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Eight Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Compete This Weekend in Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International

Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Bring IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup Championship Leads to Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen


Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports bring championship leads in the 2019 IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup to this weekend's IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen, June 28 – 30. The six-hour race on the historic Watkins Glen International road course is the fourth IMSA WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) race of the season and the third of four rounds in this year's IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup series.

Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-AMG Team Riley and No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 co- drivers Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga have across-the-board points leads in all three IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup GTD championships.

A series within the overall IMSA WeatherTech Championship, the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup awards top performers in the year's four endurance races, which began with January's season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona and March's 12 Hours of Sebring. Following those races, the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 team and Mercedes- AMG have three-point leads in the respective team, driver and manufacturer standings, 25 – 22, heading to The Glen.

Keating, Bleekemolen and the No. 33 team are the two-time and reigning GTD champions of the Michelin Endurance Cup, which awards points not only at the checkered flag, but also during various points or "segments" within each race. The Daytona and Sebring races accounted for seven of the season's 12 segments, and the No. 33 team finished first in three segments, and second in another to build their championship lead.

The shortest endurance race of the year, the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen has segments at the halfway mark and race finish. The year's final three segments are part of the 10-hour season-ending Petit Le Mans in October.

The Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 is one of eight Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams competing this weekend at Watkins Glen.

Saturday's featured four-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race has seven Mercedes-AMG GT4 teams entered in the top-tier Grand Sport (GS) class. The race joins January's season-opening four-hour at Daytona as the two longest races of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season.

The top Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the two most recent races has been the No. 35 Riley Motorsports entry of Jim Cox and his 18-year-old co-driver Dylan Murry. The team finished fourth at Sebring in March and improved to second one race ago at Mid- Ohio.

The No. 35 team's pair of results are the best for a Mercedes-AMG GT4 this year in the highly competitive GS class, a trend that could continue at Watkins Glen with Bleekemolen named as a third driver in the Riley Motorsports entry.

Reigning GS class champions Owen Trinkler and Hugh Plumb are entered in the No. 46 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4, and compete alongside the sister entry of team owner/driver Ted Giovanis and Guy Cosmo in the No. 4 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4.

Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport is set for Watkins Glen with the team's usual dual entry of the No. 57 Mercedes-AMG GT4 piloted by co-drivers Bryce Ward and Christian Hohenadel, and the No. 33 Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport Mercedes- AMG GT4 with Russell Ward and Indy Dontje.

Murillo Racing is another two-car Mercedes-AMG GT4 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge GS team. Longtime co-drivers Jeff Mosing and Eric Foss partner again in the Murillo Racing No. 56 Mercedes-AMG GT4, while Mosing's brother, Brent Mosing, shares the team's No. 65 Mercedes-AMG GT4 at The Glen with Tim Probert and Justin Piscitell.

Sunday, June 30, at 7 p.m. EDT, with live streaming of the race in its entirety on the NBC Sports App and beginning at 9:30 a.m. EDT.

Friday's schedule at The Glen features practice for both series and IMSA Pilot Challenge GS qualifying at 1:25 p.m. EDT.

A third and final one-hour WeatherTech Championship practice Saturday at 8 a.m. sets the stage for GTD qualifying later that morning at 11:35 a.m. EDT. The four-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge race is scheduled to start Saturday at 1:55 p.m. EDT.

Sunday's schedule begins with a 20-minute WeatherTech Championship warmup session at 8 a.m. EDT, with the green flag set to drop for the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen at 9:45 a.m. EDT.

Ben Keating, Driver – No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: "Our team has won the Endurance Cup the last two years in a row because it is important to us. We are consistent and our strategy puts our Mercedes-AMG GT3 up front when we need to get points. I expect nothing less in Round 3 at Watkins Glen. We have a solid team who knows how to get the job done. I hope to leave the weekend with both the Endurance Cup championship lead and a podium finish at Watkins Glen. We have a solid lead after seven segments with only five to go. If we can do well in both segments at The Glen it could allow us to just focus on winning Petit Le Mans, instead of focusing on the segments. In years past, our Mercedes-AMG GT3 has been good at Watkins Glen. Many competitors did an evolution of their race cars in the off season, and I expect them to be tough at The Glen, but with our team of drivers and our team in the pits, we can expect to be in it at the end."

Jeroen Bleekemolen, Driver – No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3; No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4: "It's great to be able to fight for the Endurance Cup again. It shows how competitive Mercedes- AMG Team Riley always is. They are great on strategy and not making many mistakes over all these hours of racing. It would be great to score good points again for the Endurance Cup championship at Watkins Glen. If you have a good lead going into Petit Le Mans you can focus more on the race finish instead of the segments. So, we'll be out there to give it a good go, and this is one of our strongest tracks. I expect the Mercedes-AMG GT3 to do really well. I have been in a position to win the six hours multiple times but have always been unlucky. So, I'm still looking for my first win in this event."

Dylan Murry, Driver – No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4: "After having three races with this Mercedes-AMG GT4, I feel even more confident for a win. Riley Motorsports has worked their tails off to find an optimal set up, and last week when we were testing, I think we're pretty close to that prefect set up. I'm really excited to see what happens at Watkins Glen this weekend. I absolutely love the four- hour races. It adds a whole new factor to the race because now you're having to deal with fuel conservation, pit stop strategy and driver endurance. To me, it's a lot more fun. Jeroen Bleekemolen will be driving with us again for this race. It worked out really well for Daytona earlier this year, so we're doing it again. He is as good a driver as you can get, so that adds to our chances of winning this race. This is a Mercedes- AMG GT4 track. With the long wheelbase, lots of downforce and the torque going up hills, it's almost like the Mercedes-AMG GT4 was built for this track. Watkins Glen is honestly the perfect track for the Mercedes-AMG GT4."

Russell Ward, Driver – No. 33 Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport Mercedes- AMG GT4: "It has been a tough season so far, but the Winward Mercedes-AMG GT4 has been quick. We were one of the fastest cars last year at The Glen and I hope to carry that momentum into this race. The good results will come. We just need to put everything together. The four-hour format races are where the teams really shine. We were very happy with our sixth-place result at Daytona this year. It was a race of attrition, but we kept our head down and finished in a good position with a relatively clean car. I think the Mercedes-AMG GT4 is better suited to The Glen, so our hopes are high. The strategy plays a larger role, and you are in the car longer. What driver doesn't like that!?"

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