Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Road America review

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Road America review

04.08.2020: ..... Finish Fourth in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and Sixth in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series Races in IMSA SportsCar Weekend at Road America

..... Finish Fourth in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and Sixth in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series Races in IMSA SportsCar Weekend at Road America

Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 Driven by Jim Cox and Dylan Murry Secures Fourth Place IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Race Finish Saturday at Road America


The No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 of co-drivers Jim Cox and Dylan Murry secured a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race and was the highest finishing Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing team of the six entries in the IMSA SportsCar Weekend at Road America.

In Sunday’s featured IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 of co-drivers Gar Robinson and Lawson Aschenbach finished sixth in a race marred by heavy rain conditions.

In Saturday’s two-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge race, Cox started 12th and picked up several positions in his opening stint before handing the No. 35 Mercedes-AMG GT4 off to Murry for the run to the finish.

Murry continued the move to the front, working his way up to fourth in his final stint, but any chance of hitting the top three went away when the race finished under caution.

The race-ending yellow flag was caused by another top Mercedes-AMG GT4 competitor. Debuting Mercedes-AMG GT4 driver Billy Johnson was at the wheel of the No. 4 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 when he drove through a cloud of dust kicked up by another car ahead. The No. 4 hooked a wheel off course, spinning the car across the track and into the safety barrier.

Johnson was uninjured but the No. 4 was damaged in what was the final blow in a fast but otherwise frustrating race for the Winward team.

After qualifying a Mercedes-AMG GT4 best fourth for the second-consecutive race, Ward battled in the lead pack from the start only to get shuffled back in an early contact incident.

Ward quickly rebounded and worked his way back into the top 10 before handing the No. 4 off to Johnson halfway through the race. Johnson picked up the charge only to be penalized when a competitor he was battling side-by-side in the top five spun off course. Johnson continued after the contact-free incident but was later assessed “incident responsibility” and a drive-through penalty that took away the chance of victory.

The No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 put in another competitive performance at Road America with co-drivers Jeff Mosing and Eric Foss. The team appeared on pace to match or possibly improve on last year’s third-place finish at Road America, but lost some pace following their final pit stop in the run to the checkered flag. Closing driver Foss skilfully managed to bring the No. 56 to the finish line in seventh place.

The first half of Sunday’s WeatherTech Championship race was run under ideal weather conditions, and race-starting driver Robinson made the most of it in the No. 74 Mercedes-AMG GT3. Following a personal-best GT3 qualifying effort on Friday, Robinson started fifth and held the top-five position throughout his 45-minute opening stint.

Aschenbach took over after a quick driver change pit stop by the Riley Motorsports crew and moved up to fourth in the GT Daytona (GTD) class early in his driving shift.

Dark clouds and heavy rain descended on Road America for the final 60 minutes of the two-hour and 40-minute race. The Riley team made a well-timed call to bring Aschenbach to the pits just as the rain started to fall with just over 50 minutes remaining.

A strategy decision during the stop kept the No. 74 on slick tires, and more quick work by the Riley crew got Aschenbach back in the race. He was in third as the race went into a lengthy caution period and ultimately a 21-minute red-flag stoppage.

The race resumed for an eight-minute dash to the finish, but the heavy showers forced the Riley team to bring Aschenbach to the pits for rain tires. Another fast stop put Aschenbach back on track as quickly as possible, but a race-ending caution period minutes later saw Aschenbach cross the finish line under the waving checkered and yellow flags in sixth place.

Next up for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series is the Michelin GT Challenge weekend at VIRginia International Raceway, August 21 – 23.

Lawson Aschenbach, Driver – No. 74 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: “
We definitely had the pace to fight for a podium. We were great in the dry but we just kind of got unlucky with the rain. The way these races go, sometimes you do what you can to make the right call. I thought we did it, but we just got unlucky that the rain kept coming down harder. That’s just the way it goes. I am really proud of the team.

Everybody did a great job this weekend. We had a fast car. Our Mercedes-AMG GT3 was fast, it was on rails, and rolled off the trailer quick and needed only minor adjustments through the weekend. We are all clicking. The good result is going to come. Sooner or later. We just have to keep our heads down and see what happens in the next race in Virginia.”

Dylan Murry, Driver – No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“It was a great weekend, but it was a shame we couldn’t get a podium finish. One more caution to bunch everybody back up would have helped for the race and the overall championship. We have shown a lot of speed in our Mercedes-AMG GT4 this year, and I have a lot of confidence going into the rest of the season.

Jim did a really fantastic job, kept the car in a good position and didn’t make any mistakes in his opening run. He has made incredible progress in the last few races. We are only 30% of the way done with the season. Looking at championship points right now gives some indication but not all of it. If the series continues like it did last year, I think we will be in pretty good shape because we have always been a super consistent team at Riley Motorsports.”

Eric Foss, Driver – No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “J
eff Mosing did an awesome job as did the Murillo Racing team. These guys were on point and our first pit stop was awesome. We came out with our Mercedes-AMG GT4 in a really good position, had a good battle with some other cars, but on our second pit stop when we came out, we had an issue.

We were losing some time on the straights so happy to finish seventh after being a wounded duck in that last stint. The car performed flawlessly, and the team was great, but we just have to assess something on our end and we will be better for the next race.”

Russell Ward, Driver – No. 4 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4:
"The car was amazing. Our engineers and crew did an awesome job giving us a Mercedes-AMG GT4 that could win the race. It just kind of became a circus for us in every aspect. Contact early put us in the back.

We worked our way back up and then get a drive-through penalty. It’s amazing how all these things come together to ead to the kind of race we had. It probably started with my mistake, but this is racing, and we will be back at the next one. We obviously have the pace. We will fix our car up and be ready to go. It’s not the first time.”
Billy Johnson, Driver – No. 4 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“The entire Winward Racing team worked hard to improve our setup all weekend. Russell did an awesome job in qualifying, right near the front, and we had a great Mercedes-AMG GT4. Unfortunately, we had some contact in the first stint that put us back a little bit. Russell worked his way back up through the pack to put us in fifth.

He put in an awesome drive. I got in the car, had some good battles but – and I must watch the videos – I do not think the penalty was justified. I felt I left enough room but unfortunately, we got a penalty. That put us really far in the back. Then at the end a car in front of me dropped tires off the track and kicked up some dust.

I couldn’t see anything, I dropped tires as well, and it hooked me into the wall. Definitely not the finish or result that showed all the hard work put in by the team or the great job Russell did in his stint.”
Adam Saal - photos Mercedes


04.08.2020 / MaP

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