Kurtz and Braun celebrated their landmark first victory together after a tough and tense battle Sunday. After Braun started the No. 04 from first in class, Kurtz roared across the finish line holding on to his 0.226s lead ahead of the second place car after a late-race, full-course caution bunched up the field for the final 12 minutes of the race.
“First off, I have to thank DXDT Racing and Mercedes-AMG for such a great CrowdStrike/AWS Mercedes-AMG GT3,” said Kurtz, a veteran champion of SRO competition. “Colin did a fantastic job, and that combined with the great pit stop from DXDT Racing gave me a big lead that I was able to extend. I saw one of the Porsches stopped on the back straight and knew we were going to have a restart and the fight was going to be on. With a couple minutes left, I had to buckle down and focus on pulling a gap over second place and got it done. It’s a special win today with Colin.”
Braun began from first in the Pro-Am class and a second overall position after a strong Saturday qualifying effort and held the lead for the first 50 minutes. He pulled into the pitlane for the race’s mandatory stop for fuel, new Pirelli tires and a driver change to Kurtz.
Embracing the mantra of making every second count, the DXDT Racing crew got Kurtz out of the pitlane with the quickest stop of the race and less than a second above the minimum allowed pit stop time.
The crew’s quick pitwork allowed Kurtz to build a lead of more than 11 seconds before a full-course caution with a full 15 minutes left to race. Suddenly, Kurtz’s hard-earned lead disappeared as the rest of the field lined up behind him for the restart. The pressure of leading by such a small margin didn’t faze Kurtz, who put together quick lap after quick lap to take the checkered flag for the whole team.
“This is super special for CrowdStrike and DXDT Racing,” Braun said. “Seeing how the race unfolded, we obviously had a good gap before the yellow came out. It fell back on George’s shoulders to really push hard there at the end. To see him finish off that race like he did… he didn’t just get in and have a big gap to the finish. He had to earn it. “Every Second Sounts, like CrowdStrike says. It’s really cool to see him drive at that level. Seeing him execute like that was super special. Our CrowdStrike/AWS Mercedes-AMG was hooked up all weekend and was fast in all our practices. This was a real team effort and a special day.”
Kurtz and Braun suffered a double bout of misfortune in the opening 90-minute race Saturday. After running in podium position from sixth earlier in the day, the No. 04 CrowdStrike Mercedes-AMG just missed claiming a trophy. The day began tough for Kurtz, who went off-track to avoid a spinning car while trying to set his best qualifying time.
Another issue in the race set the Mercedes-AMG back in the order, as did an extra pit stop shortly after the mandatory driver change. Despite being a lap down, Braun posted the two best times in the race to show the pace of the CrowdStrike Mercedes-AMG.