Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing brings another record number of entries to SRO America at Road America this weekend
– ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin
Another record number of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing entries, with a combined dozen Mercedes-AMG GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT4 teams competing across three SRO America racing series, compete on the four-mile Road America circuit this weekend, August 27 - 29. The even split of six Mercedes-AMG GT3 and six Mercedes-AMG GT4 teams totals one more than the previous record turnout of 11 Mercedes-AMG Motorsport customer teams that entered the most recent SRO America event weekends at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) in July and Circuit of The Americas (COTA) last May. The Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, Pirelli GT4 America and GT America powered by AWS series each run doubleheader race schedules Saturday and Sunday at Road America, which is the fourth full-event weekend of the 2021 SRO America season.
Once again anchoring the GT3 ranks is the five-strong Mercedes-AMG GT3 lineup from DXDT Racing that competes in both the top-tier Fanatec GT World Challenge and the new-for-2021 GT America series.
It's another Mercedes-AMG GT3 team, however, that secured the top race win of the GT World Challenge season for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing one race ago at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR).
Russell Ward and Mikael Grenier co-drove the No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 to their first GT World Challenge victory in the Sunday finale at VIR. The overall win from the pole was also the first for Winward in GT World Challenge competition and the first of the season in the top-level Pro class for a Mercedes-AMG Motorsport customer team.
Ward and Grenier look to build on their recent success at Road America along with a DXDT Mercedes-AMG GT3 team that also broke through for its first World Challenge victory at VIR.
In their first year of GT3 competition together, co-drivers Erin Vogel and Michael Cooper secured their first GT World Challenge Pro-Am class race win in their No. 19 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Saturday at VIR.
The No. 19 team's victory is the third Pro-Am triumph of the season for DXDT following a pair of wins by George Kurtz and Colin Braun at the beginning of the year in the No. 04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. Kurtz and Braun secured a race win in each of the season-opening weekends of competition at Sonoma Raceway and COTA and come to Road America determined to secure more victories.
The third DXDT Racing Pro-Am entry is the No. 63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 co-driven by team principal David Askew and Ryan Dalziel. The No. 63 team and drivers look to build on a season-best showing of second place in race one at Sonoma, with what they aim to be their first victory of the season this weekend at VIR.
The powerhouse DXDT Racing team also fields a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT3 entries in the single-driver GT America powered by AWS series. Kurtz wheels a second No. 04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in GT America where he competes alongside teammate CJ Moses in the No. 58 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Kurtz swept the season-opening GT America doubleheader at Sonoma and is second in the top-level SRO3 championship standings coming into Road America.
Moses completes DXDT's Mercedes-AMG GT3 lineup and steps into his No. 58 at Road America for his third full weekend of competition in his very first season in GT3.
The six Mercedes-AMG GT4 teams entered at Road America is an all-time high in SRO America competition since the car began competing fulltime in North America in 2018.
The lineup includes two teams fresh off victories at VIR, a team fielding three entries in both Pirelli GT4 and GT America and the return of a familiar Mercedes-AMG GT4 entrant with a new name.
Setting the stage for Winward's similar performance on Sunday, Christian Szymczak and Kenny Murillo co-drove the No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 to the first overall Pirelli GT4 America victory of the season for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 Saturday at VIR.
The VIR victory was also their third Pirelli GT4 Silver-class win of 2021, and Szymczak, Murillo and the No. 72 Murillo team arrive at Road America leading the Silver class driver and team championship standings by 13 points.
The other VIR Pirelli GT4 winner was the No. 16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 team, and co-drivers John Allen and Kris Wilson, that broke through for their first Am-class victory of the season.
The Capstone team heads to Road America as one of four Mercedes-AMG GT4 teams entering their cars in both the two-driver Pirelli GT4 series and the single driver GT America championship.
Allen shares the No. 16 with Wilson for the weekend's pair of 60-minute Pirelli GT4 races in addition to driving solo in the Capstone Mercedes-AMG GT4 for the twin 40-minute GT America races.
RENNtech Motorsports also pulls series double duty at Road America with all three of its Mercedes-AMG GT4 entries.
Earlier this month in the Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, first-year SRO America driver, Chris Cagnazzi, won the GT America GT4 class race in his No. 39 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4. The victory was the first for Cagnazzi in a Mercedes-AMG GT4 in just his third weekend of SRO America series competition.
Cagnazzi looks for repeat GT America wins this weekend in Wisconsin in addition to competing with coach and co-driver Guy Cosmo in the RENNtech No. 39 in the Pirelli GT4 doubleheader.
