Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Entrants Team Korthoff Motorsports and Capstone Motorsports Bring Series Championship Leads to the IMSA Fastlane SportsCar Weekend at Road America, August 4 – 7
ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin – Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams lead two IMSA championships and a pair of teammates are in top-three contention in another title race heading into the IMSA Fastlane SportsCar Weekend at Road America, August 4 – 7. Team Korthoff Motorsports and driver Stevan McAleer bring a 40-point lead in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar GT Daytona (GTD) championship to Road America while co-drivers Gary Ferrera and Kris Wilson lead the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Bronze Cup standings heading into the weekend in the No. 11 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 with victories in five of the year’s first seven races. The Road America weekend kicks-off a critical stretch run in both IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD and the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series that will see the championships in both series decided over the course of the next three races.
A total of nine Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams compete this weekend at Road America, and more than half of them lead or are in top-three contention in one of several different championships across both the IMSA WeatherTech Championship and IMSA Pilot Challenge series.
McAleer and the No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 team extended their nearly season-long GTD championship lead three weeks ago at Lime Rock Park. McAleer and co-driver Mike Skeen finished fourth after being edged for the final podium spot in the last turn of the race when another competitor slowed in front of the field with the checkered flag in sight.
Despite the disappointment of missing out on the top three in the final seconds, the fourth-place result is Team Korthoff’s best finish in IMSA GTD competition since a season-best second place showing at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March.
The Korthoff No. 32 is one of a class-leading three Mercedes-AMG GT3 entries competing in the GTD division in Sunday’s featured two-hour and 40-minute IMSA WeatherTech Championship race. Round 8 of 10 in this year’s GTD championship, the race starts at 10:40 a.m. CDT Sunday with live coverage on NBC’s online network Peacock. Broadcast coverage begins just 20 minutes later when the race will be joined live and in progress on the USA Network at 11 a.m. CDT/Noon EDT.
The No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 and No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Proton USA Mercedes-AMG GT3 also carry the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing flag in Sunday’s race.
Russell Ward and Philip Ellis co-drive the Winward No. 57 with an aim on securing the team’s first GTD win of the season after coming excruciatingly close in the last two WeatherTech championship points races. Winward took the white flag leading at both Watkins Glen International and Lime Rock but didn’t get the win at either race due to just missing an adjusted drive time rule at The Glen and a mechanical issue with the checkered flag in sight at Lime Rock.
A second-place finish in the GTD Sprint Cup-only race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park split the pair of near-miss races, and Ward, Ellis and all on the No. 57 team arrive at Road America confident and positive after the strong on-track performances in the second half of the season.
Chicago-based Cooper MacNeil and WeatherTech Racing are set for their home-track race Sunday at Road America. MacNeil will be joined in the No. 79 for the fourth time this season by Daniel Juncadella who is fresh off co-driving a Mercedes-AMG GT3 to victory in last weekend’s 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium. Juncadella was also part of Team Korthoff’s second place GTD finish at Sebring and looks for a similar result with MacNeil and WeatherTech Racing at Road America.
In Michelin Pilot Challenge Grand Sport (GS) competition, Capstone comfortably leads the Bronze Cup standings while all three of Murillo Racing’s Mercedes-AMG GT4 teams rank in the top three of their respective championship battles.
Saturday’s Pilot Challenge race is scheduled to start at 1:15 p.m. CDT and is the second and final four-hour race of the year following January’s season-opener at Daytona International Speedway (DIS).
Murillo’s sister No. 56 and No. 72 Mercedes-AMG GT4 entries are second and third, respectively, in the overall GS championship standings and look to Road America to rebound from a challenging Lime Rock race.
Two-time 2022 Pilot Challenge race winner Eric Foss co-drives the No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 again this weekend with Kenton Koch. The duo won at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in May and two races later Foss scored his second win of the season co-driving with Marc Miller at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Despite suffering their only race retirement of the season at Lime Rock, Foss and the No. 56 team still hold second in the GS championship, one spot ahead of teammates Kenny Murillo and Christian Szymczak in the No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4.
Murillo and Szymczak moved into third in the GS standings on the strength of a third place at Watkins Glen in June and a second-place finish behind their No. 56 teammates Fourth of July weekend in Canada.
New for the 2022 season, the Bronze Cup class is designed to let sportsman or “am” drivers battle each other in a separate championship while still competing in the overall GS race. Ferrera, Wilson and Capstone will likely seal the inaugural Bronze Cup crown before the end of the season, but No. 65 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 teammates Brent Mosing and Tim Probert remain alive in the bronze battle with three races to go.
Mosing and Probert co-drove to the Bronze Cup win one race ago at Lime Rock for the second time this season after winning at Mid-Ohio in May. Along with Capstone’s five wins, the Lime Rock victory gave the Mercedes-AMG GT4 a perfect seven-for-seven win record this season in the new Bronze Cup division.
