Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Conclude Successful Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona IMSA Test Weekend

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Conclude Successful Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona IMSA Test Weekend

06.01.2020: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Log Just Under 3,500 Miles in Roar Before the Rolex 24 IMSA Test at Daytona International Speedway Eight Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing tea

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Log Just Under 3,500 Miles in Roar Before the Rolex 24 IMSA Test at Daytona International Speedway

 
 
 
Eight Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams in two different IMSA racing series combined to log nearly 3,500 miles on Daytona International Speedway (DIS) this weekend in preparation for the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 23 – 26.


The three days of testing on the 3.56-mile DIS road course had Mercedes-AMG customer racing competitors in both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge turn their first official laps of the 2020 season.



Riley Motorsports tested a new-for-2020 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo in preparation for its IMSA WeatherTech Championship and Rolex 24 debut with team drivers Gar Robinson, Lawson Aschenbach, Ben Keating and Felipe Fraga.
 


In the first North American appearance for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, the Riley team’s No. 74 entry completed 158 trouble-free laps in seven practice sessions over the three days of the Roar test. In addition, Keating ended up eighth in the GT Daytona (GTD) class in the No. 74 after Saturday’s pre-race qualifying session.
 


Robinson and Aschenbach are the full-season co-drivers in the No. 74 and will be joined by Keating in the four-race IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup, which begins with the Rolex 24, January 25 - 26. Fraga joins the team as a fourth driver for the Daytona opener.
 


Seven Mercedes-AMG GT4 teams tested at the Roar in preparation for the four-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race taking place January 24.



The Mercedes-AMG GT4 competes in the top-level Grand Sports (GS) class in which Mercedes-AMG won the GS manufacturer championship last year.
 
 
 
The Roar test was paced early by the No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 that set the fastest lap in the first three of the weekend’s six Michelin Pilot Challenge practice sessions.
 


Winward’s sister No. 57 Mercedes-AMG GT4 was on equal pace with co-drivers Bryce Ward and Daytona-debuting Philip Ellis, running second fastest to the No. 33 in two of the first three sessions.
 


Longtime teammates Jeff Mosing and Eric Foss also showed to-three pace throughout the weekend in the No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4. The No. 56 was third fastest overall in both the Saturday afternoon and test-ending Sunday afternoon session.
 


Tim Probert and Justin Piscitell shared the Murillo team’s similar No. 65 Mercedes-AMG GT4 at the Roar test.
 


The No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Jim Cox and Dylan Murry closed out the Roar test with a weekend best fifth-place overall GS time in Sunday’s final session. Jeroen Bleekemolen co-drives with Cox and Murry in the Daytona opener.
 


Additional Mercedes-AMG customer racing teams testing in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge at the Roar included the debuting No. 14 Autometrics Bluff City Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Anton Dias Perera, Cory Friedman and Dan Clarke and the No. 90 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Corey Lewis and Sheena Monk.
 



Gar Robinson, Driver – No. 74 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3:
“When you get most new race cars, typically in the past for me it has been kind of like when you get a brand new really bad puppy. You have to train it. It makes a mess on the floor – that’s the luck I have had in the past with new race cars – but I am pretty impressed with the Mercedes-AMG GT3. We didn’t have to do anything, it is really nice, and I can get used to this.



I have never failed to get on the podium with this team. If everyone does all of their chores and all of the homework we need to do – and I am sure we all will – we stand a pretty good chance, but it’s a really talented field here. It’s IMSA. It’s the only real one. The big one. I am really excited, and we will see what happens in a few weeks.”
 

 
Lawson Aschenbach, Driver – No. 74 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3:
“First and foremost, I think it’s a testament to Mercedes-AMG to be able to show up with a brand new car that has never turned a lap and get through the test without a single issue. That alone is a feat in itself. We learned a lot, and fortunately for us this Mercedes-AMG GT3 is improved but not that much different from the other.