Another RENNtech competitor to secure a victory this season in GT America is Ross Chouest who won the GT4 class in the Saturday race at COTA. Chouest, who also competes in Pirelli GT4 in the No. 89 this weekend with co-driver Aaron Povoledo, scored the COTA win during his second weekend of SRO America Championships competition.
Debuting RENNtech driver Chris Gumprecht is set for his first SRO America race starts of the season competing in both GT America and Pirelli GT4 in his No. 79 C.G. Racing/RENNtech Mercedes-AMG GT4. Gumprecht co-drives with race and championship-winning sports car driver Kyle Marcelli who will make his first race starts in a Mercedes-AMG GT4.
Conquest Racing West has campaigned Mercedes-AMG GT4 entries the last few seasons as the Atlantic Racing Team, but now has new ownership in part by former driver and long-time team owner Eric Bachelart. The team competes under the new Conquest Racing West name with the young driver pairing of Michai Stephens and Colin Mullan in the No. 35 Conquest Racing West Mercedes-AMG GT4.
Following a full day of practice Friday and qualifying for all series Saturday morning, the weekend's schedule of six races begins Saturday afternoon at Road America.
Pirelli GT4 starts the racing off with its first one-hour race at 11:15 a.m. CDT.
The first GT World Challenge 90-minute race of the weekend follows at 1:15 p.m. CDT before GT America wraps up the Saturday schedule with a 4:15 p.m. CDT green flag for its first 40-minute race.
Sunday's final day of competition at Road America begins with the second GT America race at 8:30 a.m. CDT. Pirelli GT4 America follows at 10:45 a.m. CDT for its second of two races that set the stage for the featured and final GT World Challenge race that closes out the weekend with a 2:15 p.m. CDT start.
Sunday's GT World Challenge America race will be featured in live coverage on the CBS Sports Network (CBSSN) beginning at 3 p.m. EDT in addition to worldwide livestreaming of all of the Road America weekend races on the SRO GT World YouTube channel.
Russell Ward, Driver – No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: "We're pretty confident. The crew is ready. We've been working the last couple of months to figure out how we can get faster, and I'm sure our main competitors have been doing the same thing. They are a tough team too. It's going to be an interesting race. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be good at Road America, but so will the competition. I think this place suits both of our cars pretty well. I was here a few weeks ago for IMSA race and did the fastest lap of the race in our Mercedes-AMG GT4. I think it helps having been here so recently, especially because the race was in the rain for us. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 and GT4 are quite a bit different, but they share the same chassis, so they'll perform similarly in the rain as far as where the line is and stuff like that. This track is a lot about rhythm, too, especially in the second sector. The first sector you have a lot of straightaways, but the second sector is a real rhythm-based track, so if you've been driving here a lot recently it's much easier to get in the rhythm and go fast. I love this place, I'm fast here and we're ready to rock."
Ryan Dalziel, Driver – No. 63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: "I feel like it's been forever since we last raced our DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, so to say I'm excited to get back to work would be an understatement. Road America is a great track not just for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 but for me. We had a pole last year and I hope we can back that up this year with a win."
Michael Cooper, Driver – No. 19 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: "We're lucky to be able to compete at a number of great tracks such as Road America. It will be nice to come back from the summer break with some momentum on our side from our victory at the last round of the championship at VIR. After a solid test I'm looking forward to getting back to racing with Erin and DXDT this coming weekend."
Guy Cosmo, Driver – No. 39 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4: "I think the Nashville win will be a huge confidence booster for Chris. He performed so well in Nashville and I'm so disappointed I couldn't have been there with him that weekend, but he did us proud! Chris has really, really been impressive this year. With this being the first year I've ever worked with him, I was really impressed with his skill level as a person who started racing later in life. As a gentleman driver, he's really a good driver. I have to say, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 is such a huge factor, in my opinion. Having spent all the time I have in this car, and working with drivers in various series, it's one of the most user-friendly race cars I've ever been in. It's a huge benefit for the gentlemen drivers to get comfortable and build their confidence because they're not dealing with any quirks or characteristics of the car itself that I feel like other vehicles have inherently built into them. This car is just proper, and it's proper in every way. It just works, and it conveys information very well. It's really confidence inspiring. I think we've got the right pairing on several levels to make a great run this weekend."
John Allen, Driver – No. 16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4: "It's been a couple of months since I was in a race car. I missed our Road America test, and we really haven't had any SRO races. So, we just thought it would be beneficial for me settling back in to get some extra seat time competing in Pirelli GT4 with Kris and going solo in GT America. We've struggled with keeping our primary car and our backup car both working properly, but we won the Sunday race at VIR in a backup car. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 is a comfortable platform. It's our second season in it, even though 2020 was shortened by COVID and then I had an incident where I got taken out right here at Road America. It's going to be nice to get a full weekend in this year at Road America."
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