CROWDSTRIKE’S GT RACING SEASON AND PARTNERSHIPS EXCEED EXPECTATIONS IN 2020
- The year’s unique challenges were no match for cybersecurity company’s innovation on and off the track
- Official Internet and Cloud Security Provider of SRO America activated onsite and virtually
- Kurtz, Braun, Moses and Boehm achieved outstanding results in competition
- CISO events held via Zoom continued CrowdStrike and AWS’ Thought Leadership series
At the end of the most unusual race season in memory, CrowdStrike Racing can look back with satisfaction that all of the goals that were possible to set were achieved – and then some. There was no precedent for the complications that every single industry was forced to manage in 2020, but new standards were set and previously unthinkable goals were smashed. It was innovation from a strong network of partners that ensured a successful season of racing, brand activation and C-level hospitality in a year that was like none other.
At the start of SRO America’s GT World Challenge Powered by AWS race season, CrowdStrike, the Official Cloud and Internet Security Provider of the series, was prepared to launch the strongest partnership efforts in its entire history as a motorsports sponsor. A full season of sportscar racing in the GT World Challenge and Touring Car (TC) classes with DXDT Racing was lined up. A series of six C-level learning and hospitality events – “CXO Summits” – was scheduled for the top race locations around the US. And an expanded relationship with AWS and “Race Vision” was in the works.
Just before the season kicked off, there were rumors of COVID-19, but no one knew the effect it would have on business as usual as CrowdStrike held its race season opener in Austin, Texas. CrowdStrike Racing drivers George Kurtz and Colin Braun were returning to SRO racing in the premier GT class with the Mercedes-AMG GT3. CJ Moses, Deputy CISO of AWS and amateur driver, was moving to the highly competitive TCR class in a Honda Performance Development (HPD) Type R TCR. And racing engineer and SRO newcomer, Kevin Boehm, entered his rookie year with CrowdStrike Racing in the HPD Civic Si. The Kurtz/Braun pairing and Boehm each earned podium finishes – the year was off to a perfect start.
The next race, paired with IndyCar in St. Petersburg, Florida, was a different story. The global pandemic was announced just as the TC cars were to run a practice session. Along with nearly every other major sport, the racing season was called off and 2020 was put on hold.
CrowdStrike is established on a foundation of innovation. The cybersecurity company’s primary mode of operation is that “Every Second Counts.” When SRO Motorsports America suggested a virtual racing series to keep the competition going while drivers, crew, and fans were all stuck at home, all of CrowdStrike Racing’s drivers volunteered to give it a try. From professional-grade sim rigs to homemade pedal-and-wheel sets, each competed against real-life and sim racers in cars with custom CrowdStrike Racing Livery. The simulation platform was Assetto Corsa Competizione, the official GT World Challenge game. It was Kevin Boehm who exceeded expectations, earning multiple podiums in his first-ever experience with ACC. The camaraderie during this time was equally as important as the lessons learned from participating in a series of virtual competitions in 2020.
After a short summer break, SRO announced that racing – in real life – would return in July at Virginia International Raceway. The race weekend, which presented the first win of the season for Kurtz/Braun and podium finishes for both Moses and Boehm, was held under strict COVID safety and social distancing protocols and was strictly limited to drivers, crew, and officials with no access for fans. The same limited-attendance format – and success – was continued for many races throughout the season. By the penultimate round, a race weekend held at COTA for the second time in 2020, Kurtz/Braun were leading the Pro-Am Drivers’ Championship by a single point and Boehm was well into a winning streak. An unfortunate family event forced Kurtz to withdraw from the race at COTA, leaving 50 points on the table until the season finale.
That was held at a new venue for CrowdStrike Racing: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Paired with the Intercontinental GT Challenge 8 Hours of Indianapolis endurance race, it was one final chance from CrowdStrike Racing drivers to give their best efforts. It paid off. Kurtz/Braun ended up winning their final GT World Challenge race and won the Pro-Am class of the eight-hour race. Boehm earned yet another win and clinched Rookie of the Year, Team of the Year and TCR Driver’s Champion at IMS. He also won the new award from CrowdStrike: the Every Second Counts Fastest Lap award, given to the driver who earns the most Fastest Laps throughout the race season in their respective class.
