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Michelin Pilot Challenge

Murry, Riley Lead Mercedes GT4 Podium Sweep at Daytona

Riley Motorsports wins the BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona to open the IMPC season…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Dylan Murry turned in a strong final stint to secure the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge GS class victory in the season-opening BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona.

It capped off a tour de force performance from Mercedes-AMG, which placed three cars on the overall podium.

The race finished under yellow due to a heavy crash for Scott Maxwell in the No. 19 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4.

Maxwell’s car made contact with Kris Wilson in the No. 99 Automatic Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4, which was off the pace at the time, going into the bus stop.

The contact shot Maxwell into the tire wall at the inside of the corner where it made contact and flipped over, coming to rest on its roof.

After a lengthy extraction, Maxwell emerged from the car and was taken to the infield care center for evaluation, but the race could not be restarted in time. Maxwell was checked and released by the IMSA medical staff.

Murry, who shared his No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 with Jim Cox and Jeroen Bleekemolen, was the first of three Mercedes runners at the front of the field at the checkered flag.

After a solid opening stint from Cox, Bleekmolen drove into the top ten during his middle stint and inserted the Riley-run car into contention for the win.

Murry took over the car to take it home and was consistently among the fastest cars on track. The victory was the team’s consecutive win in four-hour races in the series, dating back to last season at Watkins Glen.

Murry and Cox also won their class in the four-hour Michelin Encore in November.

Philip Ellis put on a charge in the final 20 minutes to pull within five seconds of the leader but couldn’t reel in Murry in time. Indy Dontje secured third, and a podium sweep for Mercedes-AMG, in the No. 4 machine of HTP Winward Racing.

Jeff Westphal finished fourth for CarBahn with Peregrine Racing, while Kyle Marcelli secured a fifth-place finish for KohR Motorsports in the team’s debut with its Aston Martin Vantage GT4.

Polesitters Kuno Wittmer and Orey Fidani impressed in the first half of the race before a pit lane penalty, and later a mechanical issue, sidetracked their No. 13 AWA McLaren 570S GT4.

Murillo Racing’s Eric Foss and Jeff Mosing, also a podium contender, lost out on a potential top five run when an issue on their final scheduled pit stop forced Foss to make an extra trip down pit lane. They were ultimately credited with an eighth-place finish.

Road Shagger Racing Takes TCR Win

Jon Morley led home an Audi 1-2-3 to claim the first Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR win of the season.

Morley, who along with his Road Shagger Racing Audi RS 3 LMS TCR teammate Gavin Ernstone, ran up front all race and capitalized when misfortune hit many of the class contenders.

It was Alexandre Premat who led when the TCR runners made their final pit stops with around 50 minutes remaining in the race, but was jumped in the pits by Morley and the Road Shagger Racing crew.

When Premat dropped out minutes later with a mechanical problem, that left Morley with a sizable gap to Mikey Taylor in second place.

Taylor, who was a late addition to the Fast MD lineup alongside James Vance, headed fellow South African Stephen Simpson in the No. 54 JDC-Miller Motorsports Audi, who claimed the final spot on the podium for himself and co-driver Michael Johnson.

Michael Lewis headed the Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Veloster N TCR contingent, bringing the No. 98 home in the fourth position ahead of teammates Gabby Chaves and Mark Wilkins.

Midway through the four-hour event, two of the TCR front runners had their races come undone within a matter of minutes. Just past the halfway point, the No. 89 HART Honda Civic Type-R TCR of Chad Gilsinger went behind the wall with an apparent mechanical issue. The car was running in the top six at the time of the problem.

Moments later, the No. 23 FAST MD Audi TCR stopped on track with driver Max Faulkner behind the wheel, bringing out the second Full Course Yellow of the race. Faulkner had spent significant time at the front of the field and was running in the top three when misfortune struck.

Around 30 minutes earlier, the polesitting KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR of Tim Lewis and Roy Block went behind the wall after suffering a broken exhaust, according to IMSA Radio. They later returned and were the final TCR car running at the finish.

RESULTS: BMW Endurance Challenge

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based journalist and sportscaster, covering IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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