DANVILLE, Virginia – Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams lead three class championships and are in top-three contention in six other points battles heading into the mid-season SRO America Championships weekend at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR), June 4 – 6. A record-tying combined entry of five Mercedes-AMG GT3 and five Mercedes-AMG GT4 teams compete across three different SRO racing series this weekend on the 3.27-mile road course in Southern Virginia. 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 in the third event weekend of the 2021 SRO America season.
The record Virginia entry matches the 10 Mercedes-AMG Motorsport customer competitors that entered last month’s SRO America weekend of competition at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Texas.
As it was at COTA, the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport customer lineup is evenly split between five Mercedes-AMG GT3 entries and five Mercedes-AMG GT4 teams.
Anchoring the GT3 ranks is the four-strong Mercedes-AMG GT3 entry from DXDT Racing, competing in both the top-tier Fanatec GT World Challenge and the new-for-2021 GT America series.
Third year DXDT driver George Kurtz is the current SRO3-class GT America Championship leader in the No. 04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. Kurtz swept the season-opening doubleheader at Sonoma Raceway in March and placed third in the weekend’s second race at COTA, building a five-point lead in the GT America SRO3 standings coming into VIR.
Kurtz also competes in the No. 04 Mercedes-AMG GT4 with long-time co-driver Colin Braun in the Pro-Am class of the Fanatec GT World Challenge America series.
The No. 04 duo is second in the Pro-Am championship standings, just seven points out of first place, after picking up a race win in each of the season-opening weekends of competition at Sonoma and COTA. Kurtz and Braun also co-drove to their first overall GT World Challenge victory last year at VIR.
Third in the current Pro-Am GT World Challenge points race is the No. 63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of David Askew and Ryan Dalziel. The No. 63 team and drivers look to build on a season-best showing of second place in Sonoma’s first GT World Challenge race with their first victory of the season this weekend at VIR.
A third DXDT Racing entry competes in GT World Challenge this year with the duo of Erin Vogel and Michael Cooper in the No. 19 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. Vogel and Cooper finished fourth in Pro-Am in Sonoma’s second race and look for their first World Challenge podium showing together at VIR.
Completing DXDT’s GT3 lineup at VIR is team driver CJ Moses, making his second race start in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT America doubleheader.
The DXDT armada is also a factor in the team championships in both Fanatec GT World Challenge and GT America SRO3, merely one point out of first place in both team title battles.
The fifth Mercedes-AMG GT3 competing at VIR is the all-Pro No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, seeking its third-straight GT World Challenge podium result this weekend. Full-season driver Russell Ward partners with Mikael Grenier, making his first North American start with the team after competing with Ward and his regular GT World Challenge America co-driver Philip Ellis in GT World Challenge Europe competition.
The No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4, and team co-drivers Christian Szymczak and Kenny Murillo, lead two Pirelli GT4 America championships coming into VIR.
After two wins and a second-place finish in three of the year’s first four races, the No. 72 team and its driving duo lead the Pirelli GT4 Silver-class team and driver championship standings by four points.
Another Pirelli GT4 title contender is the No. 16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 of co-drivers John Allen and Kris Wilson. The No. 16 team and drivers are currently third in the Pirelli GT4 Am-class standings after opening the season with three-straight second-place finishes.
RENNtech Motorsports completes the Mercedes-AMG GT4 entries at VIR with an expanded team for the second-straight race.
Following their co-driving debut at Sonoma, Ross Chouest and Aaron Povoledo had a breakout weekend of Pirelli GT4 and GT America competition at COTA in the No. 89 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4.
Chouest won the GT4 class in Saturday’s first 40-minute GT America race at COTA in the No. 89 in only his second weekend of SRO America Championships competition.
Chouest backed the win up with a second place GT4 finish in Sunday’s GT America final round at COTA and also joined his coach and co-driver Povoledo for a pair of third-place Pro-Am finishes in the No. 89 on Saturday and Sunday in the 60-minute Pirelli GT4 races.
Debuting RENNtech and SRO driver Chris Cagnazzi joined Chouest in GT America victory lane Saturday at COTA after a third place GT4 class finish in his No. 39 RENNtech Mercedes-AMG GT3. Cagnazzi competes in GT America again this weekend at VIR, in addition to Pirelli GT Pro-Am competition with coach and co-driver Guy Cosmo.
RENNtech now expands to a three-car program at VIR with returning series driver Chris Gumprecht bringing his C.G. Racing program under the RENNtech tent. Gumprecht focuses on the single-driver GT America doubleheader in his No. 79 C.G. Racing/RENNtech 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 COTA.
Pirelli GT4 America’s first 60-minute sprint kicks the racing off Saturday at 11:30 a.m. EDT. The first 90-minute Fanatec World Challenge race of the weekend follows with a 1:15 p.m. EDT race start while the opening 40-minute GT America sprint race closes out the first day of racing action with a 4:50 p.m. EDT green flag.
Sunday’s schedule begins with the GT America finale at 9:10 a.m. EDT. The final Pirelli GT4 America follows at 11:10 a.m. EDT before the GT World Challenge series closes out its weekend with a 1:45 p.m. EDT start for its second 90-minute race.
Sunday’s GT World Challenge America race will be featured in live coverage on the CBS Sports Network (CBSSN) beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT.
Saturday morning qualifying and all six weekend races livestream free worldwide on the SRO GT World YouTube channel.
The weekend schedule, live timing and scoring, as well as session reports and one-stop video viewing for GT World Challenge, are available at gt-world-challenge-america.com.
David Askew, Driver – #63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “I'm so happy to get back to VIR. I just love the place. It's literally the ‘greenest’ track on the planet. Since we've moved the DXDT Racing shop to North Carolina, and being 2.5 hours away, it's kind of become ‘our’ home track. We've tested a bunch, including just a few weeks ago, and the Mercedes-AMG GT3 is usually pretty strong at VIR. What I'm most looking forward to is the return of fans in the paddock! They really add a lot to the experience, and it's been weird without them.”
Ryan Dalziel, Driver – #63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “The circuit at VIR is one of my favorite tracks. It’s a favorable layout for the Mercedes- AMG GT3, so we are looking forward to a good race for the No. 63 car. We have had an up-and-down season so far, so we really need to get our championship back on track and have a good, solid and trouble-free weekend. We had a great test here last month and David ran his fastest laps ever at VIR, so I feel good about our weekend in advance.”
Colin Braun, Driver – No. 04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “Last year’s win with George at VIR really set us on a course where we feel like we can win every time out. It’s amazing to look back at the last year to see how we all have continued to progress. Everyone on this program takes every opportunity to learn. It’s a team effort that continues to pay off with race victories. It shows how the work and effort we put into our racing pays off. We are finding our stride as a team. They all have a focus and determination that is unmatched. George has also done an amazing job this year. It’s been fun to see him improve over the years, and I think he’s really coming into his own on the track. The DXDT team has done an outstanding job preparing our Mercedes-AMG GT3 this year. The Mercedes-AMG has been an outstanding platform for us to work with, very confidence inspiring and straightforward to drive. This consistency is key. Those things combined have certainly led to our success so far in 2021.”
Mikael Grenier, Driver – No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “I am happy to race with Russell Ward and Winward this weekend at VIR. I am also racing in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 with them in Europe, driving with Russell and Philip Ellis in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup. But this weekend will be the first time racing with them in North America for me with their crew from the U.S. We will give our maximum to bring some points home for the team and VIR should suit our Mercedes-AMG GT3. We will give our maximum to bring some points home for the team GT world Europe Endurance with Russel and Philip Ellis in GT3.”