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27 March 2020

The DXDT Racing duo of Colin Braun and George Kurtz scored a couple of second place Pro/Am division finishes to open the GT World Challenge America 2020 season at Circuit of The Americas and the #04 Mercedes-AMG GT3 team currently sits second in the driver's championship. Braun is a title-winning pro driver who has competed at the top levels of motorsports and holds the distinction of being the youngest driver to stand on the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as being the holder of the fastest lap ever recorded at Daytona International Speedway. We caught up with Braun for this edition of Driver Download and discovered that while going fast on four-wheels is what he's known for, he has a love for most anything propelled on wheels.

How was COTA? 
George drove really well and the DXDT team performed great. George put a big effort in the off-season to go and do some extra racing to stay sharp and focused, and that paid off! We knew after the 2019 season we had a lot to build off of and a good plan for the off season to make some gains, and executing that at COTA was very satisfying for the group! Crowdstrike had a big group of folks there to support us and it is always fun performing well in front of them and seeing the smiles!

How did you get into racing? 
I got into racing when I was about five-years-old. My dad was an engineer in racing and so as a young boy I thought what he did was really cool and exciting (how could you not when you are a kid, everyone wants to be a racer car driver at that age) and we started in go-karts and quarter midgets and just climbed up the ladder!

What is your favorite racing memory?
Whew, tough one! Hard to pick one favorite memory. I would have to say winning my first Daytona 24hr race in 2014 was pretty huge!

What’s the story behind your helmet design? 
My dad engineered a driver named Fermin Velez in a Ferrari 33SP and at that time I was racing in karts and I really looked up to Fermin so I somewhat modeled my helmet paint after him. Also my dad did some racing when he was young and always had black helmets, so I incorporated some of that into my design too! I have a C shape to my design on each side of my helmet to represent my first letter in my name. It has evolved over the years but still is pretty much the same concept!

Tell us something interesting about you that fans may not know of or a hidden talent? 
Hmmm… Hidden talent would probably be I can ride a unicycle pretty darn well! (Editor's note - Colin is also into cycling and rides a motorcycle)
If you could invite three people to dinner (living or dead) who would it be and why? 
I would invite Ayrton Senna, Dale Earnhardt Sr., and Tom Hanks to dinner. I think that mix of people would be fascinating. Tom seems like such a good communicator and I would love to be a part of talking to a few legends of racing from two different backgrounds! 

You’ve raced and won in everything from NASCAR Trucks, to Prototypes and GT3 sportscars. Growing up your racing heroes were A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti because they were successful racing whatever they jumped into. Why do you think you’ve been successful in whatever you’ve raced? 
I think that is because I have been exposed to so many different kinds of cars that I had to adapt to. I was always in the position to need to figure out how to go fast in anything and do it quickly. It was always a need for instant results right away! Then once you start to drive so many different kinds of car it just starts to build on itself. The more you’ve driven the more you can draw from and that vast experience is what allows me to jump in any car and have some aspects of each car be similar to aspects of cars I have driven in the past!
You have the fastest lap ever recorded at Daytona International Speedway (222.971 mph). What’s it like to drive over 222 miles per hour? 
Wow, that was crazy! It was a really cool experience to be a part of that but it was a lot harder that it may have looked.  We had some really smart engineers from Ford & Mike Shank’s team all there to try and figure out how to do this! At the end of the day, the Roush Yates guys just turned up the power levels on the engine and that was the easiest way to go fast! It was much more on edge to drive than I was hoping it was going to be, but I guess when you are going that fast you should probably expect that!