Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Return to North American Competition in First Three Weekends of July

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Return to North American Competition in First Three Weekends of July

03.07.2020: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Return to North American Competition with upcoming IMSA and SRO Motorsports Group America Events at Daytona International S


Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Return to North American Competition with upcoming IMSA and SRO Motorsports Group America Events at Daytona International Speedway, VIRginia International Raceway and Sebring International Raceway in July



Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams across four different racing series will compete in a busy schedule of three-consecutive events in the first weekends of July, as North American sports car racing returns to competition following an industry-wide pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.



The schedule begins this Fourth of July Saturday night with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Daytona International Speedway.



The SRO GT World Challenge America Presented by AWS and Pirelli GT4 America series return to competition next weekend, July 9 – 12, at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) while the IMSA WeatherTech Championship joins the returning IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series, July 16 – 18, at Sebring International Raceway.



All three race weekends are new or rescheduled events following a series of race cancellations or postponements since the second week of March. The IMSA races Saturday night at Daytona and in two weeks at Sebring are new events replacing cancelled races. The SRO VIR weekend was rescheduled from its original date of June 5 – 7.



The No. 74 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 of co-drivers Gar Robinson and Lawson Aschenbach will be the first team to carry the Mercedes-AMG flag back into U.S. competition in Saturday night’s WeatherTech 240 At Daytona.
 
 


 
The two-hour, 40-minute race on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course restarts the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech Championship, following a five-month hiatus due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Live coverage of the evening race begins this Saturday, July 4, at 6 p.m. EDT on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN).
 


The WeatherTech 240 is just the second race of the 2020 IMSA season and brings the series back to where it started at the “World Center of Racing” with the Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 25 – 26.



The Rolex 24 marked the IMSA WeatherTech debut of champion drivers Robinson and Aschenbach with Riley Motorsports. The team moved into top-five contention in the 24-hour race early Sunday morning when a minor electrical malfunction dropped them to an eventual 11th place finish in a competitive GT Daytona (GTD) field.



The SRO Motorsports Group America race weekend at VIR marks the return of both the GT World Challenge America Presented by AWS and the Pirelli GT4 America series to competition for the first time in more than four months. The only previous race weekend in the series for 2020 was the March 6 – 8 events at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Texas.
 
 


Three Mercedes-AMG GT3 teams will compete at VIR in the weekend’s featured GT World Challenge America Saturday and Sunday doubleheader.



The two-car DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 team seeks repeat double-podium weekends this season and at VIR.



In March’s COTA opener, George Kurtz and Colin Braun co-drove the No. 04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 to a pair of third place overall and second-place Pro-Am class finishes in each of the weekend’s 90-minute races.
 


The strong results have Kurtz and Braun second in the GT Pro-Am driver championship standings as the series returns to action with live coverage of both races on the CBS Sports Network (CBSSN). Round one coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday, July 11, with the weekend’s second and final 90-minute race live on CBSSN at 1 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 12.



Last year’s DXDT double podium at VIR started with a third-place Pro-Am finish in Saturday’s first race by David Askew and Ryan Dalziel co-driving the No. 63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. The next day, Kurtz and Braun brought the No. 04 across the finish line second in Pro-Am.
 
 
 
The third Mercedes-AMG GT3 entry set for VIR is from Winward Racing, which debuted in the top-tier GT World Challenge division at COTA. Full-season driver Russell Ward shares the No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 at VIR with Kris Wilson, a one-race substitute for Bryce Ward, the regular full-season co-driver and Russell Ward’s father.
 


The Mercedes-AMG GT4 competes in Pirelli GT4 America that features both the single-driver Sprint championship and two-driver SprintX division. Each category will run the standard doubleheader format at VIR in addition to a third Sunday sprint for each division to make up for races cancelled in the last few months.



Wilson is set for double duty at VIR as his Mercedes-AMG GT3 ride with Winward will be in addition to his full-season SprintX debut with co-driver John Allen in the No. 16 Rearden Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4. Pro-Am GT4 championship contenders last year, Allen and Wilson have made the switch to both the Mercedes-AMG GT4 and Rearden for 2020.
 


Another Mercedes-AMG GT4 debut in the Pirelli series comes from Chris Gumprecht driving his own No. 79 CG Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the weekend’s Sprint races.
 
 
 
The third and final weekend of competition in July’s return to racing is the IMSA event at Sebring, July 16 – 18, which will see Mercedes-AMG GT4 competitors in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge restart their series alongside the featured IMSA WeatherTech Championship race.



Robinson and Aschenbach return that weekend as the most recent GTD race winners on the legendary Sebring circuit. In their first race with Riley Motorsports, the No. 74 Mercedes-AMG GT3 co-drivers led a team and Mercedes-AMG Motorsport customer racing win sweep of last November’s Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore four-hour race at Sebring.



The No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 of co-drivers Jim Cox and Dylan Murry secured a dominant victory in the GT4 class and joined Robinson and Aschenbach on the winner’s podium at the Encore.
 


Cox and Murry return to Sebring as the most recent GT4 race winners at the track and in the 2020 Michelin Pilot Challenge series. Along with endurance race teammate Jeroen Bleekemolen, Cox, Murry and the No. 35 team won January’s season-opening four-hour at Daytona, the only Michelin Pilot Challenge race run thus far in 2020.
 
 
 
The No. 35 team’s Daytona victory anchored the first 1-2-3 finish for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 in worldwide competition. The winners were followed across the finish line by the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 of co-drivers Bryce Ward and Philip Ellis and the team’s sister No. 4 entry of Russell Ward and Indy Dontje.
 


The Winward team and drivers look for more success at Sebring, as does the two-car Mercedes-AMG GT4 effort from Murillo Racing.
 


The No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Jeff Mosing and Eric Foss ran in tight formation up front with the Riley and Winward cars at Daytona, only to drop from contention late in the race.
 


Mosing and Foss look to rebound at Sebring where they will compete alongside the sister No. 65 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 entry of Brent Mosing and Tim Probert.
 
 



Sebring’s featured IMSA WeatherTech Championship race airs live on NBCSN Saturday, July 18 at 5:30 p.m. EDT.



- Adam Saal - photos Mercedes

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03.07.2020 / MaP

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