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Kurtz, Braun, Catsburg in “Rare Club” of Two Centenary Wins

Three drivers can lay claim to having class wins in two 100th anniversary 24-hour endurance classics…

Photo: CrowdStrike Racing

When George Kurtz, Colin Braun and Nicky Catsburg teamed with Ian James for Pro-Am class honors in last month’s CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa, the trio entered a “rare club” of being the only drivers to have notched wins in two centenary editions of 24-hour endurance classics.

That’s because Kurtz and Braun were victorious in the 100th anniversary 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP2 Pro-Am class last year, driving CrowdStrike by APR’s Oreca 07 Gibson, while Catsburg took the GTE-Am category win in the same race for Corvette Racing.

Fast-forward 12 months and the trio shared the top step of the podium in another centenary 24-hour race, but this time at the wheel of a Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo entered by CrowdStrike by Riley.

“From my perspective, until we reflected on it, one of my buddies brought it up to me and said, ‘Hey, I think you’re the only ones to have done that,'” Kurtz told Sportscar365.

“To be in a rare club, to be able to get those wins, is just amazing. It’s a tremendous achievement and honor.

“Obviously we didn’t have a great Le Mans this year, so it was nice to get the win last year and follow it up with a 100th anniversary Spa win.

“The common denominator has been the other guys that I’ve been with who have been successful there.

“This year, it was just serendipity that we were able to all get together and put the win on the board as one team.”

Reflecting on the unique achievement, Braun said that he’s grateful to have had the opportunity through the two CrowdStrike-backed teams.

“Those races, in themselves, are so special. To be able to win both of those, [in the centenary] is incredible,” he said.

“George and I were actually talking about it the other day and ran through in our heads the list of guys that could have won both.

“Spa was obviously title sponsored by CrowdStrike, so that made it even cooler.

“It’s been an incredible last week-and-a-half or so after winning the Spa race. I think you never forget about a Le Mans win, either.

“Couple those together and it’s pretty special.”

Catsburg, who has a 24-hour class win at Daytona also to his credit, along with overall honors in the Nürburgring 24, said the centenary 24-hour double is something he’s “super proud” of achieving, particularly with two different teams and cars.

“I always say that these [24-hour] wins don’t come easy,” he told Sportscar365. “Sometimes you really need to be very aware of the fact that you’re in a lucky position, that you’re always in cars that are able to win.

“Because there can be many years where you don’t win anything at all. I’m very happy with that.

“This year’s Spa was super tough. The weather conditions were extremely tricky. We saw many crashes during the race due to the changeable conditions.

“It was extra nice that we came out on top. People might say, ‘There weren’t so many cars in your class and not many cars finished the race or they finished many laps behind.’

“That’s true but, in the end, that’s why we won the race, because the others made mistakes or made wrong calls at the wrong moment.

“My teammates did a fantastic job keeping the car on the track, thinking about safety first and finishing the race first. That’s why we won the race because the team and the drivers made the right calls.

“And Le Mans is obviously Le Mans. I can’t deny that. That was a very special race for us winning in the last race of the GTE-Am class and with Corvette after many years of trying, that was very special.”

Kurtz, meanwhile, said both of his 24-hour race-winning cars, still in ‘battle scars’ from each race, have been retired to his private collection.

As for his next major endurance race win target, the CrowdStrike co-founder and CEO said he has his sights set on the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a race that his team came mere feet away from LMP2 class victory in 2023.

“I don’t have any plans to do Nürburgring, so the big one [left] is Daytona,” he said. “We’ve come so close for the last couple of years.

“Last year was sixteen-thousandths of a second, which was heartbreaking. This year, we had a strong car, strong team and strong lineup and we just came up a little bit short in second.

“That’s really the [next] goal. That will check all of the boxes for me, as the most prestigious endurance races. We’ll see what we can put together for next year.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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