WATKINS GLEN, New York – The No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 team, and co-drivers Kenny Murillo and Christian Szymczak, secured their fifth race win of the season to lead a 1-2 Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing team Silver-class finish in Saturday’s Pirelli GT4 America SprintX race at Watkins Glen International. The Murillo team finished second overall in the 29-car field and joined Michai Stephens and Colin Mullan in the No. 35 Conquest Racing West Mercedes-AMG GT4 in sweeping the top-two Silver-class finishing positions in the first of two 60-minute Pirelli GT4 America races this weekend at The Glen.
The class victory and runner-up finish anchored a haul of seven podium finishes and two poles on the weekend for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams across three SRO America racing series competing at The Glen.
In addition to Murillo and Conquest, other Mercedes-AMG Motorsport customer teams reaching victory lane this weekend at The Glen included DXDT Racing, Winward Racing, Capstone Motorsports and RENNtech Motorsports.
The lone team to reach the podium twice this weekend was Conquest, which finished second in the Silver class again on Sunday, in addition to crossing the finish line second overall. The double-podium showing came in just the second race for the team new to Pirelli GT4 competition and followed a third-place podium showing in Conquest’s series debut last month at Road America.
Capstone Motorsports also earned its first pole in the new team’s debut year of Pirelli GT4 competition in the No. 16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4. Kris Wilson won not only the Am-class but overall Pirelli GT4 pole in Saturday morning qualifying for that day’s opening race.
It was Sunday’s final 60-minute race, however, that saw Capstone reach the Pirelli GT4 Am-class podium in dramatic fashion. Starting last in the 29-car field after Wilson’s teammate John Allen had an issue in his qualifying session, the Capstone team and drivers steadily improved throughout the race.
Allen kept the No. 16 on the lead lap and in touch with the field throughout his race-opening stint before handing off to Wilson for the final half of the race. Wilson quickly raced his way into the Am-class top three and was in second place and closing on the leader before a late-race incident just over five minutes from the finish ended the race under caution.
RENNtech’s podium came in Sunday’s second and final single driver GT America sprint courtesy of Chris Gumprecht who finished third in his No. 79 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4. The top-three finish was the first with RENNtech and in Pirelli GT4 for Gumprecht in just his second start with the team and in the series.
Gumprecht and coach and co-driver Kyle Marcelli also ran in podium contention in the No. 79 in Sunday’s Pirelli GT4 finale until Gumprecht spun from third place in the second half of the race and dropped to 10th at the finish.
Next up for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams in SRO America is a full-weekend event for GT World Challenge, Pirelli GT4 and GT America at Sebring International Raceway, October 1 - 3.
Michai Stephens (#35 Conquest Racing West)
“I think the results are our proof of concept, proof of belief and a tremendous opportunity for myself and Colin and this team. We’ve been given a weapon, and that’s the Mercedes-AMG GT4, which allows us to put it at the front with more ease. It’s a car that can provide peace of mind and yet optimum performance. Everything thus far has been tremendous. We’ve calculated expectations and left a little room for hope and faith, and that little bit of room to say, ‘who knows.’ Overall, I think this result a tribute to what the organization has in store, and we are going to press forward. We keep it as sharp in focus as we possibly can. You’ve heard people say we take it one race at a time, one moment at a time, but right now we’re taking it one corner at a time and allowing that momentum to build.”
Colin Mullan (#35 Conquest Racing West)
“I was super happy to put it all together this weekend and come home with a P2 overall finish. We were second in the silver category again on Saturday. The yellows didn’t quite go our way, but I think we could have been in the fight for first and bring pressure on the leader at the end. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 was amazing the whole stint. We really got this car figured out this weekend. It’s just been fantastic to drive this beast around here at Watkins Glen. I think the track suits this car pretty well, and we were able to lay down some quick lap times out there on track. It’s great being able to take the fight to the leaders and come home with an overall podium this weekend. We have put together an interesting group. We’ve pulled people from all experience levels, all amazing talents, but they’re new to the car as well. It’s all a learning curve for everybody. We’re learning things every step of the way, but it’s absolutely amazing each time we make progress.”
Kenny Murillo (#72 Murillo Racing)
“Race one Saturday was pretty great. I think the team executed pretty well in race one. Ultimately, when we leave Watkins Glen, we’re going to have a bigger gap leading the Silver championship than when we came here, so that’s the biggest priority right now. We were really fortunate to start up front in the first race. We got lucky there, took our advantage when we could and walked away with some really good points.”
Kris Wilson (#16 Capstone Motorsports)
“John did a good job on his first stint Sunday, and we got lucky with a yellow flag that packed everything up. I was able to jump in the Mercedes-AMG GT4 and see what it could do. In brake zones, cornering, all through the bus stop chicane section, the car performed so good. The team is really coming together.”
Chris Gumprecht (#79 RENNtech Motorsports)
“I’m really happy with the GT America race and podium. On Saturday, I think I could have had a better showing, but things got a little mixed up under caution and we were just off the podium in fourth. Today we were right where we needed to be. I got a little too relaxed there at the end, the fourth-place guy started to catch up, but we held them off. The two-driver Pirelli GT4 SprintX is new to me and exciting, but sometimes I get a little too excited. We just need to be ready. We’ll be there for the next one.”