Austin, TX – Kris Wilson, of Monument, CO, won the Round 1 GTS race recording his first career Pirelli World Challenge victory at the Circuit of The Americas, and the Nissan Grand Prix of Texas brought to you by Motul. Andrew Aquilante of Chester Springs, PA and Dean Martin of Westland, MI finished second and third respectively on the day.
Wilson, driving the No. 07 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT4 started from pole but was slow off of the standing start and was passed going into Turn 1 by Martin, who started second, driving the No. 50
Rehagen Racing/Picture Cars East Ford Boss 302. Aquilante, in the No. 32 Calvert Dynamics/Phoenix Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302 started third and followed both Martin and Wilson out of turn 1.
By lap 3, Wilson started to reel Martin back in, with Aquilante in close pursuit and on the bumper of the No. 50 Ford Boss 302. On Lap 4, Wilson passed Martin through turn 8 to take the lead with Aquilante almost making the pass for second on the exit. From there, Wilson gained on both Martin and Aquilante leading both by over a second. Aquilante continued to press Martin and on Lap 10 he passed to take over second.
From there on out, Wilson maintained control and wasn’t pressured by Aquilante to take the win.
“It’s been 20 years since I did a standing start and obviously Dean (Martin) has been doing this for a couple of years now,” said Wilson.”It was a great race and the Pirelli tires are awesome. I really like how they stay under you. I’m really happy for Aston Martin TRG Racing.
“I was a little bit concerned on the start as I haven’t done a standing start for a couple of years. But it ended up going well and I got in behind chasing Dean and Kris off the start,” said Aquilante. “I just hung in there and Dean wore his tires down a bit and it allowed me to get by him. I tried to chase after Kris but he kinda lit the afterburner and that was that.”
“I got a great start, but I knew Kris was going to be coming,” said Martin.”I knew he was going to be fast. I wasn’t watching my mirrors but waiting to see him beside me sooner or later. About 10 laps in I started to loose the backend of the car, and I was really weak just after the esses and both these guys were really strong through there. I knew Andrew was going to get a run on me and I was just managing it when he got there and I was just going to give it to him and let him go and try to maintain my tires and then attack with five laps to go. I played the strategy out and managed to get pretty close in the end but boneheaded through turn 11 and it was really game over at that point with two laps to go was really a killer.
Completing the top five were Kurt Rezzatano, of Phoenixville, PA, in the No. 37 Calvert Dynamics/Phoenix Performance Ford Mustang Boss302 in fourth and Ben Clucas, of Northhampton, England, in the No. 36 Kinetic Motorsports/Kia Racing Kia Motors America Kia Optima
in fifth. Clucas was awarded the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger Award for gaining four positions during the race.
Rezzatano was awarded the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award for gaining two positions off of the standing start as well as the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race Award. Clucas’ teammate Mark Wilkins, of Toronto, ON, in the no. 38 Kinetic Motorsports/Kia Racing Kia Motors America
Kia Optima was awarded the Cadillac ATS-V Move of the Race for his pass to sit seventh in the race.