TeamTGM Scores First Victory for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 in North America in IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Race Saturday at Lime Rock Park

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams combined to give the Mercedes-AMG GT4 its best performance to date in its first season of competition in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series Saturday at Lime Rock Park where the highlight was a breakout victory by co-drivers Owen Trinkler and Hugh Plumb in the No. 46 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4.

The overall and Grand Sport (GS) class victory was the first race win in North America for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 and the first for TeamTGM in the IMSA Continental Tire series.

TeamTGM’s milestone Mercedes-AMG GT4 win anchored a solid showing of four Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams in the top six in the two-hour race on the 1.5-mile Lime Rock circuit.

Bryce Ward and Indy Dontje improved 15 race positions from 17th on the grid to finish second in the No. 57 Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport entry to back up the win with the first one-two race finish for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 in North America.

Jeff Mosing and Eric Foss finished fifth in the Murrillo Racing No. 56 to make it three Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the top five while Russell Ward and Damien Faulkner took the checkered flag one spot back to complete the four-in-the-top-six result.

Starting second in the No. 46, Trinkler held tight in the runner-up spot for the entirety of his race-opening stint. Plumb took over in a perfectly executed stop by the TeamTGM crew just before halfway and returned to the race with the No. 46 still in second place.

When Alexandre Premat pitted from the lead in his No. 92 Ramsey Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 after pacing the field for 11 laps, Plumb moved into a lead he would successfully hold to the finish. The No. 46 led the final and a race-high 54 laps, and Plumb crossed the finish line 1.879 seconds ahead of Dontje.

The victory moved Plumb, Trinkler and the No. 46 team into the thick of the IMSA Continental Tire series GS championship standings with four races remaining in the 2018 season.

Plumb, Trinkler and the No. 46 came to Lime Rock fourth in the GS driver and team championship rankings but are now in a second-place tie, just four points out of first place, 165 – 161.

In Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen finished sixth in the GT Daytona (GTD) class.

Starting from last on the 10-car GTD grid after a pre-race tire change, both Keating and Bleekemolen flirted with the top five at various points in the two-hour and 40-minute race but ultimately lacked any long-run consistency and pace within the current IMSA rules.

Next up for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams is the Continental Road Race Showcase at Road America, August 3 – 5, which features both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.

Ted Giovanis, Owner/Driver – TeamTGM and No. 4 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4: “It’s really satisfying. We are committed to winning and switched platforms to the Mercedes-AMG GT4 to achieve that. Now it’s a matter of working with the car, understanding what we learn from the car, what it likes, and then trying to understand what the drivers are feeling. It’s tremendous because it’s actually the first win for TeamTGM. Hopefully we will have more. It’s something we have worked hard for, a lot of guys on the team contributed to this, and the over-the-wall guys gave us a little bit of an edge in the pit stop. Everything really fell into place today. It’s great to see the team that we have put together really gel and move forward, and Owen and Hugh did a great job.”

Hugh Plumb, Driver – No. 46 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4: “Obviously, we can’t do this without Ted Giovanis. I got goose bumps at the checkered flag because Ted and all of us collectively at TeamTGM have worked so hard to make this happen. I have been doing this a long time, but I don’t think I have honestly worked so hard as a team to fine tune what we do, and what we do well, and everybody is really kind of on a roll. We just can’t say enough about Ted as our team leader for giving us this opportunity. It is just awesome, and Owen did a great job. We have got the best in the business and there is no reason why we should not be at the top of the charts and leaderboard with the Mercedes-AMG GT4. A lot of races left, and a lot of things can happen, but we will do what we do best and just keep plugging along.” 

Owen Trinkler, Driver – No. 46 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4: "It is awesome to get the team's first win. It's the first win for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 in North America and the first win for this team. It's unbelievable after everything we have been through. We just rolled off the truck so good here and had a good feeling about this race. I am so happy for Ted and Hugh and we all love this place. We have such a good driver pairing, and Joe Varde on the box makes great calls. We have the best boys in the business with this pit crew. They made it happen today and leap frogged us into the lead. The car was just so good today. Mechanically, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 has been awesome. The car has run every session we have asked it to run, it has never hiccupped on anything, and if it keeps doing that the next four events we will be in contention when we come to Road Atlanta.”

Bryce Ward, Driver – No. 57 Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4: “The team, the entire crew, they really sacrificed themselves this weekend. I picked up about five places, the crew gained us around six or seven places in the pits and Indy picked up at least five spots. We really finished on the podium because of the crew and the great Mercedes-AMG GT4 they prepared for us. It really has been rewarding. The results are showing. We are slowly but surely working our way up the order. It’s really nice to be competing as a startup team like us against teams that have been racing for years. I can’t say enough about HTP and how they have helped us develop, understand and learn the car. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 is really so great late in a stint. You can just see it. Toward the end of the race we were just strong, strong, strong. It’s a testament to how the team setup the car, and I take my hat off to the engineers.”

Indy Dontje, Driver – No. 57 Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4: “Basically, it is all about the team today. They did a great job on pit stops. Bryce did a great job picking up spots in his stint, we pitted from 13th and came out seventh, and then I just finished the job off. I told the guys I would catch the Porsche on the last lap, they didn’t believe it, but in the end we did it for second place. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 was great, and the crew worked long nights getting it ready. We are working really hard on pit stops, on driving, and we are getting a good team together now. Everything is coming together, we are ready for another podium and even making it to the highest step, of course.

Ben Keating, Driver – No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: “I feel like we did the best with what we had, what we have been given within the current rules. It feels like we are on a bit of Yo-Yo with the IMSA Balance of Performance (BoP). The Mercedes-AMG GT3 has traditionally been a great car on a long run but today the tire degradation from being the heaviest car in the field really hurt us. We are hopeful it will be better for Road America.”

 

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