Nine Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Compete This Weekend in the IMSA Monterey SportsCar Championship
Following victories at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) two weeks ago and a victorious showing last year at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (WRLS), Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams look for a pair of repeat race wins this weekend in the Monterey SportsCar Championship, September 13 – 15.
The No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 team seeks a second-consecutive victory in Sunday’s two-hour and 40-minute IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race. On Saturday, the No. 46 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4 defends its 2018 win at WRLS in the two-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race.
Sunday’s highlight IMSA WeatherTech Championship race will be televised live on the NBC network at 3:00 p.m. EDT. International viewers can watch live on IMSA.tv. Saturday’s two-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race can be seen live in the U.S. and abroad on IMSA.tv at 6:05 p.m. EDT.
Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and the Mercedes-AMG Team Riley No. 33 scored the first Mercedes-AMG GT3 victory of the season at VIR in IMSA WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) competition.
Keating, Bleekemolen and Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports, who have won at least one race a season since debuting with Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing in 2017, have seen recent success at Laguna Seca.
Last year at WRLS, the No. 33 team and drivers finished third, in their most recent podium appearance for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 before the breakout VIR victory two weeks ago.
Saturday’s featured two-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race has eight Mercedes-AMG GT4 teams competing in the top-tier Grand Sport (GS) class.
Owen Trinkler and Hugh Plumb won their third race of the season at Laguna Seca last year in the No. 46 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4 and went on to capture the 2018 GS team and driver championships. A win on Saturday would give TeamTGM a second-straight victory at WRLS, and a second win this season following a first-place finish at Lime Rock Park in July.
The No. 46 competes alongside the team’s sister entry of team owner and driver Ted Giovanis and Guy Cosmo in the No. 4 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4.
The No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 is another 2019 Michelin Pilot Challenge race winner competing at Laguna Seca. Co-drivers Jim Cox, Dylan Murry and Bleekemolen won in the four-hour race at Watkins Glen International in June.
California-based Murillo Racing also brings a two-car Mercedes-AMG GT4 team to WRLS. Longtime co-drivers Jeff Mosing and Eric Foss team in the Murillo Racing No. 56 Mercedes-AMG GT4, while Mosing’s brother, Brent Mosing, shares the team’s No. 65 Mercedes-AMG GT4 with Tim Probert.
This weekend also marks the IMSA return of co-drivers Mark Ramsey and Alexandre Premat in the No. 92 Ramsey Racing/EXR Team by Premat Mercedes-AMG GT4. The Ramsey/Premat entry makes its first GS start since 2018’s season-ending race at Road Atlanta.
A three-day weekend event, the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca schedule gets underway with a pair of practice sessions for both the IMSA WeatherTech Championship and IMSA Pilot Challenge on Friday.
A final one-hour practice Saturday morning at 8:45 a.m. PDT sets the stage for GTD qualifying early that afternoon at 12:40 p.m. PDT. Pilot Challenge GS qualifying is scheduled for 10:50 a.m. PDT on Saturday, with the two-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race scheduled to go green at 3:05 p.m. PDT.
Sunday’s schedule begins with a 20-minute final warmup practice session at 8:00 a.m. PDT, with the featured Monterey Sports Car Championship IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race scheduled to start at 12:05 p.m. PDT.
Ben Keating, Driver – No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: “The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is running well right now for sure and really likes the tracks like Road America and VIR where there are a lot of high-speed corners. The competition in IMSA is fierce, however, and each car favors different types of tracks. Laguna Seca is typically a low-grip track with slower, technical corners, and some of our competition really shines in these situations. It should be a close fight.
Jeroen Bleekemolen, Driver – No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: “For sure, we have good hopes of doing well this weekend. Winning the last race was what everyone on the team needed. Laguna Seca has really low grip, but last year we made it work. We can start with that set up as a base and go from there. Turns 3 through 6 is a pretty fast section that suits the Mercedes-AMG GT3. I have had so many nice weekend on and off track at Laguna Seca. It’s a beautiful track and scenery. For sure one of the best places to go to.”
Dylan Murry, Driver – No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4: “This is actually my first time at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. I’ve been to the track before to network but have not driven it. With the countless laps on an iRacing SimCraft, I feel just at home there and can’t wait to get on the track for the first time.
Even though I haven’t driven it, it seems like it’d be one of my favorite tracks. I would love to be back on the top step of the podium, and hope that Riley Motorsports, Jim Cox, and I can accomplish just that. We know we have a fast Mercedes-AMG GT4, so let’s put all the pieces of the puzzle together and get a win.”