Mercedes-AMG GT3 Competitors Capture Three Victories and Sunday Sweep of Fanatec GT World Challenge

Mercedes-AMG GT3 Competitors Capture Three Victories and Sunday Sweep of Fanatec GT World Challenge

22.08.2022: ...and GT America Races for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams in SRO Motorsports America Competition at Road America Winward Racing Sweeps Fanatec GT World Challenge Races while George Kurtz and the No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by Riley M


...and GT America Races for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams in SRO Motorsports America Competition at Road America
 


Winward Racing Sweeps Fanatec GT World Challenge Races while George Kurtz and the No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 Team Add Sunday GT America Win

 
 
 

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams kept up their winning ways at Road America, the picturesque 4-plus mile permanent road course in Elkhart Lake, Wis. After completing a historic weekend sweep across all three IMSA classes it competes in the first weekend of August, Mercedes-AMG teams added three more victories in SRO Motorsports America competition on the third weekend of August.


Winward Racing scored Saturday and Sunday overall and Pro class victories in both 90-minute Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS races with its No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, while CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports added a Sunday overall win in GT America powered by AWS action, with its No. 04 Mercedes-AMG GT3.




Road America has put the “win” in Winward Racing, which recorded its second and third victories of the month at the track. After scoring an IMSA class victory two weeks ago, the Winward Racing pair of Russell Ward and Philip Ellis backed it up with a weekend sweep in their No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3. This marked their third straight Pro class wins, but first and second overall this season after finishing second to the Pro-Am class No. 04 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of George Kurtz and Colin Braun at Watkins Glen.
 



The Mercedes-AMG GT3 pace was on display with Winward Racing and U.S. RaceTronics (USRT) locking out the front rows.
 
 
 



Ward paced the field from pole position in Race 1 through a long yellow, maintained the gap after the restart until the pit stop window opened, and handed off to Ellis who ran untroubled from there en route to the victory.
 


Sunday’s Race 2 was even more dominant, with Ellis building more than an 18-second lead on the field from pole before his pit stop. He handed over to Ward, who also managed the gap well throughout his stint. The team managed to push on despite a slow puncture on the right front but held on without any further issues to complete the weekend sweep in a caution-free race.
 


Kurtz recorded a second and first in the two 40-minute GT America powered by AWS races in his No. 04 Mercedes-AMG GT3. His Saturday race featured a rally after a spin on the opening lap, recovering from near the back of the overall field all the way up to second just 0.423 of a second off the lead.
 


He returned to his winning ways on Sunday, with a controlling lights-to-flag victory in the race that was stopped a few minutes short of the full distance due to a heavy accident involving a GT4 car on the front straight. The win is his sixth in 12 GT America races, giving the CrowdStrike driver a 50-percent strike rate of victories this season.
 
 
 


The CrowdStrike by Riley team persisted through a challenging weekend in the two GT World Challenge America races. The No. 04 car was collected in an opening lap incident on Saturday, forcing a change to a backup chassis. After the team worked tirelessly to prepare the second car, poor luck struck again with an incident in Sunday’s race as the hood went up on the opening lap.
 


Kurtz and the No. 04 CrowdStrike Riley team have provisionally extended their lead in the GT America season-long championship. With two race weekends left in the GT America schedule, Kurtz holds an 83-point lead in the GT America driver standings, 233-150, with the No. 04 holding an 82-point lead in the GT America team championship, 241-159. With the tough GT World Challenge America weekend, Kurtz and co-driver Colin Braun are now locked in a three-way battle with two other competitors for that championship.
 



Conquest Racing/JMF Motorsports recorded a pair of podiums in Pirelli GT4 America action. The No. 34 Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Gavin Sanders and Michai Stephens finished third in Silver on Saturday, continuing after suffering contact from another competitor that hit the car’s left rear prior to the team’s scheduled pit stop. The pair improved to second in Silver on Sunday, courtesy of a storming first stint from Stephens where he gained double-digit positions from his grid spot before handing over to Sanders for the final stint.
 
