Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams CRP Racing and Black Swan Racing will bring momentum from a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT3 race wins last month in the season-opening Pirelli World Challenge SprintX event to Rounds 3 and 4, taking place this weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), May 19 – 21. The second of five doubleheader events on the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge SprintX schedule is the only Canadian stop for the series.
On the final day of the season-opening SprintX weekend at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) on April 30, CRP Racing scored the overall and Pro-class wins while Black Swan Racing won the Pro/Am division. Both victories marked the first wins for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in Pirelli World Challenge competition.
Ryan Dalziel and Daniel Morad co-drove the No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 to the VIR victory in the top-tier GT Pro class, while Tim Pappas and Jeroen Bleekemolen shared the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, which finished 10th overall and first in the GT Pro/Am class. Both driver duos will be looking for continued success this weekend at CTMP, a 2.458-mile, 10-turn road circuit located northeast of Toronto.
A complementary series to the main Pirelli World Challenge championship, SprintX blends the multiple-driver tradition of sports car endurance racing with the excitement of sprint racing, as a driver change is required in each of the weekend’s pair of races.
The SprintX format also requires drivers to swap driving slots for each race- the driver that starts the first race must drive the closing stint in the next day’s race and the driver that closes out the opening race is required to start the second race.
Morad, who came home a winner with Dalziel at VIR in the duo’s first race with CRP Racing, will have the advantage of competing on his home track this weekend. The young Canadian native was born in Ontario and is a lifelong resident of the greater Toronto area.
The early-season success of the Mercedes-AMG customer teams has moved Mercedes-AMG into a first-place tie with Ferrari in the SprintX GT Manufacturer Championship heading to CTMP.
Dalziel, Morad and CRP Racing are second in the respective SprintX GT Pro Driver and Team Championship standings, just two points out of first place in both battles. Pappas and Bleekemolen are fourth in the SprintX Pro/Am Driver Championship point standings.
SprintX Round 1 from CTMP is scheduled to start at 1:45 p.m. EDT this Saturday, May 20, while Round 2 goes green at 3:40 p.m. EDT this Sunday, May 21.
Ryan Dalziel, Driver – No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “Coming off of such a strong weekend for CRP Racing, myself and Daniel at VIR, we are all full of confidence going to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. There has been a small weight addition to the Mercedes-AMG GT3 since VIR, so we will have to see how that affects us, but I think the track will be really good for our car. We are going to be pushing hard for that double victory that we missed at VIR. Both Daniel and I have raced recently so I know we will be alert and ready to push from lap one of practice.”
Daniel Morad, Driver – No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “We got off to a near perfect start in the SprintX Championship, with a win in race two in VIR, meaning momentum is on our side going into my home race at CTMP. Any time I get the opportunity to race near home, it makes me really happy. Having all of my friends and family out will be huge, and I’m confident that our Mercedes AMG GT3 will be perfectly suited to the fast and flowing 10 turns we’re going to face this weekend.”
Tim Pappas, Driver – No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “The Mercedes-AMG GT3 should absolutely do well at CTMP given the right circumstances. Like any race, it always comes down to the individual teams and drivers and how they execute, but you need a good foundation, which the car provides. The fast corners at CTMP should suit the car’s aero balance, and the torque that it generates should help us with the run up the back straight. Headed in to CTMP, there is no reason to think our momentum can’t continue as the layout of the track is one that should suit the car well, however we’ll have to see what the latest round of performance adjustments do. We’re lucky to have a great team, and an excellent driver in Jeroen, so we’re definitely confident on the talent within our group to do well.”
Jeroen Bleekemolen, Driver – No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “It was great to get a win in our first weekend. It gives the whole team the confidence we can win races. The competition is very strong in Pro/Am with some of the best guys out there, but after VIR I think we can go into the weekend with a lot of confidence. I think the Mercedes-AMG GT3 is a great car for CTMP as It handles well in fast corners, and CTMP has many of those. Long straights aren’t our favorite, and there is a pretty long one there, but overall we should be strong. I love this track — it is still old school, very fast and natural. I have had success there in the past and hope to add more at one of the most challenging tracks in the world.”