Two More Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Victories on Sunday Cap Outstanding Weekend

Two More Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Victories on Sunday Cap Outstanding Weekend

07.06.2021: ...of SRO America Championships Competition at VIRginia International Raceway Winward Racing Secures First Fanatec GT World Challenge Victory with Russell Ward and Mikael Grenier in No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Sunday at VIRginia International Raceway


...of SRO America Championships Competition at VIRginia International Raceway
 


Winward Racing Secures First Fanatec GT World Challenge Victory with Russell Ward and Mikael Grenier in No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Sunday at VIRginia International Raceway

 
 
 

 Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing team secured a breakout SRO America Championships race win for the second day in a row on Sunday afternoon at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR). Russell Ward and Mikael Grenier co-drove the No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 to their first Fanatec GT World Challenge presented by AWS race win.



The victory followed a win earlier Sunday morning by John Allen and Kris Wilson, who finished first in the Pirelli GT4 America Am class in the No. 16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4. Combined with Saturday’s strong results, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer teams secured four race wins with a total of nine podium finishes in a successful weekend of competition on the 3.27-mile VIR road course.



Winward, which is only halfway through its second year of GT World Challenge America competition, anticipated earlier this weekend that VIR might be the team’s breakout race.
 


Mikael Grenier, in his first North American race start with Winward, won the overall and Pro-class pole on Saturday in qualifying and took control of Sunday’s race from the drop of the green flag.
 
 
 
Grenier kept the lead through the majority of his race-opening stint, only giving up the top spot just a few laps before teams began to pit for their one and only stops of the race.
 


Ward took over from Grenier in the No. 33 team’s stop, returning to the race in second and in fast pursuit of the leader.


 
Ward pulled off the winning pass for the lead two laps into his shift and never looked back. He steadily opened up a comfortable gap on the competition and took the checkered flag 13.784 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
 


Two-time Pirelli GT4 Am-class race winners last year at VIR, Allen and Wilson came into Sunday’s race riding a string of podium finishes this season but still looking for their first victory of 2021 with the new Capstone team.
 


They pulled it off in Sunday’s second and final 60-minute Pirelli GT4 race of the VIR weekend. Allen was at the wheel for the green flag and turned some of his fastest laps of the weekend to keep the No. 16 in contention.
 


Wilson took over at the race’s halfway point and soon began to reel in the race leader. Both Allen and Wilson benefitted from caution periods during their stints, which prevented the competition from breaking away. After a restart, Wilson stepped up to challenge the leader and pulled off the winning pass with only a few minutes remaining in the race.
 
 
 
Sunday’s other Mercedes-AMG Motorsport customer team to reach victory lane was driven by Chris Cagnazzi in the No. 39 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4. Cagnazzi finished third in the GT4 class for the second-straight day in Sunday’s final 40-minute GT America presented by AWS race.
 


Winward’s victory came just one day after co-drivers Erin Vogel and Michael Cooper scored their first GT World Challenge Pro-Am class race win in their No. 19 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
 


The weekend’s other race winner was the No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 of co-drivers Christian Szymczak and Kenny Murillo. The No. 72 team and driver secured their third class win of the year Saturday while also taking overall honors in the Pirelli GT4 America race.
 


Next up for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams in the GT America powered by AWS series is the Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, Tennessee, August 6 – 8.



Both the GT World Challenge America powered by AWS and the Pirelli GT4 America series are idle for the majority of the summer. The next scheduled rounds for both championships is set for Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, August 27 – 29.
 
 
 
Russell Ward, Driver – No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “I
t’s taken us a year and a half to win a GT3 race in SRO, so it’s really sweet. Hats off to the team. Every race for this team is one step further forward. You can see when everything comes together, it’s just so sweet, and that’s what it’s all about. There are so many moving parts, and they made a lot of improvements on the car. You want to be on the same level playing field as everybody else in the series, which is why switching to the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo a couple of races ago was so important. Mercedes-AMG makes a great and reliable car that can withstand the heat out here.”
 



Mikael Grenier, Driver – No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3
: “I’m very happy. I know the Winward team already from the races we have done in Europe. I know our teammate Philip (Ellis) would have done very well too, but he was at Nürburgring this weekend. Thank you to the team for trusting me in his place this weekend. I think the key was the qualifying. We really had a good car over one lap, and I think this made a difference because it’s really tricky to pass here. Russell drove a very good stint with no mistakes, he was fast from the first session we did here on Wednesday. The car was very reliable, but the Mercedes-AMG GT3 is always reliable. It was very fast.”
 

 

John Allen, Driver – No. 16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4
: “It’s amazing that we’re in just our third race weekend in making Capstone Motorsports a reality as a new team and to have this kind of success. To have this kind of winning success early on is very gratifying. I feel like this weekend we fought incredibly hard to get this result because we had some obstacles in our way. The goal is to win the championship, and what happened here this weekend really fortified that base. We’re halfway done with the season, so to be where we are in the points right now is great. We are right where we need to be.”




Kris Wilson, Driver – No. 16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT
4: “We got a couple of yellows, one in John’s stint and one in my stint. That played into our strategy and helped us out in the race, but it was a tough weekend for the guys. They were here late every night. We had a little bit of an incident on the test day and some mechanical issues to work through the other day. We were trying to switch everything over from one car to a backup car, and the guys rallied to get I all done. It’s nice to get the win to give that back to them for all of the hard work. Capstone is a new team this year, but a lot of the guys are experienced with the Mercedes-AMG GT cars. We brought talent here and that’s what it takes: Good personnel.”
 
 

 
Adam Saal - photos Mercedes

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/two-mercedes-amg-victories-vir---224559.html

07.06.2021 / MaP

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