Eight Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Compete at Lime Rock Park this Weekend

Eight Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Compete at Lime Rock Park this Weekend

19.07.2019: ....in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Mercedes-AMG Returns to Site of First North America

....in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge
 



Mercedes-AMG Returns to Site of First North American GT4 Victory at the IMSA Northeast Grand Prix this Weekend at Lime Rock Park
 

 
 
Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams return to the site of the first North American victory for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 this weekend at Lime Rock Park. Seven Mercedes-AMG GT4 teams will attempt to repeat last year’s victory in Saturday’s two-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race.



The weekend’s featured two-hour and 40-minute IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race follows the Michelin Pilot Challenge race and will see the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 compete for the GT Daytona (GTD) class win.



Last year at Lime Rock, Owen Trinkler and Hugh Plumb co-drove the No. 46 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4 to the milestone victory in the top-tier Grand Sport (GS) class. The No. 46 team went on to win two of the next three races and the 2018 GS driver and team championships.
 


The 2018 Lime Rock win capped a breakout day for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 in its first year of North American competition. A second-place finish by the No. 57 Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport entry was the first one-two sweep, while a fifth-place result by Jeff Mosing and Eric Foss in the No. 56 Murillo Racing entry resulted in three Mercedes-AMG GT4s finishing in the top five.
 
 
 
All three teams compete again this weekend, and a win by any of them at Lime Rock would be a 2019 first.
 


Trinkler and Plumb have started two of the year’s first five races from the pole, but a string of bad luck and contact incidents have kept them from victory lane. The returning champions race this weekend alongside full-season teammates Ted Giovanis and Guy Cosmo in the No. 4 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4.
 


Bryce Ward and Indy Dontje co-drove the No. 57 to 2018’s second-place finish but return to Lime Rock this weekend with different co-drivers.
 


Ward co-drives the No. 57 with Christian Hohenadel while Dontje now teams with Ward’s son, Russell Ward, in the No. 33 Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4.
 


Mosing and Foss are longtime and championship-winning teammates at Murillo Racing. They compete in the No. 56 entry alongside teammates Tim Probert and Justin Piscitell in the No. 65 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4.
 
 
 
The final Mercedes-AMG GT4 entry at Lime Rock is this year’s most recent race winner. The No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 won the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge GS race three weeks ago at Watkins Glen International with co-drivers Jim Cox, Dylan Murry and Jeroen Bleekemolen.
 


Cox and 18-year-old co-driver Murry share the No. 35 at Lime Rock and look for their third podium result of the season, after finishing second at Mid-Ohio in May before victory at The Glen.
 


Bleekemolen is competing this weekend at Lime Rock in his more familiar role as Ben Keating’s co-driver in the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3.
 


Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech Championship race is the first of two in the next three races that features only GT-class race cars. Keating, Bleekemolen and the No. 33 team compete in the GT Daytona (GTD) class that will share the track with the more powerful GT Le Mans (GTLM) class cars.
 
 
 
The IMSA WeatherTech Championship weekend headliner, the Northeast Grand Prix, gets underway at 3 p.m. ET and can be streamed live, flag-to-flag on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com. The NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will air same-day coverage of the race Saturday evening at 9:30 p.m. EDT.
 


A two-day event, the Lime Rock schedule gets underway with practice for both the IMSA WeatherTech Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge on Friday. Michelin Challenge GS qualifying is scheduled for 4:25 p.m. Friday afternoon.
 


A full Saturday schedule starts with a final “warm up” practice at 9:05 a.m. EDT immediately followed by GTD qualifying at 9:35 a.m. EDT. The two-hour Michelin Challenge race follows at 11:10 a.m. EDT and can be watched live at IMSA.tv. The green flag for that afternoon’s featured Northeast Grand Prix IMSA WeatherTech Championship race is scheduled to fly at 3:10 p.m. EDT.
 
 
 
Ben Keating, Driver – No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3:
“I love the GT-only races, but multi-class racing is difficult at Lime Rock because it is small and not easy to pass. It seems like people grow impatient and get aggressive, which almost never works out well. That is what makes this place the ‘Bull Ring.’ I think the Michelin tires will improve the lap times for all of the classes just like they have in each race so far this year.



However, the new tire seems to help all competitors equally, which means the time difference stays about the same. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is good in the high-speed corners. There is only one at Lime Rock, which leads onto the front straight, but I think all modern GT3 cars can do this corner while staying flat on the throttle. Therefore, I don’t think it is much of an advantage, but maybe the other cars could make an extra mistake or two in that area.”
 




Jeroen Bleekemolen, Driver – No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3:
“It’s usually really nice to run without too much traffic but Lime Rock is a short track. We will still be pretty busy managing it the right way. With only GT cars, the speeds will be much closer. Both being on the same tire could make it even closer, although we run a standard and harder Michelin tire.



We’ll have to try to do a perfect weekend, maybe need some luck and good strategy too. It’s very close between a lot of cars. This is not an easy track for us, but if you can make the car work you can make up a lot. I really like the last corner. It’s very fast and should be good for our Mercedes-AMG GT3. Tire degradation is also high at this track, which will make things interesting.”
 
 

 
Owen Trinkler – No. 46 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“It is awesome being able to get back to Lime Rock. I love the track. I have always had great runs there on the ‘Bull Ring.’ The team has been doing a great job so we know they will put together a good Mercedes-AMG GT4 for us. We will rebound from past outings and take the confidence of being back at a place where we have run well before. I look forward to going after the pole and trying to get the win there again.”
 



Jim Cox, Driver – No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“We certainly need to get up to speed in a short number of practice laps, but I think our car is going to be great. I know that Lime Rock is a track of nuances, so it will just be a matter of how many of those I can discover during the short practice window. I’ve watched last year’s race and it is clear the Mercedes-AMG GT4 gives the driver great handling in traffic and a solid platform. With a such a quality race car under me, I am feeling up to the challenge.




The confidence that Dylan and I are bringing to the track is entirely based on our team. Riley Motorsports is world-class every day. Their experience racing the Mercedes-AMG GT3 platform with great success has directly transferred to our GT4 program. I have complete confidence that they will roll the car of the truck very close to the final set-up Dylan and I need to race.”
 
 


 
Dylan Murry, Driver – No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“Neither Jim nor I have ever been to Lime Rock before. Actually, it’s my first time in Connecticut at all. From the videos I have seen, and the seat time in a SimCraft iRacing setup, I really think the Mercedes-AMG GT4 will be very strong there. Especially in the back half of the track, where it is the higher speed 90° corners. I’m really excited to learn the track. It’s relatively short, so I’m going to expect it to be like short half-mile ovals I grew up on.



I have lots of confidence going into this race. I can’t see getting up to speed being a problem. We have been the fastest Mercedes-AMG GT4 on track for the entire season, and recently the fastest car out of anyone. I have no worries about Riley Motorsports setting up a fast car. I don’t think any team has an advantage over us for coming here in a GS car before. Riley Motorsports is one of the smartest teams out there, and there’s no doubt we’ll have speed. As long as we keep our nose clean in the race, we should have an outstanding result.”
 
 
 

 
Adam Saal - photos Mercedes
 


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19.07.2019 / MaP

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