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Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams at Road America - preview and quotes

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams at Road America - preview and quotes

31.07.2020: ....in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Compete This Weekend at Road America Mercedes-AMG GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT4 Competitors Seek Victory in the Renewed IMSA Racing Season this Weekend at Road Ame


....in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Compete This Weekend at Road America
 




Mercedes-AMG GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT4 Competitors Seek Victory in the Renewed IMSA Racing Season this Weekend at Road America

 
 
 

Following a pair of fourth-place and near-miss podium finishes at Sebring International Raceway, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series compete this weekend at Road America seeking their first victories of the renewed IMSA racing season. The weekend’s featured two-hour and 40-minute WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race airs live on the NBC network this Sunday, August 2, at Noon EDT/11 a.m. CDT.


 
Following a five-month hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak, the IMSA WeatherTech Championship returned to competition earlier this month with a pair of races at Daytona International Speedway and Sebring International Raceway.



Co-drivers Gar Robinson and Lawson Aschenbach finished sixth in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class at Daytona on the Fourth of July, and later stepped up to contend for the win at Sebring.
 


Aschenbach was rapidly closing on the third-place competitor in the final 30 minutes of the Sebring race but ultimately ran out of time to make a move before the checkered flag.


 
The No. 74 Mercedes-AMG GT3 team and drivers look to build on the season-best fourth-place finish with a top-three result or higher in the fourth race of the WeatherTech Championship season Sunday on the four-mile Road America circuit.
 


A late run similar to the No. 74’s charge at Sebring by a Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing team was cut short in the Michelin Pilot Challenge race.
 
 
 
Taking over from starting driver Russell Ward, Indy Dontje was at the wheel of the No. 4 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 and rapidly closing on the top-three competitors in the closing stages of the race.
 


As Dontje was setting up a pass on the third-place competitor, a thunderstorm hit the Sebring circuit, forcing officials to stop and ultimately end the race 15 minutes early.
 


The early checkered flag took away an almost certain top-three finish for the No. 4 team, but the stage is set for a rebound at Road America.
 


With Dontje committed to a race in Europe, Ward will co-drive at Road America with former Grand Sport (GS) class champion Billy Johnson, who is currently tied with Hugh Plumb as the winningest driver in Pilot Challenge history with 23 victories.
 


Johnson, who won at Road America in the past and secured the GS driver title in 2016, makes his Mercedes-AMG GT4 competition debut in Saturday’s two-hour race. In addition to breaking the all-time win tie, Johnson is seeking his milestone 50th Pilot Challenge podium appearance.


 
A class-leading five Mercedes-AMG GT4 entries will compete in the top-tier GS division for Saturday’s two-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge race.
 


Ward and Johnson compete alongside the sister No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 entry of Ward’s father, Bryce Ward, and co-driver Alec Udell, who debuted with the team at Sebring.
 
 
 
The No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 of co-drivers Jim Cox and Dylan Murry returns to Road America with the momentum of a season-opening win at Daytona last January.
 


In the only Michelin Pilot Challenge race run before coronavirus, Cox and Murry were joined by endurance race teammate Jeroen Bleekemolen for a convincing victory at Daytona.
 


The No. 35 team anchored the first 1-2-3 finish for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 in worldwide competition. The Winward entries followed the winner across the finish line at Daytona, with Bryce Ward and Philip Ellis second in the No. 57 and Russell Ward and Dontje third in the No. 4.


 
Another two-car Mercedes-AMG GT4 effort set for Road America comes from Murillo Racing.
 


The No. 56 Murillo Racing entry of Jeff Mosing and Eric Foss was the best performing Mercedes-AMG GT4 last year at Road America with a third-place GS finish.
 


Mosing and Foss were also on pace at Sebring two weeks ago where they secured a sixth-place finish. After running as high as third during Mosing’s race-opening stint, Foss was in sixth place and ready to make a move of his own when the race was stopped.
 


