Smithson, Keating, and Merrill join DXDT Racing for Indianapolis 8 Hour

Smithson, Keating, and Merrill join DXDT Racing for Indianapolis 8 Hour

STATESVILLE, N.C. – The 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge America presented by aws championship draws to a close next week at the hallowed grounds of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, ending the season with the longest race of the year, the Indianapolis 8 Hour. Three Mercedes AMG GT3 cars will represent DXDT Racing in the season finale, expanding from their two-driver lineups to three as the teams prepare for the endurance event. Scott Smithson, Ben Keating, and Thomas Merrill will join the team, completing the lineups on the team’s trio of Mercedes AMG GT3 race cars. CJ Moses will also return to race his Mercedes AMG GT3 in GT America, and Kevin Boehm will close out his TC America season in the No. 9 Honda Civic Type R.  

Heading into the final round of the year, DXDT Racing remains in the 2021 Pro/Am driver’s championship. Since DXDT Racing is competing in the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli’s Indianapolis 8 Hour, the team’s standing at the three-hour mark will determine how many points are earned towards the final tally in GT World Challenge America. Since each GT World Challenge race weekend is normally comprised of two 90-minute races, each entry will receive double points at the three-hour mark. DXDT Racing’s points towards the team championship standings will be earned by the team’s top-placing Mercedes. 

Scott Smithson will join the No. 63 Mercedes AMG GT3 of David Askew and Ryan Dalziel. Smithson raced with the team in 2020, earning three wins and six podiums in TC America, racing a Honda Civic Type-R. This season, Smithson has joined the Michelin Pilot Challenge’s TCR class, earning two podiums in five races. With two podiums and six top-five finishes to date this season, Askew and Dalziel will be racing hard to close out the season with a much-coveted victory.

Returning once again to race alongside George Kurtz and Colin Braun in the No. 04 Mercedes AMG GT3, Ben Keating will return to the team once again to defend last year’s win at the inaugural event. No stranger to endurance racing, Keating holds wins at the Twelve Hours of Sebring, Rolex 24 At Daytona, and is a three-time Michelin Endurance Cup winner. He bolsters an already strong lineup, as Kurtz and Braun hold three podiums and two wins in their five 2021 GT World Challenge America races to date.

Thomas Merrill will complete the endurance lineups for DXDT Racing, joining Erin Vogel and Michael Cooper in the No. 19 Mercedes AMG GT3. Currently competing in the four North American Endurance Cup races on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar calendar, Merrill has celebrated one endurance podium this year in, finishing in first at the Six Hours of the Glen with co-drivers Steven Thomas and Tristian Nunez. Next weekend, he joins Vogel and Cooper, who just earned their third podium of the season at Sebring International Raceway. 

The Indianapolis 8 Hour will air in its entirety on, beginning Sunday, October 17 at 10:00 AM Eastern. Fans can purchase three-day weekend tickets for $50 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway website. 

David Askew (#63)

Indy is the final race of the season, but there's so much going on it doesn't seem that way. We had a decent Sebring and there's plenty of work to do on the cars with a short turn-around. We always get it done! The Indy weekend is different than the other "standard" weekends since we have our two GT World Challenge races embedded in the ICGTC 8-hour race. For the enduro Ryan and I have Scott Smithson as our third driver. Scott drove with us in our Honda TCR program in '20 where he had break-out success. This season he's been racing TCRs in the other series and is looking to begin the jump to GT3. Why not start with an 8-hour enduro!

Ryan Dalziel (#63)

I’m looking forward to Indy. We had a strong run there last year, and we have Scott smith joining us this year. Our lineup will have one of the strongest of the Pro/Am cars, and it’s a good track for the Mercedes. It’s a little bittersweet that it’s the last race of the season, but the best race is the last one, going into the next season. Hopefully we can have a good result for the No. 63 and progress on from there in the off season. 

Scott Smithson (#63)

I’m excited to be back running with the DXDT family! I ran TCR with the team last season. I’ve been running TCR in the Michelin Pilot Challenge this season in preparation to move to the GT3 class. Indy will be my GT3 Debut. I hope to get up to speed quick so I can help teammates David Askew and Ryan Dalziel. I’m honored to run with both of them and looking forward to this learning experience! I’ve missed the team and it’s great to be back!

George Kurtz (#04)

I’m looking forward to getting back to Indianapolis and ending our season how we started it. The Indianapolis Eight Hours brings together many of the best GT3 competitors from around the world. We were honored to win last year’s race and expect to contend again this year.

Colin Braun (#04)

Winning the Indianapolis Eight Hour a year ago was a highlight for everyone at CrowdStrike and DXDT. The event has grown in stature this year with a lot of solid competitors. It will be another tough fight but the three of us – myself, George, and Ben – had good chemistry last year. There isn’t any reason why we can’t contend and be successful again.

Ben Keating (#04)

I am so excited to join George and Colin for the Indianapolis 8 Hour. This race was so much fun last year, and I hoping we can repeat the full experience. Last year was a very tight race until we got towards the end and some of the strategy started to play out. We know that all of us get along well and are quick in the car. This is the recipe for a good endurance event. I have looked forward to the Indianapolis 8 Hour ever since we kissed the bricks last year!

Erin Vogel (#19)

I’m really looking forward to Indianapolis. It’s a great way to end the race season with the 8 Hour. The energy you have walking into the speedway is palpable. It just has so much history and it’s exciting to be there. The racing will be really good. I’m excited to have some European teams over and mixing up the field. We’re going to enjoy having a third driver, and we’re really excited to have Thomas Merrill joining us for the 8 Hour. We have a great lineup with the three of us. We’ve known each other for many years and it’ll be the first time we’ll get to drive together. It’s going to be a great program and a good way to finish the season. 

Michael Cooper (#19)

I’m excited to go to the Indianapolis 8 Hour in a GT3 car with Erin Vogel and Thomas Merrill. We have a strong chance in the Pro/Am class, and I think it’ll be a good track for the Mercedes AMG GT3.

Thomas Merrill (#19)

I’m delighted to join Erin Vogel, Michael Cooper, Jim Bell, and everyone at DXDT for the Indianapolis 8 Hour. I’ve been admiring Erin’s racing career as it has progressed for a while now and was honored to be asked to join the team. With the group of people we have involved, I see no reason why we can’t be fighting for the win.