 
 




Longtime Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing team Lone Star Racing made its return to SRO America competition this weekend in Pirelli GT4 America. Cameron Lawrence and Zane Hodgen shared the No. 4 Mercedes-AMG GT4, recording a best finish of seventh in Pro-Am and ninth overall in the 30-plus car field on Saturday.
 



Also of note, DXDT Racing recorded three top-five finishes in GT World Challenge America Pro/Am, including the best finish of the season for the No. 08 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Bryan Sellers and Scott Smithson. A move from Smithson on another competitor through the grass netted them a second-place finish on Sunday to go along with a fourth-place finish on Saturday. The sister No. 63 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Dirk Mueller and David Askew recorded a fifth-place finish on Saturday.
 



Next up for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams in SRO Motorsports America competition is the Sebring International Raceway event in Sebring, Fla., September 23-25.
 
 
 


George Kurtz, Driver – No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3
: “The comeback drive Saturday was great. I think we needed another lap or two and we might have gotten it. But all things considered given the start – I just got a little too deep and got sideways in Turn One – to be able to come back and get second with good, solid points is a testament to the team and the hard work everybody put in. On Sunday it was a good battle with Andy (Pilgrim) and trying to manage the gap and the tires if there was a yellow. Unfortunately, there were two, but we managed to get the win and good points coming out of this weekend. I'm already looking forward to Sebring.”
 



Russell Ward, Driver – No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3:
“Starting up front makes it easier. It feels great, we’ve been chasing it all year. Sonoma, Watkins and now this. We’ve known the pace is there. The pit stops were perfect, Philip’s stint was perfect, and I just had to bring it home. It was a perfect weekend!”
 



Philip Ellis, Driver – No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “
We’ve always been there, and it feels so good to have it in the pocket as well. We should have had it last year at this same track, and last race as well at Watkins Glen. But thankfully now we’ve had it here within two weeks at the same track, Road America. It feels good. This is probably the track that suits the Mercedes-AMG GT3 most on the whole calendar. It has a lot of high-speed corners, hard braking. It suits us very well. We knew that last year. We knew what we had to do on the Pirelli. We had the experience from two weeks ago in IMSA as well. How to set up the car. It doesn’t come up as a surprise, but it’s so nice we grabbed it.”
 
 
 

Bryan Sellers, Driver – No. 08 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3:
“We had a solid, needed clean weekend for our No. 08 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. Saturday Scott kept his nose clean and stayed out of trouble on the start and that put us in good position for the pit stop. The car was in good shape and was able to get Michael for position at Turn 3. Then Scott did a great job pressuring on Sunday for the podium. We seem to have a little better tire life. When others go full attack, they hurt the fronts. Charlie (Luck) likely had no choice with pressure from Scott. We encouraged him to use the tire up.”
 



Gavin Sanders, Driver – No. 34 Conquest Racing/JMF Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“Our car was fantastically set up, predicting what would happen. We made the first stint go as it should have, managing the gap and get as close for the second stint. Saturday was an unfortunate way to end – we don’t like with any races like that – getting scuffed up. But we somehow still got a podium and that’s thanks to the teamwork and effort!”
 



Michai Stephens, Driver – No. 34 Conquest Racing/JMF Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“Thankfully growing up in the city of Chicago, you have to navigate the highways similar to a race track. All in all, a tremendous effort from the team, after being in a down and out position by way of yesterday’s incident. Everyone did their part Sunday, and then some.”
 
 

 
Cameron Lawrence, Driver – No. 4 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “
Zane did awesome; he’s been with A.J. (Petersen) and Lone Star for a bit and we’ve been prepping the car running at Cresson by the Motorsports Ranch. We fought through a vibration in the left rear on Saturday, but it held on. The Lone Star guys did a great job to get us back, and the setup in general was great. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 is so good in all weather conditions, so we were ready for whatever came.”
 
 
 

 
Adam Saal -  photos Mercedes
 
 

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22.08.2022 / MaP

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