This weekend IMSA will head to Road America for what should be a fantastic couple days of racing, and over in the Mercedes AMG Motorsport Customer Racing camp, they are hoping to keep up what has been a great season so far.
There are a total of nine teams competing this weekend and more than half of them lead or are in top three contention for one of several championships across the IMSA WeatherTech Championship and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series.
In the WeatherTech series and GTD, Stevan McAleer and the No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes AMG GT3 team extended their near season long GTD championship lead three weeks ago at Lime Rock Park. After being edged out 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, McAleer and co driver Mike Skeen finished fourth. Despite missing out on the top three in the final seconds, this fourth place finish is Team Korthoff’s best in GTD competition since a season best second place finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March.
McAleer had this to say about the season so far, “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.”
The No. 32 is one of a class leading three Mercedes AMG GT3 entries competing in this Sunday’s race in GTD with the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 and No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Proton USA Mercedes AMG GT3, carrying the flag as well.
The Winward No. 57 with co drivers Russell Ward and Philip Ellis are looking to secure the team’s first GTD win of the season after coming painfully close to closing the deal in the last two WeatherTech championship points races. They took the white flag leading at both Watkins Glen International and Lime Rock but due to missing an adjusted drive time rule at The Glen and a mechanical issue with the checkered flag in sight at Lime Rock, it has eluded them.
A second place finish in the GTD Sprint Cup only race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park split the wins that could have been and now, arriving at Road America, Ward, Ellis and the entire No. 57 team are feeling confident and positive with their performances in the second half of the season and are looking forward to a strong finish.
In the No. 79, Cooper MacNeil and WeatherTech Racing are set for their home track race and will be joined, for the fourth time this season, by Daniel Juncadella. Juncadella is fresh off co driving a Mercedes AMG GT3 to victory in last weekend’s 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium. Being a part of Team Korthoff’s second place GTD finish at Sebring has Junacadella looking for a similar result with MacNeil this weekend.
The two hour and forty minute race will serve as round 8 of 10 in this year’s GTD championship. The race starts at 10:40 am CDT with live coverage on Peacock. Broadcast coverage will start 20 minutes later, joining the race live and in progress at 11:00 am CDT/Noon EDT on USA.
Over in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series, their race will take place on Saturday at 1:15 pm CDT and is the second and final four hour race of the year.
In Grand Sport competition, Capstone leads the Bronze Cup standings comfortably, while all three of the Murillo Racing Mercedes AMG GT4’s rank in the top three of their respective championship battles.
The No. 56 and No. 72 Mercedes AMG GT4 entries are second and third, respectively in the overall GS championship standings and are looking to Road America to rebound from a challenging race at Lime Rock.
Two time 2022 Pilot Challenge race winner Eric Foss will be behind the wheel of the No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes AMG GT4 again this weekend with co driver Kenton Koch. The pair won at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in May and two races later at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Foss scored his second win of the season with co driver Marc Miller. Despite suffering their only race retirement of the season at Lime Rock, Foss and the No. 56 still hold second in the GS championship, one spot ahead of teammates Kenny Murillo and Christian Szymzczak in the No. 72.
Murillo and Szymczak moved into third place in GS after a third place finish at The 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 the sportsman or ‘am’ drivers battle each other in a different, separate championship while still competing in the overall GS race. Ferrera, Wilson and Capstone will most likely seal the deal on the inaugural Bronze Cup crown before the end of the season, but No. 65 Murillo Racing 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 victory at Lime Rock gave the Mercedes AMG GT4 a perfect seven-for-seven win record this season in the new Bronze Cup division.
“With two wins behind us now, we will really be pushing hard in the final three races,” Probert said. “It starts with Road America 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.”
The top Mercedes AMG GT4 finisher in the Lime Rock race in Pilot Challenge was the No. 55 FCP Euro by Ricca Autosport Mercedes AMG GT4 co driven by Skeen and Trevor Andrusko. Though the team has a limited schedule this season, they have made the most of it, earning a top five in the No. 55’s second start of the season at The Glen and improving to fourth at Lime Rock when Skeen jumped from from fifth to fourth on the final lap.
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 un Daytona in 2021 and are making their return with the winning Mercedes AMG Motorsport Customer Racing team of Riley Motorsports.
Campaigning a Mercedes AMG GT3, Braun and the Riley team are currently leading the Fanatec GT World Challenge America points 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.