Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Deliver Three-for-Three Run of IMSA Podium Finishes at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio – Bryce Ward and Daniel Morad co-drove to a Michelin Pilot Challenge Grand Sport (GS) class series-best third podium finish of the season Sunday in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Four Hours of Mid-Ohio in the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4. Winward’s hard-earned third-place showing capped a productive weekend for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams with a three-for-three run of podium finishes across two IMSA racing series at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. In VP Racing SportsCar Challenge competition, Josh Green secured second-place class finishes in the No. 78 Thaze Competition Mercedes-AMG GT4 in each of the weekend’s two 45-minute sprints.

The No. 57 team’s finish was its second-consecutive third-place result after another podium showing last month at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Both third-place runs followed a second-place finish in January’s season opener at Daytona International Speedway, which joined Mid-Ohio as this year’s Pilot Challenge four-hour endurance feature races.

At both Daytona and Laguna Seca, Winward’s race-finishing driver Morad staged late-race charges to the checkered flag. Mid-Ohio produced a similar finish to both races, but Sunday’s race was by far Winward’s most challenging run to the podium this season.

After a stellar seventh-place qualifying effort, starting driver Ward kept the No.

57 in contention from the drop of the green flag. Morad took over for the first of two driver swaps in the race with Ward in the race’s first half, but the drivers and Winward team had their focus tested with a pit stop penalty and a stressful fuel-saving run to the finish.

The costly pit drive-through penalty put the No. 57 team down but not out as the drivers and team clawed back into contention despite having to conserve fuel to the checkered flag. Morad masterfully made it to the end, crossing the finish line just over seven seconds behind the race winner.

The Winward No. 57 squad has moved to third in the GS driver and team championship standings after the first four races of the 10-round season. Ward, Morad and the No. 57 entry have 1,010 points to hold third in both the driver and team championships. They trail the second-place team and drivers by just 10 points.

The No. 34 JMF Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Jesse Webb and Michai Stephens joined Winward in battling in the top-10 and the lead pack of contenders all day, leading 11 laps as the race began the final hour. The end result was a seventh-place finish that matched the first-year Pilot Challenge team’s season-best finish in the same position at Sebring.

Thaze Competition carried the flag for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing at Mid-Ohio with a two-car Mercedes-AMG GT4 entry for the second doubleheader round of the season for the VP Racing SportsCar Challenge series.

Josh Green secured runner-up GT4 finishes in both the Saturday and Sunday 45-minute sprints in the No. 78 Thaze Competition Mercedes-AMG GT4. The second-place finishes are the top results to date for Thaze in its select schedule of VP SportsCar and Pilot Challenge races this year.

Green’s strongest showing was in Sunday’s race when he took the lead at the start and led the majority of the race before crossing the finish line a close 0.491 seconds behind the race winner.

Green raced alongside Thaze teammate Eddie Killeen who continued to show progress early in his career with eighth-place Bronze division finishes in the No. 37 Thaze Competition Mercedes-AMG GT4 in both weekend races.

Next up for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams in the Pilot Challenge series is a return to the series’ standard two-hour race format at Watkins Glen International, June 20 – 22.

The VP SportsCar Challenge is next in action at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, July 12 – 14.

Bryce Ward, Driver – No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “Daniel did a fantastic job of saving fuel. We knew we had to hit a number, and we were really lucky that positions four through 10 were fighting it out and slowing themselves down. The last two laps they suddenly broke free and were taking a second-and-a-half per lap out of us. If they had gotten through a little earlier, we wouldn’t have made it. It feels like a win because we made a little mistake, leaving stuff unattended in pit lane, and you can’t make those mistakes if you want to win in IMSA, because it’s so competitive. It was unfortunate that we had a drive-through penalty. If we hadn’t had that, we would have been in really, really good shape. So, it really does feel like a win after that, and a really good job by the team after that setback. Obviously, the Mercedes-AMG platform is just fantastic. We truly love it. We’ve been running it for many years now, and every year we still learn a little bit about it. We were really quick on the weekend, and it showed. We did a test the week before and learned a few things, so when we came here, we were really prepared. That’s what you’ve got to be in IMSA.”

Daniel Morad, Driver – No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “It was difficult because we had to hit a pretty extreme fuel number to make it. Thank goodness this track is pretty efficient to roll around and still get a decent lap time. The car was hooked up today. Winward gave us a fantastic Mercedes-AMG GT4, the best car in the field, the best car to drive, and hopefully it’s as good at Watkins Glen as it was today.”

Michai Stephens, Driver – No. 34 JMF Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4: “The Mercedes-AMG GT4 platform is such a privilege to drive because it’s very consistent. It communicates very well, so we had a platform that was able to go the distance and take some bumps and bruises. Maybe not looking show quality at the end, but certainly still had some grunt. It was neat that we were able to show a little bit of pace over the duration of the race, but then we came to executing on strategies. We certainly had some high moments and some lows, but as a unit we come to face these trials and tribulations as a family. I think that further showed in today’s affairs. You have to love IMSA for giving us four hours to live and to learn from, and we hope to be able to take yet again these lessons learned forward.”

Josh Green, Driver – No. 78 Thaze Competition Mercedes-AMG GT4: “A huge thank you to Thaze Competition and everyone at Mercedes-AMG Motorsport. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 was hooked up Sunday, and Saturday as well. I got the lead early on Sunday, which was awesome, and was really proud of how we managed traffic. My spotter was super on top of it, and I was able to hold second place off for a very long time. I was super comfortable, just getting good exits, making no mistakes, and I was quite happy with our performance. I feel like I would have been able to hold him back there for the whole race, but unfortunately a lapped car decided to park us a little early in an apex. Then I was side-by-side with the second-place guy where he was just able to take off. We’re going to have it for them in Canada, and I’m really proud of the team and Mercedes-AMG.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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