Lone Star Racing team principal and driver Dan Knox will return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2017 with ACS Manufacturing, co-driver Mike Skeen and an all-new Mercedes-AMG GT3.
The team took delivery of its new Mercedes-AMG GT3 Monday at its Motorsports Ranch-based shop in Cresson, Tex., and gave the car its first shakedown run yesterday on the facility’s road course.
“Mercedes-AMG had a great performance record in 2016 with their new car,” said Lone Star Racing Team Manager AJ Petersen. “We had a good experience racing in IMSA last year so it made some sense to continue in the WeatherTech Championship with an all-new car similar to the front-engine format we have been racing.”
Lone Star raced a Dodge Viper GT3-R in a four-race GTD schedule last year, earning a season-best finish of eighth in its final race at Circuit of The Americas with Knox and Skeen co-driving.
“The car definitely has some similarities with the Viper,” Petersen said. “From my perspective, it definitely helps to step into another car that is similar.
“There are a lot of good cars that are available for IMSA GTD. It is really a great time to be shopping for a GT3-spec car but the Mercedes-AMG GT3 was the best choice for us.”
Knox and Skeen co-drove together for the first time last year in IMSA GTD, in addition to a one-off performance in the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX race at Laguna Seca. Taking over from Knox, Skeen led Saturday’s SprintX race and ultimately finished second after being passed under two laps from the finish.
“The Mercedes-AMG GT3 has proven to be a competitive car worldwide in 2016 and I am confident it will continue its winning ways in the U.S.,” Skeen said.
“We made good progress with the Viper this season and getting everyone to work together as a team, so hopefully that momentum will continue. Part of the decision to go with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 was to find a car that would be similar in driving style and just a generally confidence inspiring car to drive.”
Lone Star is currently reviewing its 2017 options within the WeatherTech Championship, with an obvious goal to run as many races as possible.
“My team goals will be to run consistent top-10 finishes at every event and build from there,” Petersen said. “We look forward to finalizing our exact racing schedule in the very near future.”
The team was running fifth with Skeen at the wheel in the late stages of this year’s COTA IMSA race only to be forced to serve a penalty for an earlier contact incident in the final minutes.
“We were close to some very good finishes this year but for some little issues, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect big things from this team in 2017,” Skeen said.
“Dan really enjoyed his time racing in IMSA this season. This is an extension of that effort and a natural progression for the program to continue expanding in the future.
“The inclusion of Mercedes-AMG as a part of it is very exciting and we are all looking forward to competing with this new platform.”