A pair of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams will compete in the third race weekend on the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge SprintX calendar this Memorial Day weekend at Lime Rock Park. The doubleheader race weekend includes a 60-minute race on Friday and Saturday, and will bring the SprintX series to the mid-season mark. Ryan Dalziel and Daniel Morad will co-drive the No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the top-tier SprintX GT Pro class, while Tim Pappas and Jeroen Bleekemolen will share the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the SprintX GT Pro/Am division.
The Pirelli World Challenge SprintX Championship comes to Lime Rock just days after competing last weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (CTMP) for what was supposed to be Rounds 3 and 4 of the championship.
Sunday’s finale at CTMP was rained out, however, and will be rescheduled at another venue later this season. This weekend of racing at the 1.52-mile Lime Rock Park race track will bring the SprintX season to an all-important halfway mark when the checkered flag waves on Saturday afternoon.
Dalziel, Morad and CRP Racing are in the hunt for the SprintX GT Pro driver and team championships while Pappas, Bleekemolen and Black Swan Racing are in a tight battle for the SprintX GT Pro/Am driver and team titles. Both teams drove their Mercedes-AMG GT3s to victory in Round 2 of the series at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) in the opening weekend of SprintX competition last month. The VIR wins were the first for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in Pirelli World Challenge competition.
The early-season success has also moved Mercedes-AMG into first-place contention for the SprintX GT Manufacturer Championship, entering last weekend in a tie for first place with Ferrari.
At CTMP on Saturday, Dalziel and Morad co-drove to a sixth-place GT Pro and overall finish, while Pappas and Bleekemolen finished 10th in the GT Pro/Am class.
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.
Both CRP and Black Swan participated in an unofficial test at Lime Rock this past Tuesday, an important full day of track time in light of this weekend’s tight, two-day schedule.
A single practice session and qualifying on Friday, May 26, will set the stage for the first 60-minute SprintX race of the weekend later that afternoon at 3:55 p.m. EDT. SprintX Round 2 from Lime Rock is scheduled to start at 1:20 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 27.
Both of this weekend’s Lime Rock SprintX races will be live streamed on www.world-challenge.com and www.motortrendondemand.com in addition to coverage on the CBS Sports Network in June on a taped-delayed basis.
Jeroen Bleekemolen, Driver – No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “Lime Rock is a fun place to race. I like the flow it has, and the last corner particularly. The track has only one left hand turn and the rest is all to the right. That makes the set-up a bit different to most other tracks, but our Mercedes-AMG GT3 seems to like the track. Because the lap is so short, it’s hard to overtake, and finding clear laps won’t be easy, but after two strong showings in terms of pace at both VIR and CTMP I feel we should be pretty fast again.”
Ryan Dalziel, Driver – No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “The Mercedes- AMG GT3 is very strong everywhere we race, but circuits that have fast, flowing corners are where it really shows its speed. Lime Rock ticks all the right boxes for the Mercedes-AMG GT3, but the track is really tough. It’s short, fast and you never get a chance to catch your breath. The circuit only has one left-handed corner, so setting up the car can be tough, especially for tire wear over the race distance. The layout of the circuit should suit the Mercedes-AMG GT3 really well so qualifying will be key.”
Daniel Morad, Driver – No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “Lime Rock is a quick turnaround from CTMP, and with limited track time, it will be a very tricky weekend for everybody. We have a great platform to start on with the Mercedes-AMG GT3, which helps us get to the limits quickly.”