Lone Star Racing and CRP Racing Drive Mercedes-AMG GT3 to Three Pirelli World Challenge SprintX GT Pro Podium Finishes at Circuit of The Americas

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Win Pole and Five GT Class Podiums in Pirelli World Challenge SprintX Doubleheader at COTA

– AUSTIN

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams drove the Mercedes- AMG GT3 to the GT-class pole and five GT-class podium finishes in the opening rounds of the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX Series this past weekend at Circuit of The Americas (COTA). Mike Skeen won the overall and GT Pro class pole in Saturday qualifying in the No. 80 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 and then joined co- driver Scott Heckert in earning podium finishes in each of the weekend's pair of one- hour sprints on the 3.4-mile COTA circuit.

In Lone Star Racing's 2018 season debut, Skeen and Heckert finished third in Round 1 on Saturday and then improved to a second-place finish in Sunday's second and final sprint. The strong performance earned the Lone Star team and Heckert, who was making his Pirelli World Challenge GT debut, both the Best Start and Hard Charger series awards. Heckert gained several spots at the start of Sunday's race, ultimately improving four spots after starting sixth.

The Lone Star team was joined on the Saturday race podium by the second-place Pro class and overall finishing No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Daniel Morad and co-driver Fabian Schiller. Similar to Heckert's charge at the start on Sunday, Morad jumped four spots from seventh on the grid to third when the green flag waved on Saturday.

Schiller, who was racing in the U.S. for the first time, took over from Morad in Saturday's opener and slipped by Heckert for second before the checkered flag flew. In Sunday's final round, Morad and Heckert both ran in the lead pack throughout the race and crossed the finish line in fifth place.

Also hitting the podium at COTA in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 was GT Am class competitor David Askew who drove his No. 63 DXDT Racing entry to second-place class finishes on both Saturday and Sunday.

A pair of Mercedes-AMG GT4 entries were competing in the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX GTS class at COTA. A seventh-place Pro-Am class finish Sunday by co-drivers Gar Robinson and Shane Lewis in the No. 74 Robinson Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 was the best showing of the GTS-class Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams competing at COTA.

Next up for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams and Pirelli World Challenge GT SprintX is Rounds 3 and 4 at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR), April 27 – 29. The next Pirelli World Challenge GT Sprint event will be for the GT and GTS classes on the streets of Long Beach, California, April 13 – 15.

Mike Skeen, Driver – No. 80 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: "The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is generally good on tires and we setup our car in that direction. We went a little conservative so our car would last for the long run. Scott had a nice, long consistent run and I did as well after I got clear of traffic on Sunday. We had bad luck catching traffic, which let the leader build a gap, but we were still able to hold steady with a good pace and run competitively to the end. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 was really just fantastic in both races as far as long distances. We had great performances in both races and it is exciting to get off to a good start with this program this season."

Scott Heckert, Driver – No. 80 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: "The Mercedes-AMG GT3 was great. On the first practice day I think we missed it a little bit, but the guys made some really key changes and, frankly, transformed the car. We ended up with a really well-handling race car that lasted flag-to-flag in both races. It's realistically the best results we could have asked for coming into the weekend. Working together as a whole unit for the first time, it has been a long time since I have been in action, and it was my first time at COTA. This really is a great reward for the entire team's efforts. I couldn't be happier for them."

Daniel Morad, Driver – No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: "Fabian Schiller didn't even arrive until late Thursday. He missed the test day entirely but is super comfortable in the Mercedes-AMG GT3. Things went really well. We missed out on the setup a little bit in qualifying but the CRP Racing guys made some subtle changes to get the car in the window where it was working really well for Saturday's race. The opening lap was pretty crazy, cars were flying everywhere, but it was like the red sea kind of parted for me, and the next thing I know I was in third place. Then Fabian jumped in the car and moved us from third to second. He had limited track time, so for him to jump in the car and do what he did was just unreal."

Fabian Schiller, Driver – No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: "This was actually my first time racing in America. It's quite cool, I like it, and compared to the temperatures right now in Germany where it's quite cold, this was a nice place to come! Saturday's P2 was a great result. I don't think we expected it coming from P7 on the grid, but we were quite quick. We had a good Mercedes-AMG GT3 and a good teammate in Daniel who made up quite a lot of positions at the start. Sunday was a little bit more difficult, I struggled a lot with understeer, but I wasn't expecting too much from myself as I missed the Thursday test day. I didn't arrive until Friday, had a few laps in practice and didn't do that much running, but I got to know the team and was welcomed very nicely by everyone. I was happy to be here."

Shane Lewis, Driver – No. 74 Robinson Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: "We are still learning the Mercedes-AMG GT4 but it is a fantastic car to drive. It's a great car but we hope as the Balance of Performance (BoP) process goes deeper into the season we will see a little more bottom-end power for the Mercedes-AMG GT4. Right now, we can drive a clean lap, but racing against everybody is a challenge at the moment. I am sure that the series is going to do a great job in making all of these cars equal. It's really nice to leave COTA knowing that every session out, and in both races, we learned something and we progressed as a team. We made progress as drivers, we made progress with pit stops, and we have a much better understanding of how Pirelli World Challenge SprintX works."

 

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