Austin, Texas - Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing team DXDT Racing secured three top-five overall races finishes – including a pair of third-place overall podium showings by George Kurtz and Colin Braun in the new No. 04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 – in the season-opening race of the GT World Challenge America Presented by AWS this weekend at Circuit of The Americas (COTA).
Kurtz and Braun co-drove to the third-place overall finishes in each of the weekend’s 90-minute races on Saturday and Sunday while also securing second-place Pro-Am-class finishes in both races.
The No. 04 team’s podium sweep anchored a strong weekend for the two-car DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 team. In Sunday’s race, DXDT team owner and driver David Askew and teammate Ryan Dalziel co-drove to a top-five finish in the No. 63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
The No. 63’s Sunday result also secured fourth in the Pro-Am class in what was an impressive rebound performance by Askew, Dalziel and DXDT. A pair of contact incidents knocked the No. 63 from contention in the late stages of Saturday’s first race, but the repaired Mercedes-AMG GT3 ran competitively throughout Sunday’s finale.
A third Mercedes-AMG GT3 entry form Winward Racing for the father-and-son driver line-up of Bryce Ward and Russell Ward also made its debut at COTA.
The Wards co-drove the No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 to a seventh-place Pro-Am finish on Saturday while also placing ninth overall.
In a turn of bad luck, Winward was forced to withdraw the No. 33 car from Sunday’s race, after damage underneath the car was discovered following Saturday’s race. With the Winward team based only three hours away, the team elected to move the No. 33 car back to the team shop to repair in preparation for its next race.
A pair of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams also competed in the weekend’s season-opening Pirelli GT4 America races at COTA.
Seasoned 2019 Pirelli GT4 America race winners Matt Fassnacht and Christian Szymczak showed competitive pace throughout the weekend in the No. 34 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4, but ultimately fell victim to a string of bad luck.
Competing in the two-driver Pirelli GT4 America Sprint X series, Fassnacht passed six cars on the opening lap of Saturday’s first 60-minute race only to be knocked from contention in a multiple car incident two laps later.
A similar surge to the front by both drivers in Sunday’s finale was cut short when the No. 34 suffered from a pair of broken wheel studs and was retired five laps short of the finish.
Jeff Courtney made his Mercedes-AMG GT4 debut in the single-driver Pirelli GT4 Sprint series at COTA. Driving the No. 99 RecStuff Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4, Courtney finished seventh in the Am class in each of the weekend’s 50-minute races on Saturday and Sunday.
Next up for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams in SRO Americas competition is the Pirelli GT4 America Sprint doubleheader this weekend, March 13 – 15, at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
The GT World Challenge America Presented by AWS season resumes May 15 – 17 with Rounds 3 and 4 of the championship at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
George Kurtz, Driver – No. 04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “I think we did exactly what we wanted to do this weekend. We came out and got a lot of points in our first time in the new Mercedes-AMG GT3. It’s a great platform, Mercedes-AMG makes a great car, and I think the drivability has been improved. It’s smoother and more consistent. We are really excited to have a new car this year and were delighted to get it for this race. We really appreciate the support from Mercedes-AMG. The car was very well prepared, and the DXDT team did a great job on all of the pit stops. It really is a team effort and kudos to everybody involved. We’ll build on this, we have some momentum, we feel good, and a lot of that extra preparation and hard work in the off season I think is going to pay off for us.”
Colin Braun, Driver – No. 04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “Everyone at DXDT did a great job preparing for this season. We have the new Evo kit with this Mercedes-AMG GT3, which I think is helpful, certainly for my driving style. It fits my style a little bit better. Our car was really good, and our guys did a great job in the office season and all this week to come up with a package that is drivable. George worked hard in the off season doing some extracurricular racing and all of that paid off. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 comes so dialed in. We basically unloaded the car off the plane and came straight to the race track. It still takes some time and long nights to get ready for any season, but the team did a great job getting the new car ready to go race.”
Ryan Dalziel, Driver – No. 63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “It’s a nice field, nearly all of the GT3 cars all have similar driver line-ups with the new Pro-Am format. For DXDT Racing to finish second and fourth Sunday in class, and third and fifth overall, is a step forward from where we were last year. So much of its qualifying and we will work on starting further up on the race grids. We should have been higher, but we started seventh, did our best and rallied forward, and David had a great closing stint. So did George in the No. 04 car. It was a great day for Mercedes-AMG, and next time we will get the win.”
Russell Ward, Driver – No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “This is kind of a home race for us here at Circuit of The Americas. We love coming here, and it is awesome to share a Mercedes-AMG GT3 with my Dad in our first race in top-level GT World Challenge America competition. It was a lot of fun but there is always incredible competition in any SRO GT3 series. It was a bit of a tough race for us in our first GT3 race in North America. We are still getting some things worked out, and COTA is a demanding race track. It is really physical, especially in the first and second sectors, and it can take a toll on the car. We finished but realized after the race we had a little bit of an issue, probably more driver induced than anything, and felt it was better to retire the car than continue. We have a big season ahead of us racing around the world. It doesn’t make sense to take a big risk at this stage, but it was a pleasure to be here and everyone welcomed us like family. We love working with SRO and our crew here at Winward Racing.”
Jeff Courtney, Driver – No. 99 RecStuff Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “It’s a new car to us, and after this weekend its obvious we have a lot to learn yet. Some of it is us in setting the car up and some of it is the BoP (Balance of Performance). We have got some new staff, and from that point, we gelled pretty well, and I am pretty happy with that. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 is fairly easy to drive, we need to build on that.”