- Gidley, TKO Motorsports wins in the SRO3 Class
- Ross Chouest claims the win in GT4
Avondale, Louisiana - The GT America powered by AWS kicked off the action on Saturday afternoon with their first race of the weekend. The 40-minute event was nothing short of action-packed, as drivers pushed their limits and their luck around the Louisiana circuit.
Memo Gidley started on pole position for Race One on board his No. 101 TKO Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3, and wasted no time speeding off the line as the green flag waved. It didn’t take long for a bit of argy-bargy to emerge at the forefront of the field, as Adam Adelson tried to muscle his way through the pack in the No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
As the halfway mark of the race came and went, Gidley had established a 5-second lead over the No. 27 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Jason Daskalos. With a clear track ahead of him, Gidley was able to speed into the distance and never look back. However, it was a different story for the remaining podium positions, as Daskalos and Anderson were battling neck-and-neck for the entirety of the race, separated by less than half a second at times.
Knowing that tire degradation would come into play towards the final stages of the race, Daskalos strategically began to try to back Adelson up and allow Anthony Bartone to join the battle in his No. 427 RealTime Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, forcing Adelson to focus on looking in his mirrors instead as the hunter became the hunted. With just two minutes remaining, Bartone pulled off a daring move down the inside of Adelson to swipe third place away, with George Kurtz jumping in at the last second to get a run on Adelson and challenge the pack on the final laps. However, he and Bartone collided a few corners later.
Gidley crossed the finish line to pick up the win in Race One in dominant fashion. Daskalos held on to second place, with Adam Adelson completing the podium in third.
“It’s a surprise,” said race winner Memo Gidley at the podium. “ We worked very hard, we did a couple days of testing here and I never gelt like we were quite right. It wasn’t until qualifying this morning that I thought we nailed it . And then it was just going out there and clocking consistent laps. I had to get through traffic as quickly as possible. It’s awesome for TKO Motorsports, I’m living the dream and I hope everyone out here is doing the same.”
Elias Sabo got a great launch from the get-go in his No. 8 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4, but Chouest was not about to let him out of his sights. The NOLA native was chasing him down with all his might, using every bit of the track to inch his No. 50 Chouest Povoledo Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 closer and closer. Dreams shortly turned into nightmares for Sabo as he ran wide and went off in the grass. He managed to regain control and return to the track, but he was sent tumbling down the leaderboard as he lost valuable time.
The fight was heating up behind them as well, with Bell and Coleman going wheel to wheel down the sweeping corners leading into the main straightaway. It was a battle of the Aston Martins, as Coleman was holding on with all his might to keep his No. 69 Archangel Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 in third place ahead of the charging No. 2 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4.
Even one single mistake proved to be costly around this track, as Coleman briefly dipped his wheel onto the grass and went for a little off-roading adventure. As his exit was compromised, Bell took advantage of the situation and snuck past into second, bringing the No. 099 Rotek Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport of Robb Holland along for the ride in third.
New Orleans native Ross Chouest crossed the finish line in first position, to the joy of fans cheering on their local driver. “ It’s really amazing, and I’m fortunate ’” stated Ross Chouest. “ We have a great team and the guys did an outstanding job as always. I’m happy to have my parents here, my family, my wife and my baby Vivien. It’s her first race ever, apparently she’s a goodluck charm so I will have to bring her at every race.”
It was a true photo finish for third place, with Holland and Newell side by side in a drag race to the line. Eventually, Holland claimed the last spot on the podium by a hair, quite literally. Only 0.002 separated both cars as the checkered flag waved. Only Live Timing could truly see who crossed first.
All race sessions are streamed live on the GT World YouTube page. Join Ash Vandelay on Twitch by following the SROMotorsports channel. Vandelay hosts six-hour programs Saturday and Sunday, where she is joined by drivers while chatting with fans and giving an interesting insight into that day's races.
Tickets are on-sale at www.showpass.com/sro-nola with enhanced offerings including the Patriot Car Corral, recently announced car show – NOLA Motor Showoff presented by The Bomb Factory – and trackside camping. Starting at just $10 dollars, it's fun for the whole family with kids 12 and under free with paid adults.
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