AUSTIN, Texas — Weather conditions for race two at Circuit of the Americas were much improved for the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama participants.
The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars took the 3.4-mile, 20-turn circuit for International Sports Car Weekend in the Texas heat and whipping wind. With Yokohama tires firmly underneath them and fans filling the stands, the Porsche GT3 Cup drivers put on a show in their debut weekend at the lengthy Lone Star State circuit.
From the first turn of the first lap drivers were fighting for every inch of the immaculate circuit. EFFORT Racing’s Michael Mills made a bold move in turn one to overtake polesitter Madison Snow for a quick lead. Mills and Snow then exchanged turns at the lead as Mills would beat Snow in the entry of a corner, only for Snow to regain the lead coming out again. Sloan Urry was also in the turn one mix, but made it through safely to duke it out with Mills and Snow.
Before the completion of lap one, Snow made his way around the EFFORT Racing drivers to take the start/finish line for the first of 21 total laps. The Snow Racing/Wright Motorsports driver posted a fast lap of 2:13.883, besting the new track record time set by Angel Benitez Jr. yesterday.
“The race was great,” Snow said. “At the beginning I pulled away I thought it was going to be an easy race, was doing all I could, and all of the sudden Sloan was starting to catch me and I was trying to push harder and harder. I was real fast at times and I was pulling away at times. All of the sudden I looked back and he was gone. He ran out of fuel or had an issue but it was a great victory.”
What Snow thought at first would be an easy runaway race, turned to be tighter than he thought as he noticed the sparkling No. 20 entry of Urry in his mirrors. EFFORT Racing, based in Angleton, Texas, came to play hardball this weekend. The team did not disappoint friends, family and coworkers who came out to support them. Snow led the field the entire race, but Urry gave it his all until the final lap.
“It’s great to get on the podium for EFFORT and their home crowd,” Urry said. “We had a big cheering section, so it’s awesome to be able to put it together for them. Second place is good. We had a run for first, but unfortunately I ran out of fuel the last couple laps.”
Typically a battle that ends only four tenths apart would be the main battle of the day, but in Race Two of International Sports Car Weekend it seemed every driver had mirrors behind him he was trying to keep back. The fight between Mills and Brett Sandberg ended with four tenths between the two, after countless laps of nose-to-tail driving.
For laps two through 13 Mills stayed ahead of Sandberg, but by lap 14 the pressure got to him and Sandberg took over for three laps. By lap 17 Mills regained the lead within the battle and brought it home to the checkers.
“It was a great race,” Mills said. “I love racing with Brett. He’s so clean. It’s professional, we can really battle each other out. It makes it entertaining and fun. Just glad to get on the box. I’m glad Sloan was able to get on second. So happy for EFFORT to get a podium in front of family and friends.”
Craig Duerson of NGT Motorsport and Colin Thompson of Thompson Racing duked it out for fifth position. Duerson ultimately prevailed, but only three tenths ahead of youngster Thompson.