Third Consecutive Win Sweep for Mercedes-AMG® Motorsport Customer Racing teams in the GT America

May 23rd, 2024 by

CrowdStrike by Riley and CRP Racing combined to secure the third consecutive win sweep for Mercedes-AMG® Motorsport Customer Racing teams in the GT America powered by AWS series this weekend at Circuit of The Americas. Jason Daskalos drove the No. 27 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG® GT3 to a series-leading fourth win of the season in Saturday’s first 40-minute sprint while George Kurtz captured his third 2024 GT America victory in Sunday’s final race.

Daskalos climbed from sixth on the starting grid for the Saturday win to extend his GT America championship lead, but Kurtz closed the points gap with a flag-to-flag victory from the pole on Sunday.

The COTA sweep follows a double-win weekend for Kurtz earlier this month at Sebring International Raceway and a similar one-two win weekend for Daskalos in April at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The six-straight wins on the Long Beach, Sebring and COTA weekends were preceded by a victory by Daskalos in the season-opening sprint at Sonoma Raceway in March. At the halfway point of the season, Mercedes-AMG® maintains a comfortable title defense as the reigning GT America Manufacturer Champion on the strength of CrowdStrike’s and CRP’s series stranglehold of seven wins in the first eight races of the scheduled 16-rounds.

In Sunday’s GT America race, Kurtz led a strong run of five Mercedes-AMG® GT3 teams in the top five. Season-best results were turned in by Ross Chouest in fourth in the No. 50 Chouest Povoledo Racing Mercedes-AMG® GT3 and fifth-place finisher Marc Austin in the No. 11 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG® GT3. Austin’s top-five result was earned in his first race weekend of the year after last appearing in GT America with Lone Star in the 2023 finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

His GT America win, and third-place finish, were part of a hard-earned, podium-perfect weekend for Kurtz and his teammate Colin Braun. Kurtz started fifth in Saturday’s GT America race but climbed to second place before taking the checkered flag in third after a repairable rear suspension issue slowed the No. 04 in the closing minutes.

Kurtz and Braun in turn co-drove to a pair of Fanatec GT World Challenge America Pro-Am class podium showings in the weekend’s 90-minute races, including a charge from the back of the pack in Saturday’s first race. Kurtz was forced off course in a Turn 1 melee at the race start and rejoined in last place. He charged through the field, picking up several places before handing off to Braun, who completed the rebound with a late pass for the final podium spot.

The third-place finishes both Saturday and Sunday keep Kurtz, Braun and the No. 04 squad firmly in the thick of the battle for the GT World Challenge Pro-Am driver and team championships with six of the year’s 13 races in the books.

The SRO America season now takes its traditional two-month early-summer pause with Mercedes-AMG® Motorsport customer teams next returning to action in GT World Challenge, GT America and Pirelli GT4 series competition at VIRginia International Raceway, July 19 – 21.

Next up for Mercedes-AMG® Motorsport customer teams in North America is the IMSA weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, June 7 – 9, that features a four-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge endurance race on Sunday.

George Kurtz, Driver – No. 04 CrowdStrike by Riley Mercedes-AMG® GT3: “It was incredibly important to keep the GT America lead on Sunday, particularly with a caution filled race. We knew we had the pace, we had the pole, we just needed to keep our heads down and execute. It was a big points day for us, and we will see how it all shakes out. With the better days we have and with the worst days the others have, maybe we can get back in this GT America championship. The CrowdStrike and the Riley guys are never going to give up. With wins – which is what we need, not podiums – we have a shot. We have a good Mercedes-AMG® GT3, we have a good team and we have got the pace. We earned every podium this weekend. I think we ended up the best we could, given the current performance of the other car manufacturers. We did our best, and we didn’t leave anything on the table, which is the most important.”

Colin Braun, Driver – No. 04 CrowdStrike by Riley Mercedes-AMG® GT3: “In the end, I think it was great to come away with the podiums and pick up some good points. We had a strong Mercedes-AMG® GT3, we did what we could the entire weekend. We made big gains every time we went out, from the driving side and getting the car dialed in, so to come away with some podiums for us was a really good job. George did a great job, it was obviously a tough break at the start on Saturday, nothing he could do, but he fought back and started making some passes. It put us back in the mix, we had a good stop, I jumped in and was able to keep on pushing. These kind of days are the ones that contribute to championships, when you come out of lap one dead last and then charge back to the podium.”

Jason Daskalos, Driver – No. 27 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG® GT3: “That was tough. We were racing flat out. I was just trying to keep pace with the leader on Saturday. My car was a little better in the beginning, it went away from me in the middle but actually came back in the end. I saw George was coming but I knew if I just hit my marks and didn’t make a mistake, I had him. It was a shame he broke on the last lap. That’s always heartbreaking, but it was a great day for us, and we will take the win. It was hot but I just focused on driving, hitting my marks, and the CRP Racing guys gave me a great car. I am lucky to be with such a great team.”

Marc Austin, Driver – No. 11 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG® GT3: “I’m really happy with the finish. It was a tough, tough race, a lot of cautions, so we really didn’t get a lot of clear time to run, but the car ran great, and everything was prepared perfectly. I just raced and watched what was going on out there, and it was kind of crazy! We are looking at select races coming up to keep the momentum going. Top to bottom, Lone Star Racing is one of the best organizations at what they do, and they know the Mercedes-AMG® platform and program very well. On top of that, the customer racing program at Mercedes-AMG® is by far the best in the world. They really take good care of us.”

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