The top Mercedes-AMG GT4 finisher in the Pilot Challenge race at Lime Rock was the No. 55 FCP Euro by Ricca Autosport Mercedes-AMG GT4 co-driven by Skeen and Trevor Andrusko. The team has made the most of a limited schedule this year, earning a top-five in just the No. 55’s second start of the season at The Glen and improving to fourth at Lime Rock. Skeen jumped to fourth from fifth on the final lap at Lime Rock for the FCP Euro team’s best finish in just its third race in a select schedule of events this season.
The sixth Mercedes-AMG GT4 competing at Road America is the returning trio of Anton Dias Perera and his pro-driver teammates Scott Andrews and Colin Braun. The trio last shared a Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the four-hour race at Daytona in 2021 and make their return with winning Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing team Riley Motorsports.
Campaigning a Mercedes-AMG GT3, Braun and the Riley team currently lead the Fanatec GT World Challenge America point standings with George Kurtz. Andrews also has Mercedes-AMG GT3 experience and was part of the driver lineup that scored Korthoff’s breakout third-place finish in January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Stevan McAleer, Driver – No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: “This is my first year in GTD and I am super excited to be here. I love this class and it is great to be part of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 team with Team Korthoff Motorsports. Just three races left of the season. Road America is next on the schedule and will for sure be a lot of fun in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 GTD car. I think the track will suit the Mercedes-AMG GT3, but it is going to be a strategy game, and it usually ends up being a fuel mileage game as well. Then you throw in the other classes. I am sure it is going to be action packed to say the least. I am learning a lot this year, a couple more races to go, and I will see if I can hang on.”
Russell Ward, Driver – No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “Road America is a track that really suits the Mercedes-AMG GT3 very well. It should be a really good track for us. We are just going to carry the momentum we have had at the last three IMSA races. We can definitely do that, the team is ready for it, and everyone is looking forward. The last three IMSA races we have essentially had two firsts and a second, but it is just a matter of time before we actually get the official result. As we get in the closing stages of the year, we are through with the tough part of the season up in the Northeast. Now we are moving on to Road America, VIR and Road Atlanta and our spirits are high.”
Cooper MacNeil, Driver – No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Proton USA Mercedes-AMG GT3: “Road America is my favorite track, with Le Mans a close second. I was up in Elkhart Lake in May getting in some laps as I prepared for Le Mans and to get reacclimated for the IMSA race. The racing in the GTD category is always extremely close. Our Mercedes-AMG GT3 likes the high-speed sections like the Kink, Carrousel, and Turn 7. We will see how we stack up pretty quickly in that first practice on Friday.”
Daniel Juncadella, Driver – No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Proton USA Mercedes-AMG GT3: “Spa was very amazing, a big race, big win and a good time to come to America to race again. I have heard such great things about Road America, I have never been there, but I know the track very well online, a bit like Mosport and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, where I was straight away very quick, so I don’t think I am going to need many laps to get up to speed. The track at Road America is pretty impressive, and not far from Chicago, which I will get to know for the first time, so I am very excited for the week coming up. It’s the home track for WeatherTech, and Cooper has always talked a good bit about this one. He is very motivated for this event because it is the home track, so we will see where we go. I am very excited for this one.”
Brent Mosing, Driver – No. 65 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “I love Road America. It’s the best and the most fun place to visit, I love Elkhart Lake and I love the Road America track itself. It’s a flowing track, a fast, flowing track that tends to be what I accel in. We are going in there with a positive attitude. We are going to have fun but race hard and see where we end up. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 is really good at Road America. You have some heavy, heavy brake zones, and the car is awesome on the brakes and great in the turns. We are looking forward to this weekend and I think it is going to be a great run.”
Tim Probert, Driver – No. 65 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “With two wins behind us now, we will really be pushing hard in the final three races. It starts with Road America and the second and last four-hour race of the year. We really enjoy the four-hour races. A lot of strategy comes into play. As I always say, this is a real team sport, and everyone has more of a part to play in a four-hour race. We really enjoy that very much. For a couple of Bronze-rated guys, we are reasonably fit and looking forward to this weekend’s challenge.”
Trevor Andrusko, Driver – No. 55 FCP Euro by Ricca Autosport Mercedes-AMG GT4: “Sebring was more or less of a shakedown for us in in our 2022 debut just to make sure everything was set as we run this condensed schedule. At Watkins Glen the pace was there, we were able to put something together, and we ran in the top five until the end of the race. We brought that to Lime Rock, the home track, home race and home event for FCP Euro, and we qualified and finished well there too. Using all of that momentum into Road America is good for us. We have to focus on the strategy, because it is our longest race of the year, but Mike and I will do it as a duo, no third driver, and we feel like we will have the pace with this Mercedes-AMG GT4 to be in it at the finish.”