That gives us a lot of confidence with setup work and knowing the changes that we want to make to get things better, but there is no doubt we have a lot of work to do. The GTD class is by far the most competitive in the series. Anytime you can get on the GTD podium this year is going to be a major accomplishments. I am excited to get back to Daytona and see if we can get this thing going for the Rolex 24 hour.”
 



Russell Ward, Driver – No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“All of the preparation we do is obviously for events, and in many ways the race is really won at home. We have a relatively new group of guys. Everyone has been on the team a year or less, but we all love what we do.



We wake up early in the morning, come to work and are just excited to get there. We had an awesome Roar and topped the time sheets in our Mercedes-AMG GT4 in three of the five sessions we ran. It’s looking really good, but it’s just practice. I’m sure everybody is hiding a little bit here and there, so we’ll really get to see what the speed of everyone is when we get back to Daytona at the end of the month.”
 



Bryce Ward, Driver – No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“I think we really had a great Roar, and this year all the competitors did a fantastic job. Very few red flags, so we had a lot of green flag running which was fantastic. It’s the first time I’ve been involved with so much green flag running, so we really were able to get a lot of data out of our Mercedes-AMG GT4 cars to set them up.



I think we’re at the point where we’re ready to go racing. The last stint I had was a great long run. I’m really comfortable in the Mercedes-AMG. It feels good, it’s performing well, so I’m going to turn it over to Russell and he’s going to head back to the shop to nut and bolt them together, get them prepped to race and o the trailer and get ready to go.”
 
 
 
Philip Ellis, Driver – No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“This was my first time at Daytona, and it is completely different, especially with the banking. I am basically used to European tracks, but it is very special to be here for the first time. It is a great experience and I have enjoyed it so far.



The Mercedes-AMG GT4 was pretty good I have to say. Our balance on the long run looks extremely good, very neutral. The car is easy to handle and basically very customer friendly, I would say. The banking is the biggest surprise, and the amount of it. It’s pretty crazy. We saw just how steep it is when we walked the track.”
 


Dylan Murry, Driver – No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“I am really excited to come back at the end of January for the first race of 2020. It’s going to be really good. We learned a lot at the Roar about the Mercedes-AMG GT4 on track here. We have made a lot of progress and called it a weekend before the final on-track session.



 Our Mercedes-AMG GT4 is pretty strong right now. We have won two of the last three four-hour races we have been in with the Riley Motorsports team and always look forward to having Jeroen back on the team. It is always great to have somebody with that kind of experience and he is an incredible person and incredible driver.”
 
 
 

Justin Piscitell, Driver – No. 65 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4:
“The Roar test was very interesting. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 held up extremely well on a lot of long runs. We tried doing a lot of race simulation stuff, so we have a great idea heading into the race weekend how the car should handle the long distance of the four-hour race.



We were able to pick apart the data and figure out some ways to play with the ABS and traction control settings to make the car go even faster for even longer runs through the race.”
 


Jeff Mosing, Driver – No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “
The team has come back this year with even more ideas about what we can do better as a whole and in every aspect of the team. They are always looking for ways to be better, and it is making us be better as drivers. Every little detail counts. The Roar is a good opportunity to take a look at things without being distracted by a race or qualifying.



I think the Mercedes-AMG GT4 is one of the best cars in the braking zones, which is critical in this series. That is going to really help us turn one and getting into the bus stop chicane as late as we can and coming out really well. That’s so important, and we got that right in the last session.”
 
 
 
Anton Dias Perera, Driver – No. 14 Autometrics Bluff City Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “
I have been associated with Autometrics for quite some time now, so I always knew we had a very strong team that I could trust. They are technically very sound and experienced. We were with a rival platform, but when we were launching our campaign, we were looking at all of the platforms available in the GS class.



The Mercedes-AMG GT4 was the strongest package and we pretty much jumped on it. Our goal this weekend was to get within a second of the guys who have been running the series before, and I think we achieved that within about two tenths. We were able to get the car tuned in to this unique track and really had a great weekend.”
 
 
 
 
 

Adam Saal - photos Mercedes

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06.01.2020 / MaP

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