Kurtz Among Honored Drivers in Sunday’s SRO Awards Celebration as Part of Mercedes-AMG’s Winning Effort in the Inaugural Global Blancpain GT World Challenge Manufacturer Championship
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – George Kurtz and Colin Braun closed out DXDT Racing’s first year of multi-car GT3 competition with a fifth-place Pro-Am class finish Saturday in the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/Accel/DXDT Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the season-ending Blancpain GT World Challenge America race weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS).
The season concluded Saturday with a day-night doubleheader on the on the 2.5-mile LVMS road course. Kurtz and Braun scored the top-five Pro-Am class finish in Saturday’s opening race and then persevered to the end in a challenging second 90-minute race that evening.
“It was a building season,” Kurtz said. “It was great to be in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 with DXDT Racing and CrowdStrike. We learned a lot. I was able to use the downforce of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 pretty well. I've spent a lot of time in high-downforce cars, so I think that was a positive, but I need to probably manage the weight of the car a little better, just to help the car turn. The nuance of the brake release and pedal is going to be important.”
Under the Saturday night Las Vegas lights, the No. 04 team endured a penalty and fading brakes on the challenging “roval” circuit in the late stages of the final race of the year.
Despite a seventh-place finish in the finale, Kurtz and Braun left Las Vegas pleased with their overall performance in 2019 in their first season together in GT3 competition.
“I'm certainly proud of all the guys at DXDT Racing and George,” Braun said. “Stepping up to a GT3 car, he did an excellent job this year. Our goal at the start of 2019 was to get as much experience as possible and make all the laps we could. We really had no issues or incidents that cut short our opportunity to learn. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is a great car, a great cornering car, and we have to keep working on it within the current Balance of Performance (BoP). Certainly, there's areas that we can improve and work on this off season in total, just like any team, but overall I'm really happy with the whole season and the job everyone did.”
At Sunday’s night’s international SRO Awards Celebration 2019, Kurtz represented America and his DXDT teammates on stage for the presentation of the global Blancpain GT World Challenge Manufacturer Championship awards to Mercedes-AMG.
The first-year international championship, which included the Blancpain World Challenge series in America, Europe and Asia, saw Mercedes-AMG edge Ferrari as the inaugural winners of this prestigious title.
Kurtz and Braun, and their DXDT Racing teammates David Askew and Ryan Dalziel, were the designated American series drivers to earn points for Mercedes-AMG in the successful championship campaign.
With DXDT Racing team owner and driver Askew committed to a sailing competition around the island of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea that began Saturday, the team’s No. 63 USALCO/DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 entry did not compete in the Las Vegas finale.
Askew’s co-driver Ryan Dalziel was at the track throughout the weekend, however, assisting his teammates with driver coaching, spotting and joining in on debrief and strategy sessions.
“I think there were a lot of positives this year,” Dalziel said. “We started a little shaky, and we finished a little shaky, but there was a lot of good momentum in the middle. Really, we had that summer break in the middle of the season that we just never regrouped after as a team. We had a couple of good qualifying runs, but David and I never really got back in the groove in the No. 63 car and couldn't convert the qualifying results into race wins.”
Dalziel and his teammates already look forward to the 2020 season and are ready to get to work.
“It was a tough year, but there were huge amounts of hard work from DXDT,” Dalziel said. “We had a really good group of guys here. We'll take what we learned, plan on getting turned around here pretty quickly and put on a good attack for 2020. We don't plan on having a long off season.”
Kurtz also had an early eye on 2020.
“I would say we made a lot of strides from the beginning of the year to the end of the year,” Kurtz said. “We'll look forward to a great 2020, and I think we'll continue to build in the off season. The team and the drivers can all put it together, and I think we'll have something to show for it in 2020.”