing against more experienced veterans. They had a great opening weekend to the season, and we’re looking forward to the next rounds of races.”
Adelson started GT America race one from pole position, sliding into second behind Memo Gidley on the start, in an effort to keep the car clean and save the tires for a later battle in the race. He maintained position throughout the race, putting up a strong fight in the final laps for the lead position. In the end, he earned a second-place finish in his opening race of the weekend.
By the strong performance the previous day, Adelson again started race two from pole position, immediately pulling away from George Kurtz and creating a gap over the competition. He expertly raced clean and consistent laps throughout the second race, staying up front. He drove the No. 120 Porsche 911 GT3 R to victory, celebrating his first GT America series win of the season. A post-race penalty was issued to the No. 120 for a mechanical issue, but the team still took great pride in the performance of the new addition to the program.
GT World Challenge America
Adam Adelson had a strong opening qualifying session, setting the No. 120 Porsche up to start from second place overall. He tucked into second place overall as the field charged into turn one, again with the strategy to keep the car and tires clean for a fight in the final laps of the race. He held onto the Pro/Am class lead until the completion of his stint. He pitted during the mandatory 10-minute window and handed the Porsche off to Skeer to run the final 43 minutes of the race. Skeer joined the race in second place overall, still holding onto the top spot in class. He took the checkered flag with a several-second lead over Colin Braun’s Mercedes, starting the season off with a well-earned victory at Sonoma Raceway.
Charlie Luck took the green flag for race one from tenth place in the No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 R, gaining a spot at the start of the race. An early caution and restart set the Porsche back to sixteenth overall, but Luck kept his head down, pressing on to regain precious ground. He completed his stint within fighting distance of the top ten, handing over to Jan Heylen at the halfway point. Heylen started his stint in a great battle with the Mercedes of Adam Carroll, making the pass up the hill between turns two and three. He closed out the race in fourth in the Pro/Am class, earning valuable points for the duo.
In race two, the pro-ranked drivers started the race, with Elliott Skeer and the No. 120 taking the green flag from fourth place, and the No. 45 Porsche of Jan Heylen in seventh. Skeer opened the round in a tight battle with the No. 38 BMW of John Edwards, while Heylen raced hard with the No. 16 Porsche of Spencer Pumpelly. Both Wright drivers took advantage of the attrition of their competitors, climbing the ranks to run third and fifth before the end of their stints. Adelson took over from Skeer and Luck jumped in after Heylen, and both put on a master class of maintaining position through clean competition as they raced to the checkered flag. The No. 120 once again returned on the podium, finishing in third place with the sister No. 45 Porsche right behind.
The GT America and GT World Challenge America championships next race in New Orleans at NOLA Motorsport Park, April 28-30.
Charlie Luck // No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 R
It was big learning weekend for all of us, and we still have some development to do on the new car. We’re trying to get the straight-line speed and understand how to set the car up. Two fourth-place finishes is okay, but not where we want to be. We learned a bunch and we need to keep working hard on it.
Jan Heylen // No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 R
It wasn’t the perfect start to the season. We could have done a little better in qualifying, so that’s something we need to work on. Overall in general, we’re just missing a little bit of speed. It seems like there are some cars out there that have a little bit more of top speed than us. It’s a new car and there’s lots to learn. We had a good recovery after qualifying and scored some good points for the season. I really enjoyed all of the battles I had. Charlie did a good job. We had very little time in the car, so he is still getting used to how the car drives. You want to come away with wins, but that’s wasn’t in the cards for us this weekend. It was a strong weekend, and Charlie had a really strong stint in the second race. We’ll be back in a few weeks and do a little better.
Adam Adelson // No. 120 Porsche 911 GT3 R
What a crazy series to be participating in. I can’t believe that I put it on the front frow of the whole field yesterday. I’m ecstatic. The entire performance of everybody involved, including the team and Elliott, of our engineer, Pat. Special thanks to John Wright. Special thanks to my mom because every time she comes to a race weekend, I seem to win. I’m itching to get back in the car even though I’ve only been out of it for ten minutes.
Elliott Skeer // No. 120 Porsche 911 GT3 R
It’s our first weekend in sprint racing in GT3, and I’m back with my family team. It’s safe to say I’m a kid in a classroom, learning every single lap I’m out there. This is a class I’m happy to be in, with the best possible teachers I could have around. We both grew so much. Realistically at the end of the day, we learned everything we could. We made little mistakes and learned from them. To come out with a win and third place, you can’t ask for any better. I’m incredibly proud of Adam and everything he’s done. It was a hell of a first weekend, drinking from a firehose. I feel like I did what I could out there as well. I’m incredibly happy and grateful for the opportunity to be back out there with Adam.