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Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Mid-Ohio preview

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Mid-Ohio preview

03.05.2019: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge this Weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge this Weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
 
 
Combined Entry of Nine Mercedes-AMG GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT4 Teams Racing in Two IMSA Series This Weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
 



 
Nine Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams in two different IMSA racing series compete this weekend at Mid-Ohio SportsCar Course, May 3 – 5. The lineup includes two Mercedes-AMG GT3 teams in the GT Daytona (GTD) class of the headline IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race Sunday, and seven Mercedes-AMG GT4 entries for Saturday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race.



Sunday’s race marks the third of the season for the GTD IMSA class. Live television coverage of Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech Championship race begins at 1:30 p.m. EDT.



Third-year and full-season team Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports returns to Mid-Ohio with co-drivers Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen in the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3.



Keating, Bleekemolen and the No. 33 team earned a season-best fifth-place finish in the 12 Hours of Sebring and look for their first podium finish of the season at Mid-Ohio. After a challenging race at Mid-Ohio in 2018, the No. 33 team is cautiously optimistic for a better result this weekend after some recent and favorable IMSA Balance of Performance (BoP) rule changes, including a lighter minimum weight for the Mercedes-AMG GT3.
 
 


A second Mercedes-AMG GT3 from Lone Star Racing makes its 2019 debut at Mid-Ohio with the new driver pairing of Gar Robinson and Lawson Aschenbach. The No. 74 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 team announced a select schedule of five confirmed races but the team has not ruled out competing in additional IMSA WeatherTech GTD races.
 


The seven Mercedes-AMG GT4 entries in Saturday’s two-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race compete in the top-tier Grand Sport (GS) class.
 


The lineup includes 2018 team and driver champions Owen Trinkler and Hugh Plumb in the No. 46 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4. Trinkler won the pole at Sebring where the No. 46 was in the hunt for the race win, before another competitor spun Plumb from the lead battle 30 minutes from the finish.
 


Trinkler and Plumb compete alongside the sister entry of team owner and driver Ted Giovanis and Guy Cosmo in the No. 4 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4.
 


When Plumb was knocked from contention at Sebring, 18-year-old driver Dylan Murry stepped up to deliver the best Sebring result for the Mercedes-AMG GT4. Co-driving the No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 with Jim Cox, Murry closed out the race and charged from 13th in the field to a fourth-place finish.
 
 
 
Murillo Racing is another two-car Mercedes-AMG GT4 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge GS team. Longtime co-drivers Jeff Mosing and Eric Foss team in Murillo Racing No. 56 Mercedes-AMG GT4, while Mosing’s brother, Brent Mosing, shares the team’s No. 65 Mercedes-AMG GT4 at Mid-Ohio with Tim Probert.
 


Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport is set for Mid-Ohio with the team’s usual dual entry of the No. 57 Mercedes-AMG GT4 for co-drivers Bryce Ward and Christian Hohenadel and the No. 33 Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4 for Russell Ward and Indy Dontje.
 


A three-day weekend event, the Mid-Ohio schedule starts Friday with morning and afternoon practice sessions for both series.
 


Saturday begins with an hour-long IMSA WeatherTech Championship final practice at 8:00 a.m. EDT that sets the stage for GTD qualifying at 11:40 a.m. EDT.
 


The Michelin Pilot Challenge GS class qualifies Saturday at 10:05 a.m. EDT to determine the starting grid for that afternoon’s two-hour race that is scheduled to start at 1:45 p.m. EDT.
 


A 20-minute IMSA WeatherTech Championship warmup session gets Sunday’s schedule started at 8:00 a.m. EDT before that afternoon’s featured two-hour and 40-minute race that goes green at 1:35 p.m. EDT.
 



Ben Keating, Driver – No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3
: “Clearly, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 will have a better chance at Mid-Ohio than we had at Sebring. Will it be enough to run up front? We will see. Last year, we struggled at Mid-Ohio. Because of this, we spent a couple days testing there last month and hopefully our testing will pay dividends. Mid-Ohio is not an easy place to pass other cars, so the pit stops in this race will be extremely important. I love that situation because I love our team.

At Sebring the No. 33 team managed to run up front with great strategy, great drivers and great pit stops. Right now, I think the Mercedes-AMG GT3 is a really well-rounded race car. It doesn’t stand out as an extreme performer in any category with the current BoP but does pretty well in all the categories. I think our testing at Mid-Ohio will be the big difference maker. Whether it is the additional seat time for the drivers at this track or the setup things we learned, I think this will be our biggest benefit."
 
 

 
Jeroen Bleekemolen, Driver – No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3:
“At least things are moving into the right direction. Sebring is probably the strongest track of the season for the Mercedes-AMG GT3, and Mid-Ohio was a big struggle last year. The track is really low grip. Hopefully, with a bit less weight and some more power, we can fight for it. We have tested and did everything we could to prepare well for this event. The field is very close at the moment with lots of good teams, cars and drivers out there. You will have to do everything right to win this race. It would be nice to start the shorter races with a good one and good points. We are all ready for it.”
 



Gar Robinson, Driver – No. 74 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3
: “A lot of fun-having is about to be had this season. I could not be happier to be teamed up with Lawson and Lone Star Racing. The IMSA Sprint format may be new to me but the I feel right at home with the crew and my co-driver. I feel confident that this car will end up on the podium this season. Mid-Ohio has always been good to me, it’s provided me with a lot of really close racing. I think the goal is to keep the car clean and make sure we don’t have any issues. I am going to give Lawson the best car I can and let's see how is shakes out.”
 


Lawson Aschenbach, Driver – No. 74 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3:
“Although we’ve had limited testing, I think our chances are great for a solid start to the sprint season with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 at Mid-Ohio. I was extremely impressed with the feel of this ‘hot rod’ and was blown away by the braking, handling and electronics. It gives you a lot of confidence to push yourself and the car to the limits!”
 
 
 

Eric Foss, Driver – No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“Mid-Ohio is where I witnessed my first professional race at the age of four. I have always loved the facility and racing this technical track. Last year we found that our AMG-Mercedes GT4 was exceptional in the tight and twisty sections and actually the fastest car on the backside of the course. After a season of development, I am confident that the Mercedes-AMG GT4 platform should be very competitive for a podium finish.”



Dylan Murry, Driver – No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“We came here and tested a few weeks ago, and the test went flawless, with exception of the snow! We kept making changes, and our Mercedes-AMG GT4 consistently got better. We didn’t really have much to judge lap times off of, but from what it felt like, the car should be very strong in the race. Now, with the forecasted rain for the race, it’s going to mix things up a whole lot, but I think we will be able to adapt very well to the cold and wet conditions. After all, I think I have more laps in the snow than the dry at Mid-Ohio!”
 
 


 
Adam Saal - photos Mercedes

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/mercedes-amg-motorsport-customer-teams-mid-ohio---189926.html

03.05.2019 / MaP

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