Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Starts 12 Hours of Sebring in Top-10

Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Starts 12 Hours of Sebring in Top-10

16.03.2019: Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 Finishes Fourth in Friday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Race Ben Keating Starts 12 Hours of Sebring Ninth in No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3;

Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 Finishes Fourth in Friday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Race
 



Ben Keating Starts 12 Hours of Sebring Ninth in No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3;


Jim Cox and Dylan Murry Co-Drive to Fourth-Place Race Finish Friday in No. 35 Mercedes-AMG GT4

 

 
Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports stepped up to deliver Saturday’s best race results for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing at Sebring International Raceway. Ben Keating started today’s 12 Hours of Sebring from the inside of row five in the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3 after qualifying ninth Friday morning. That afternoon Jim Cox and Dylan Murry co-drove the No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 to a fourth-place finish in the two-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race.




The 67th Annual 12 Hours of Sebring got off to a wet start in steady rain today at 10:40 a.m. EDT. The majority of the race can be seen live in opening coverage on CNBC from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT, and then on the NBC Sports Network from 3:30 p.m. through this evening’s finish and post-race coverage until 11 p.m. EDT.
 



The No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 team has never finished off the podium in two previous 12 Hours of Sebring starts. Keating and full-season co-driver Jeroen Bleekemolen co-drove the with then teammate Mario Farnbacher to the GTD race win in 2017. Last year, Luca Stolz joined Keating and Bleekemolen in a third-place showing at Sebring.
 



Keating Bleekemolen and the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 team are the two-time and defending IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup GTD winners and start today’s race leading the 2019 standings. Their teammate in this year’s four-race Endurance Cup championship is Felipe Fraga.
 



The 14 points the No. 33 team and drivers earned in January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona give them a current two-point edge on the GTD field. Mercedes-AMG also has 14 points to lead the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup GTD manufacturer standings by a point over the nearest competitor.
 
 
 

The other Mercedes-AMG GT3 team set for the 12 Hour is P1 Motorsports, which is making its second start in the classic Sebring race after finishing in its debut last year. Team owner and driver JC Perez returns from last year and will be joined this weekend by Sebring-debuting Mercedes-AMG drivers Maximilian “Maxi” Buhk and Fabian Schiller. Perez qualified the No. 71 and will roll off from the inside of row seven on the GTD grid after qualifying 13th today.


 
In Friday’s two-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing entries were competitive from the start, but it was an unexpected pair of drivers that stepped up to deliver the best result for the Mercedes-AMG GT4.
 



Polesitter Owen Trinkler and his co-driver Hugh Plumb battled for the lead for the majority of the race in the No. 46 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4. The duo ran no lower than second in the race’s first 90 minutes, which was the position Plumb was in when he was spun from behind in Turn 7 with less than 30 minutes to go. The incident knocked the No. 46 down to an eventual 13th place finish.
 
 

 
Murry stepped up from there and, after taking over the No. 35 from Cox, charged from 13th in the field to a fourth-place finish. The 15-year-old was even closing on the third-place finisher when the checkered flag waved.
 



The No. 35 Riley Motorsports entry was one of two Mercedes-AMG GT4 teams finishing in the top-10 in the IMSA Pilot Challenge race. Bryce Ward and Christian Hohenadel overcame some in-race challenges to finish ninth in the No. 57 Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4.
 


 
The two-hour IMSA Pilot Challenge race can be seen in delayed coverage on the NBC Sports Network on March 28 at 3 p.m. EDT.
 



Ben Keating, Driver – No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3
: “We've come a really, really long way. In the current rules, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 has a higher ride height than any other car in the field and we're required to carry more weight than any other car in the field, but the Riley team has done a phenomenal job. We've worked really hard, have been running flat out every session, using every moment of every session trying to improve the car. The guys were here until after Midnight Thursday night and they were here at six o'clock this morning, first in line for tech inspection when it opened at 7 a.m. The guys have really been working hard. The fact is, we have a very well setup car right now, but we have too much weight. Qualifying in ninth place in this field with this car was very good.”
 



Dylan Murry, Driver – No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“I'm a little disappointed, but at the same time you can't be disappointed with this kind of finish. On the last lap I caught up 50 yards. In turn 17, it was barely enough to get to him. I got to his right rear corner, touched him a little bit, he got loose but it still wasn't enough, and we ended up fourth. We were 13th after the last pit stop because we were the only car that got four tires. It looks like Riley Motorsports made the right decision on that one, because we worked all the way back up. I was passing one or two cars a lap, left and right, and finally worked my way up to fourth. With five laps to go I finally saw third. If the finish line was closer to Turn 1, we might have been on the podium! The Mercedes-AMG GT4 was there all day. It was a very fast car. Old tires, new tires, it didn't matter. Mercedes-AMG did a great job designing this car.”
 
 
 


Jim Cox, Driver – No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“We're absolutely thrilled. We were five feet from being on the last step of the podium. The Riley Motorsports team prepared an incredible Mercedes-AMG GT4 for us, and this car is so compliant over the bumps here at Sebring. It just makes for a great car. I had my best qualifying position in the series so far, and Dylan absolutely drove the wheels off of it in his stint. We're just so happy and looking forward to the next race at Mid-Ohio. We think the Mercedes-AMG GT4 is going to be a great car there.”



Christian Hohenadel, Driver – No. 57 Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“The Mercedes-AMG GT4 was quite good and my teammate Bryce Ward did a fantastic job after the start. I jumped into the car and it felt great, we had a couple of great laps there, but then I struggled a little bit with an ABS issue. It was a little bit unpredictable, but at least we brought the car back in one piece. It was one of the hardest races I have had so far, but we finished, collected points and it is a long season. We finished without a scratch on the car and I am looking forward to the next race.”
 
 
 

 
Adam Saal - photos Mercedes

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16.03.2019 / MaP

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