Overall and Class Victories and a Pair of Class Runner-up Finishes for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Teams in Hankook 24H at Circuit of The Americas

No. 3 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 Scores Overall and A6-Pro Victory in Hankook 24H COTA as Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Sweep Top-Two Spots in A6-Am Class

– AUSTIN, Texas.

The No. 3 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 team of Yelmer Buurman, Mike Skeen, Scott Heckert and Bret Curtis highlighted a run of two race wins and a pair of class runner-up finishes by Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams with an overall and A6-Pro class victory this past weekend in the Hankook 24H USA at Circuit of The Americas (COTA), November 17 – 18.

The No. 3 team took control of the 24-hour race before the halfway point of Sunday's second and final segment and anchored a strong performance that saw Mercedes- AMG GT3 competitors fill three of the top-four overall finishing positions.

Third-place overall went the No. 85 PROsport Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 team of Charles Putman, Charles Espenlaub, Joe Foster and Adam Christodoulou that led a one-two A6-Am class finish for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer teams.

The SPS automotive performance No. 24 Mercedes-AMG GT3 finished fourth overall and second in A6-Am in the hands of Alexandre Coligny, Richard Feller and Antonin Borga.

Taking over the No. 3 from Skeen to bring the overall winner to the finish, closing driver Heckert took the checkered flag on the team's 603rd lap on the 3.4-mile COTA circuit, one lap ahead of the second-place Porsche.

The win was the third time this year that Skeen and Heckert shared a podium-placing Mercedes-AMG GT3 at COTA. The teammates co-drove the No. 80 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 to second and third place race finishes in last March's Pirelli World Challenge doubleheader at COTA.

PROsport's victory this weekend was enough for the team to clinch the 24H Series' Overall Team and the A6-class Championship of the Continents in its debut season in the A6-division campaign with the Mercedes-AMG GT3.

The RENNtech Motorsports No. 890 Mercedes-AMG GT4 finished second in the GT4 class, just one lap behind and closing on the class winners when time expired. The No. 890 was co-driven by Kyle Marcelli and the Austin-based driving trio of Wayne Ducote and his sons Chapman and David Ducote.

In total, four Mercedes-AMG GT3 and a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT4 entries competed in the Hankook 24H COTA USA.

The No. 2 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Luca Stolz and Hubert Haupt took early control of the race in Saturday's opening segment, leading the race for nearly 10 hours. The team and drivers built a three-lap lead on the overall field only to see the No. 2 forced to retire after Haupt had contact with another competitor just after nightfall Saturday evening.

The No. 84 Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Bryce Ward, Russell Ward, Indy Dontje and Christian Hohenadel also saw a large Saturday lead hampered by a string of typical endurance-racing issues. The No. 84 took Sunday's green flag but was later retired halfway through the final segment.

Mike Skeen, Driver – No. 3 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3: "It's an honor any time you can drive a Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3, but it certainly puts the pressure on because you know all the pieces will be in place for success. It's down to the driving to get the job done. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 didn't skip a beat, and we were able to keep it clean for 24 hours with no contact or off-course excursions. It's my first major 24-hour win and a great feeling to do it with friends and a largely American line-up on home soil."

Charles Espenlaub, Driver – No. 85 PROsport Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3: "Another great race and a fantastic way to finish off our 2018 championship- winning season. Team PROSport did a fantastic job with our No. 85 Mercedes-AMG GT3. The prep was perfect, and they executed the race with near-flawless precision, overcoming some obstacles, but that is endurance racing. This included giving our spare nose assembly to Black Falcon to help get the No. 2 back on track. As always, the 24H Series hosted a stellar race at COTA and we cannot wait for next year."

Ben Keating, Driver – No. 2 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3: "I can't say enough about the Black Falcon team. Our pair of Mercedes-AMG GT3 entries were far and away faster and better than all the cars in the race. I love the format of this race, run in two parts, and the overall structure and procedures of the 24H Series. It's a really great event and hopefully in the future more American teams and drivers will participate. We didn't get the result we wanted this weekend after finishing second last year, but this is a race I definitely want to win in the future."

 

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