There would be one more bright spot for Kurtz/Braun on the global stage. The duo were invited to enter the world-famous Total 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium. A legendary track – the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps – was the setting for the premiere Endurance Cup race of the GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS. Over fifty GT sportscar teams entered the 24-hour race, including SPS performance-automotive, with Kurtz and Braun joining Valentin Pierburg and Dominik Baumann in the No. 20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with CrowdStrike and AWS branding. To finish this day-and-night race is a success in itself, and the team took sixth in the Pro-AM class after managing two hits to the car early in the race. It was Kurtz’ first SRO race at Spa, something many amateur drivers can only dream of.
There was plenty of off-the-track success for CrowdStrike throughout the year, too. A series of eight Virtual CXO Summits were hosted on Zoom as part of race weekends where no guests were allowed. The majority of these C-Level learning events were hosted by CrowdStrike’s CSO and President of Services, Shawn Henry, who joined CrowdStrike in 2012 after 24 years in the FBI, serving as Executive Assistant Director of FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch. CrowdStrike’s CTO, Michael Sentonas, and CrowdStrike’s co-founder and CEO, George Kurtz, each hosted a virtual CXO Summit. AWS co-presented these thought leadership summits, with Angelo Comazzetto, Principal in the Office of the CISO, on each call. During select race weekends, Kurtz and CJ Moses, Deputy CISO of AWS, made surprise visits from the racetrack for the group of CISOs on the virtual call. Special wine tastings, CrowdStrike Racing gear, and livestreaming races were provided to guests via crowdstrikeracing.com.
Another fan enhancement, AWS’ “Race Vision,” was rolled out in the latter half of the year. Special graphics showed data procured from P1 Software with AWS’ cloud technology were broadcast on GT World Challenge America races. The “Powered by AWS” was made easier to understand for race fans, crews, and drivers as data points like “Fastest Lap,” “Fastest through the Turn” and more competitive stats were displayed alongside live racing. More features and interesting data points will be added for the 2021 season.
A special thank-you goes to Operation Motorsport, a veteran-led nonprofit organization that places ill and injured veterans in skilled roles at the racetrack. Staff Sgt. Chad Failing (Ret.) and Staff Sgt. William Babineau (Ret.) worked directly with DXDT Racing and Boehm Racing, offering hands-on support while being welcomed as part of the Championship-winning race team. Operation Motorsport has worked with CrowdStrike for two race seasons and has been a valuable part of the brand’s onsite activations and competition efforts. CrowdStrike’s workforce has a large veteran contingent and is proud to extend support for Operation Motorsport at the racetrack.
CrowdStrike Racing will now look forward to 2021, where a virtual and hybrid format will be present for C-level events paired with GT World Challenge America events across North America. A full season of racing and CXO Summits is planned and will be announced in the coming weeks. Follow along with the team on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and watch the racing livestreams at crowdstrikeracing.com.
CrowdStrike® Inc. (Nasdaq: CRWD), a global cybersecurity leader, is redefining security for the cloud era with an endpoint protection platform built from the ground up to stop breaches. The CrowdStrike Falcon® platform’s single lightweight-agent architecture leverages cloud-scale artificial intelligence (AI) and offers real-time protection and visibility across the enterprise, preventing attacks on endpoints on or off the network. Powered by the proprietary CrowdStrike Threat Graph®, CrowdStrike Falcon correlates over 3 trillion endpoint-related events per week in real time from across the globe, fueling one of the world’s most advanced data platforms for security.
ABOUT DXDT RACING
DXDT Racing LLC is a high-performance sports car racing team founded by team principal David Askew in 2014 and located in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Team’s primary focus is on GT3 and Touring Car racing in North America. The team has fielded cars in various racing series such as SRO’s World Challenge GT America Powered by AWS, IMSA’s Michelin Pilot Challenge, and Lamborghini’s Super Trofeo series. Although the team is young, DXDT is comprised of a group of highly experienced professionals with championship winning backgrounds.
Danielle Crespo, Racing Program Manager, CrowdStrike