Eric Foss and No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 Move Closer to Championship Points Lead
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada – Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams Murillo Racing and Capstone Motorsports secured a double victory and top-two overall podium sweep in a dominating performance by the Mercedes-AMG GT4 Saturday in the two-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). The No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 was driven to its second Pilot Challenge victory in the last three races by co-drivers Eric Foss and Marc Miller. The winners crossed the finish line .338 of a second ahead of their teammates Kenny Murillo and Christian Szymczak who finished second in the No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4. The Bronze Cup class victory was secured for the fifth time in the six Pilot Challenge races to date this season by Gary Ferrera and Kris Wilson who finished 13th overall in the No. 11 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4.
The one-two overall and Grand Sport (GS) class sweep capped a weekend of domination for Murillo Racing and the Mercedes-AMG GT4 on the 2.459-mile CTMP circuit. Kenny Murillo won his first career pole in Friday qualifying in the No. 72 to lead a run of three Murillo Racing entries in the overall top five of Saturday’s starting grid.
Miller, making his first career start in a Mercedes-AMG GT4 and with Murillo Racing, qualified the No. 56 third while the team’s third entry, the No. 65 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4, was driven to a career-best fifth-place qualifying effort by Tim Probert.
At the start of Saturday’s race, Miller got the jump from third on the grid to move to second place going into the first turn. Murillo and Miller then ran in a tight, one-two formation at the front of the field for more than the first hour of the race, while Probert not only led the Bronze Cup class but held fifth overall in one of the best drives of his career.
The Murillo team’s only issue on the weekend occurred 45 minutes into the race when Probert’s career run was slowed by a misfire on the No. 65. He brought the car into the pits where the Murillo team cleared the engine’s issue and Probert’s co-driver Brent Mosing took the wheel. Mosing continued in the race, but the misfire issues persisted, and the No. 72 was retired.
Meanwhile, Murillo’s race-leading duo pitted one lap apart early in the race’s second hour. Foss took over for Miller in the No. 65 while Szymczak replaced Murillo in the No. 72 one lap later. Both pit stops were flawless, and the Murillo team continued its one-two dominance, but with Foss and the No. 65 just edging Szymczak and the No. 72 for the race lead. The teammates continued the one-two run straight to the race finish for the Murillo team’s first career one-two sweep in Pilot Challenge GS competition.
In Bronze Cup, Ferrera took over the class lead when the Murillo No. 65 faltered and then handed the No. 11 off to Wilson who sealed the victory for Capstone for the fifth time this season. The only race Capstone has lost this year was at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in May where Probert and Mosing took the win.
The No. 56 and No. 72 Murillo entries combined to lead all but two laps Saturday when the GS field cycled through green-flag pit stops at mid-race. Murillo led a race-high 42 laps from the start while Foss set pace for the final 33 laps.
Foss and the No. 56 team remain second in the GS class driver and team championships but have closed the gap on the leaders from 140 points to 90 points with the CTMP win.
Foss and the No. 56 team won for the first time this season at Mid-Ohio with co-driver Kenton Koch. After Miller’s one-off and winning start this weekend, Koch will return to co-drive the No. 56 with Foss in two weeks in the next round of the Pilot Challenge season at Lime Rock Park, July 15 – 16.
Foss and co-driver Jeff Mosing co-drove the No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 to victory last year at Lime Rock. Miller and Koch have filled in the last four races this year while Jeff Mosing – Brent Mosing’s brother – recovers from fractured and bruised ribs sustained in a fall while docking his boat in April.
Eric Foss – No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “The Murillo Racing team has always been on top of things and a great communicating team. Having Kenny Murillo and Christian Szymczak come into the team this year has given us another push and added an incredible amount of additional data with two more talented drivers on the team. Christian was very generous today. I made a couple of mistakes toward the end of the race, and he had the opportunity to pounce, but we definitely wanted to make sure we stayed clean. It’s just amazing to bring both Mercedes-AMG GT4s home one-two like that and get the great result here. The biggest strength the Mercedes-AMG GT4 has is its balance. It is very driver friendly.”
Marc Miller – No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “I have known the Murillo guys and Jeff Mosing for years, and when Eric called me, and I could do it, I didn’t hesitate. I called my wife and said ‘hey, we are going to Canada.’ It was our weekend off, but I really wanted to fill in for Jeff and do this for Eric. It was really important to make the move at the start. It is easier to defend a position here than get one, and our goal was to try to save fuel too, and it is easier to do that in a tandem. The start was really great for me. I just rode it as deep as possible on the inside and was able to take the position and close the door in turn two.”
Christian Szymczak – No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “It is awesome for the team. Since we rolled the cars off the truck, they have been great, and we knew we were going to be in for a good finish for the weekend. I came out of the pits and Eric had already cycled through the pits. He was on warm tires, I was on cold, and he was just able to get by me for the lead. I would have tried to make a move if I could have, but there was just no viable place to make a move. It was just great to bring home the one-two finish. We just need to keep showing up, doing what we do, and hopefully good results will keep coming our way.”
Kenny Murillo – No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “Christian and I both worked hard coming into this event. Anything less than a podium was not going to feel good. If we were going to get beat, it was going to be by our teammates. I am really happy for the team, they have been working really hard all weekend long. Canada always brings some logistical challenges, so we were working with just half the crew, it was especially hard on the crew, so to bring them a one-two finish just feels really good.”
Kris Wilson – No. 11 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4: “Gary did a great job, the crew did a great job and we even had to call in some last-minute recruits from other teams to help us in just the last couple hours before the race today. This kind of track is where the Mercedes-AMG GT4 excels. It likes a fast, flowing circuit where you don’t really have to slow down. You just keep up the momentum, you are really hanging on, but it makes for a good car around this place.”
Tim Probert – No. 65 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “Our Mercedes-AMG GT4 has been super reliable. Brent and I aren’t upset at all because we can’t remember the last time we had a problem. It has just been a super reliable car and Murillo gave us a wonderful setup. I had a ball. Running in the overall top five and six is just not something I normally do, and I really felt we could have a great result today.”
Brent Mosing – No. 65 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “It was a great weekend. Tim qualified the best of his career and turned 71 today, so a great birthday present for him. He was right there in the pack until we had the car problem, but that car has been a beauty for a year. We have finished every race in the past year, so maybe we were due, but now it is behind us, and we can’t wait to get to Lime Rock. The way the car and Tim have been performing, it is going to be another great race.”