One of the most successful teams in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona competition could be the grid in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge next year, with Riley Motorsports targeting an expansion of its efforts with Mercedes-AMG to include the new GT4 car.
The factory-backed GTD squad, which gave the Mercedes-AMG GT3 its first North American victory at the Twelve Hours of Sebring in March, is “actively involved” in discussions to field up to two of the new Mercedes-AMG GT4s in GS class competition next year, according to team owner Bill Riley.
“With AMG coming out with a GT4 car, it’s natural for us to look at running customers in that class,” Riley told Sportscar365.
“We’re actively discussing with customers that would like to operate out of the Riley facility and for us to operate their program for them with the new AMG GT4.
“The goal [for us] would be to run two cars at Daytona in the GS class.”
Based on the Mercedes-AMG GT R road car, the twin turbo V8-powered Mercedes GT4 made its competition debut in last weekend’s VLN round, finishing 16th overall and ahead of all SRO-homologated GT4 cars in the six-hour enduro.
Riley said there’s been a high level of interest for the car, which is set to see customer deliveries begin later this year.
The Mercedes is one of a half-dozen new cars set to join the GT4 ranks next year, alongside models from the likes of Audi, BMW, Ford and Chevrolet.
“It’s based on a powerful road car and a really great GT3 car, so they have both ends covered,” Riley said of the Mercedes GT4. “I think those two together is going to make it a really strong piece.
“There’s a lot of people looking at the cars, so we’d have to see when a customer commits and then go through the process with AMG to get cars.”
With the goal of assembling a two-car GS program, Riley is hopeful of building on its success with the German manufacturer’s GT3 model as well, which made its WeatherTech Championship debut this year.
Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen currently sit second in the GTD title race, with two class wins to their credit, although have been through a recent dry spell with the car in the wake of Balance of Performance adjustments from IMSA.
While Riley said he’s hopeful of Keating and the WeatherTech Racing-backed program for Cooper MacNeil to both continue, he hasn’t closed discussions for other options as well.
“It’s that time of year where we’re talking to people,” he said. “The MacNeil’s and WeatherTech are outstanding, and so is Ben. Hopefully we’ll just keep this rolling.”