in Successful Weekend of SRO America Championships Competition at Circuit of The Americas
DXDT Racing Secures Mercedes-AMG GT3 Race Win while RENNtech Motorsports and Murillo Racing are Victorious with Mercedes-AMG GT4 Entries at Circuit of The Americas in Texas
Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams secured three race wins with a total of 11 podium finishes across three SRO America Championships racing series, during a successful weekend of competition at Circuit of The Americas (COTA). George Kurtz and Colin Braun co-drove the No. 04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 to a Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS Pro-Am class victory on Sunday. Mercedes-AMG GT4 teams RENNtech Motorsports and Murillo Racing split Saturday and Sunday GT4 class wins respectively, in GT America powered by AWS and Pirelli GT4 America SprintX series competition.
The Sunday victory by Kurtz and Braun was the second of the 2021 season for the No. 04 teammates. Later on Sunday, Kurtz solo drove a second DXDT Mercedes-AMG GT3 to a third-place class finish in the weekend-ending GT America race.
The pair of podium showings by DXDT was matched by Pro-class competitors Winward Racing with an overall podium result in each of the weekend’s 90-minute GT World Challenge races.
Co-drivers Russell Ward and Philip Ellis co-drove to a second-place finish in the No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in Saturday’s rain-soaked race. On Sunday, Ellis and Ward both led the race before finishing in third place.
The remainder of the COTA weekend’s podium finishes were secured by four of the five Mercedes-AMG GT4 teams entered for the COTA weekend.
RENNtech Motorsports won the GT4 class in Saturday’s opening GT America round of the weekend, with driver Ross Chouest in the No. 89 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4.
The victory was the first for Chouest in only his second weekend of SRO America Championships competition. However, he and his RENNtech teammates didn’t stop there -- Chouest solo-drove to a second-place finish in Sunday’s GT America final round, then joined his coach and co-driver Aaron Povoledo in the No. 89 Mercedes-AMG GT4 for a pair of third-place Pro-Am finishes on Saturday and Sunday in the 60-minute Pirelli GT4 America races.
Debuting RENNtech and SRO driver Chris Ragnazzi also got in on the podium action. Ragnazzi joined Chouest in GT America victory lane Saturday after a third place GT4 class finish in his No. 39 RENNtech Mercedes-AMG GT3.
The weekend’s other race winner was the No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Christian Szymczak and Kenny Murillo, which charged from 16th on the grid of Sunday’s Pirelli GT4 America race to the Silver class victory and second-place overall finish. The win was the second of the season for the No. 72 team and drivers following a Silver-class win at Sonoma Raceway in March.
Capstone Motorsports and co-drivers John Allen and Kris Wilson maintained their podium momentum at COTA with a second place Am-class finish in the wet on Saturday in the No. 16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4. The No. 16 team and drivers also secured a pair of podium finishes at the Sonoma opener.
Next up for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams in SRO America Championships competition is the third event of the 2021 season at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) June 4 – 6.
Colin Braun, Driver – No. 04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: "Great job by the DXDT Racing team. We had a tough week, had a really fast car Friday but had to go to a back-up car. It was good of SRO to let us go to another car. The DXDT guys did a great job getting it ready, which was no small feat. I'm really happy to come through Sunday and get the win. Our Mercedes-AMG GT3 was tough. I had a bit of contact at the start, and did a little damage to the front, but it held on and didn't hurt our performance much. George drove an amazing final stint. He's worked really hard at the craft and it shows. Starts, restarts, we've talked about all of that a lot, that's where it happens usually. He was able to get by on a restart and then just put his head down. Seeing him hold off some Pro cars was pretty darn cool. I'm really proud of George and proud of the guys.”
Russell Ward, Driver – No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “Philip did a great job. He pulled a big gap in Sunday’s race, and I think if the safety car hadn’t come out it would be a different story. We struggled out there with the heat. We had a lot of pickup on the tires on the restart. I think we had a winning package today, unfortunately things didn’t go our way, but the car is good, it’s in one piece, and we’re looking forward to Virginia International Raceway. Virginia is one of my favorite tracks, I’ve been on pole there in IMSA, and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Philip Ellis, Driver – No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “It’s great to be back here. I love racing here overseas in America. I think it’s always great racing these guys. The battle to the end for us as drivers was great fun, but also for the viewers, it’s exactly what they’re looking for in a race. It’s good, hard battling and it’s just on edge, but it’s not over the edge. I think we were already knocking on the door for a win Sunday, and I think everyone in the paddock knows it’s just a matter of time.”
Ross Chouest, Driver – No. 89 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4: “RENNtech and Mercedes-AMG gave us a great car to work with. It was really competitive out there. My co-driver and coach Aaron Povoledo did an awesome job. He was quickest on track and put in an amazing drive all weekend. We have really great chemistry on the team, and everything went really well. It was a bit of a rollercoaster with lots of ups and downs, but we had four podiums including one win, so we will take that.”
Christian Szymczak, Driver – No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “We’re super happy. We didn’t think we could do this well starting where we did down in 16th, so we were lucky. I just kind of survived and felt like I did my job and gave the car to Kenny and he did a fantastic job. We’re super happy to be in contention. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 was fantastic. It sticks to the ground really well. It stays under you for the whole race distance, which is the great thing about it. It handles the fast sweepers really well.”
Kris Wilson, Driver – No. 16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4: “Second is always good. It’s not P1, but it’s next best, I guess. We were here last weekend on track, so we got some setup work done, and had a good head start into the weekend. The weather conditions were intermittent through Saturday, so you didn’t know if you needed to have a dry or wet setup or what was going to happen during the session. We were, if not the quickest, one of the quickest when it was full wet. It was working great in full wet, and the electronics worked really well on the Mercedes-AMG GT4.”