The No. 65 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 returns to Road America with its usual driving duo of Tim Probert and Mosing’s brother Brent Mosing.
 
 
 
The first full three-day event since IMSA returned to competition earlier this month, Friday’s schedule includes opening practice sessions for both the WeatherTech Championship and Michelin Pilot Challenge.
 


Saturday begins with GS qualifying at 8:20 a.m. CDT before the afternoon’s two-hour Road America 120 Michelin Pilot Challenge race at 3:45 a.m. CDT.



Sunday’s weekend feature WeatherTech Championship race is scheduled to go green at 11:05 a.m. CDT with NBC’s live network coverage beginning at Noon EDT.
 


Saturday’s Road America 120 Michelin Pilot Challenge race can be streamed live at 4:45 p.m. EDT on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. The NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) televises the race on Saturday, August 15 at 12 a.m. EDT.
 





Gar Robinson, Driver – No. 74 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: “
Road America is one of those make-it or break-it tracks. I've won and lost Trans Am championships there, it is the last track that I raced with the original Robinson Racing team, and it’s one of the only pro tracks that I don’t have a win at. I think it would mean a great deal to me to honor my old team and be a personal achievement to score a podium or a win there. We have been building a lot of momentum this year with Riley Motorsports and the Mercedes-AMG GT3. I’m excited to get there to show up for my team, my dad who will be there, and, of course, the fans!”
 



Lawson Aschenbach, Driver – No. 74 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3:
"Road America is going to be an exciting weekend for all of us due to the expected increase in fan attendance. We race for the fans, first and foremost, so I’m looking forward to seeing them at the track. It gives the weekend the energy it deserves! Road America is one of the top tracks in North America. It has the perfect balance of high-speed and low-speed corners, heavy braking zones and an abundance of passing spots. It allows the drivers to push themselves and the race cars to the maximum!



I feel that Riley Motorsports is firing on all cylinders. The team is knocking it out of the park in the pits as well as getting the maximum out of our Mercedes-AMG GT3. Gar and I are pushing hard and have our sights set on podiums every weekend. I believe this track will suit our Mercedes-AMG GT3. The car has great braking capabilities, and the high-speed stability coupled with top downforce levels will allow us to attack each corner with confidence. Plus, the sound of the 6.2 L V8 will put a smile on anyone’s face!”
 



Dylan Murry, Driver – No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“It is really great to get back to Road America. I am very excited to get going again and have another chance to redeem ourselves from the last race at Sebring. Last year, we had such a fast car at Riley Motorsports, and we have made improvements on the car since then, and I suspect we will be even faster this year. Last year at this track, we didn’t really have the best of luck with the entire rain situation. Whether it rains or stays dry this year, I am pretty confident going into this race.



Track position is going to be so critical, so we have to put our Mercedes-AMG GT4 up front as soon as we can. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 is a very well-balanced car. Last year, the high-speed corners were our strongest point. Now, with a newer package, the car has even more downforce than last year, so I suspect driving through the carousel and the kink will be very pleasant on the Mercedes-AMG GT4s compared to the other manufacturers."




 
Billy Johnson, Driver – No. 4 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: "
I'm really looking forward to co-driving with Russell in the No. 4 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4. Due to the craziness of this year, travel challenges and ever-changing schedules, there was an opportunity to fill in for Indy who had a conflicting race overseas. The Winward team is a great group of guys and we have really hit it off quite well from a team chemistry standpoint, which is very important.



They field a competitive car, have a strong driver line-up and have had a lot of success. I look to help contribute to that success and feel that we are in a good position to challenge for podium finishes. Compared to other front engine/rear drive cars in the series, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 has the most ideal layout. The chassis is aluminum, the entire twin-turbo 4.0L engine is mounted low and behind the front wheel centerline, the transmission is in the rear of the car – a transaxle - and the greenhouse is small and punches a small hole in the air. All of this makes for a better handling road car, and a competitive advantage as a race car."
 
 
 
 
Adam Saal -photos Mercedes


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31.07.2020 / MaP

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