Top-Four Finish in First GT3 Event for CrowdStrike at COTA

CrowdStrike Racing’s George Kurtz and Colin Braun made their GT3 debut in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Americas a successful one at Circuit of the Americas, capping off their weekend with a top-five class finish in their Mercedes-AMG GT3.


Driving the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Racing Mercedes, Braun and Kurtz weathered a difficult weekend – literally and figuratively – throughout. Cold temperatures and damp conditions provided an additional challenge to learning a new car in a new category.


Nevertheless, the CrowdStrike/DXDT operation found steady improvements from the first sessions Thursday onward, culminating in a satisfying Sunday result. Kurtz and Braun placed fourth in GT3 Pro-Am and ninth overall in the 90-minute enduro, which aired on CBS Sports Network.


Braun began Sunday’s race 15th on the grid but didn’t stay there long. The young American star made up nine spots on the first lap – many of those after a daring run through the first corner. Despite relative unfamiliarity with the Mercedes-AMG, Braun ran a consistent pace through his nearly 50-minute stint and ran as high as fourth overall and third in class.


He pitted with 42 minutes left and handed over to Kurtz, the 2017 World Challenge GTSA Champion. It was fraught run to the checkered flag for Kurtz, including his own strong move on a restart with 10 minutes remaining to move up to fourth in class. The fight for position solidified the pairing’s top-10 finish.


“I feel really good, and we had good pace,” Kurtz said. “Obviously Colin had a fantastic start Sunday. I think this was really a building race for us – our first race together as a team in GT3 with the Mercedes-AMG. The car was great. It was a scrappy race all around. We were in position for a podium and didn’t put it together. We had a little bit of a coolant leak and some bumping and banging, but at the end of the day it was a great car. We’re really excited about our overall performance: a top-five in class and a top-10 overall. We’ll use that to build on the next race at VIR.”


Saturday’s race started in solid fashion for the DXDT/CrowdStrike Mercedes. Kurtz qualified a respectable ninth in class earlier in the day on (unsurprisingly) a cold, drying track. His start was a relatively calm one with a careful run for the first 10 minutes before a full-course caution and then a red-flag stoppage for nearly 30 minutes.


Once the race went green again, Kurtz began climbing through the field. He picked one spot back to 15th on the first lap following the restart, and by the time he handed over to Braun with 50 minutes left, the No. 04 CrowdStrike Mercedes had moved up to as high as 13th overall and sixth in class.


Braun left the pitlane with about 46 minutes remaining; once the pit window closed he ran 15th overall and eighth in class. Attrition continued to take its toll on a handful of other entries, which moved the CrowdStrike Mercedes up to 12th overall and sixth in the Pro-Am category.


Trouble struck late with two late pit stops that pushed Braun back down to 15th overall and ninth in class – where his teammate began the race.


“This was our first weekend with the new team, and I think things went pretty well; we gained a lot of experience,” Braun said. “Overall, it was a great weekend and George did a good job in his first weekend in the Mercedes-AMG GT3. We had a small mechanical issue in the first race, but in the second race we were in position for a podium opportunity right until the end.


“We earned a top-five in only our second race with DXDT and Mercedes and I’m pretty proud of that,” he added. “We were able to spend some time with the CrowdStrike guests and put on a good show for them both days so that’s a win in my book too. I’m looking forward to building on this weekend and having a great 2019 season!”


CrowdStrike Racing and the Blancpain GT World Challenge America return to action on April 26-28 at Virginia International Raceway. For more information on the series, visit

Adam Sinclair