Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams gave the Mercedes-AMG GT3 a positive Pirelli World Challenge series debut in this past weekend’s doubleheader event on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida (March 10 – 12). Ryan Dalziel rebounded from a challenging first race on Saturday to finish sixth in the top-tier GT class on Sunday, while Pablo Perez Companc and Tim Pappas each raced to a top-five finish in GTA class competition over the course of the doubleheader race weekend.
Competing in the No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the first time at St. Petersburg, Dalziel started Sunday’s final 50-minute race of the weekend from 13th on the grid after contact early in Saturday’s race hindered his performance. Dalziel raced with the lead pack of GT cars for the majority of Sunday’s race and improved six positions to finish seventh overall and sixth in GT at the checkered flag.
In the GTA class for sportsman drivers, Perez Companc staged a rebound of his own on Sunday in his first race weekend driving the No. 69 Champ 1 Mercedes-AMG GT3. Starting at the back of the field after an early retirement from contact in Saturday’s race, Companc quickly stepped up to challenge his GTA-class competitors, picking up five places and nearly a third-place-finish by the end of the race.
Pappas and his No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 team posted the top Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing result on Saturday with a fifth-place GTA finish. Pappas built on that momentum from the drop of the green flag on Sunday, improving eight positions at the start of the race to earn the Optima Batteries Best Start Award.
The strong start shot Pappas to second in GTA early in the race before a spin dropped him back down in the running order a few laps later. He quickly recovered and managed to work his way back to a seventh-place result in GTA by the checkered flag, turning his fastest lap of the race just seven laps from the finish.
Next up for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams on the Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTA schedule is the Grand Prix of Long Beach, CA, April 7 – 9.
This weekend, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams return to IMSA action in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the 65th running of the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida, March 16 – 18.
Ryan Dalziel, Driver – No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “It was an encouraging weekend overall for us. We definitely got the right balance in the car for race two and we were definitely one of the fastest cars from the middle to the end of the race. It’s all about qualifying, and we need to obviously extract more of the available performance out of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 to start at the front and finish at the front. It’s hard work when you start in the middle of the pack and try to come through the field on street courses. All in all, we made gains, we finished sixth in class on Sunday, and I think we got the car back to the best it had been all weekend. We have a lot to review going into the next race.”
Pablo Perez Companc, Driver – No. 69 Champ1 Mercedes-AMG GT3: “I am super happy with the weekend, especially to complete the Sunday race. I wish I had completed at least a couple of laps on Saturday but it was impossible because of a mistake I made in turn three, but on Sunday we had a clean race. I wanted to finish, it didn’t matter the position, so fourth place is really good. It’s better than I expected on our first weekend and I know that we have a lot of work to do with the team to prepare ourselves for the next race. I am already looking forward to that and we are very happy with the Mercedes-AMG GT3. It finished really strong.”
Nicholas Short, Team Owner – No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “The potential is definitely there and the Mercedes-AMG GT3 is a great car. We’ve just got to come together with it, understand it a little better and probably put a better setup car under Ryan. It’s a little different here in the States than it is in Europe, so the setups vary a little bit more. We’ve just got to find that sweet spot for this car. We’ll go back to the shop, look at the car, probably go to VIR (Virginia International Raceway) and do a little bit of testing there before shipping the car to Long Beach.”
Jose Collado Mendez, Team Owner – No. 69 Champ1 Mercedes-AMG GT3: “Our main goal here was to finish and we knew coming into St. Petersburg it was going to be tough. It’s a street course and we also just took delivery of our car one week before the event. Not finishing race one on Saturday was a bummer for all of us but we knew we could put the car back together, we knew we had a good machine with the Mercedes-AMG GT3, and we knew we had a good driver who can obviously put the car up front. We were actually hoping we could get on the podium, and we almost had it on Sunday, but the whole focus here was to finish and we did. We have a good car to take to Long Beach so that’s what we’re looking forward to now.”