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“Business as Usual” for Braun in Pro-Am Title Defense

Colin Braun on fighting for back-to-back Pro-Am titles in Fanatec GT America with CrowdStrike by Riley…

Photo: Fabian Lagunas/SRO

Colin Braun says it’s “business as usual” for he and George Kurtz as the CrowdStrike by Riley duo look to defend their Pro-Am championship in Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS this year.

The duo in the No. 04 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, who combined for six class wins last year, are looking to carry momentum from last year’s campaign in what’s a largely unchanged effort for the upcoming season.

“For George and I, coming in as defending champions, the goal is clear: to win races and win the championship again,” Braun told Sportscar365.

“There’s quite a few guys moving up from the GT4 ranks up to the Pro-Am class. It’s a good car count again.

“We’ve been working hard in the off-season. The Riley guys certainly have been working really hard and I think we’re well-prepared and ready to get on with it.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what shakes out.

“Last year was really strong for us and we built good momentum. We want to keep that momentum going and hopefully pick up where we left off.”

When asked to pinpoint particular title rivals, Braun said he expects a mix of newcomers and returning entries that will put up a strong fight.

“You’ve got a lot of guys moving up from GT4 and it will take time to see how they settle in,” he said.

“Beyond those guys, you obviously have STR car with Neil [Verhagen] and Samantha [Tan]. They were really strong last year, especially at the end.

“I think the DXDT guys are always a staple team that’s been strong.

“Those two are good year-in-and-year-out efforts. I think those are definitely going to be hard competition. And the GT4 guys could be right in the mix as well.

“We don’t know until we get going and see where it all shakes out.”

Braun credited the consistency within the team as well as his longtime co-driver in Kurtz as being keys to their recent string of success.

“It really helps,” he said. “Obviously George and I have been driving and working together for over ten years now.

“I think we understand each other about as good as you could.

“Whether it’s good or bad we both definitely like driving the same kind of car.

“I think that’s really helpful for us as a pair.

“The consistency with the team and consistency with the Mercedes-AMG, we show up at these weekends now having a good notebook of what worked and what didn’t last year and where we want to improve.

“For us, it’s helpful because we can just work on our driving things and chip away. We’re not having to learn a lot of new things, people or cars. We’re just business as usual.”

IndyCar Has Been “Fun” Venture for Braun

The 35-year-old said his venture into the NTT IndyCar Series with Dale Coyne Racing has been an enjoyable experience, having fulfilled a lifetime goal to compete in North America’s premier open-wheel series.

Braun took part in last month’s season-opener at St. Pete and was also in the car for the $1 Million Challenge at The Thermal Club.

“It’s been fun,” he said. “Through my career, I’ve always driven so many different kinds of cars and things, whether it’s helping guys in SCCA in little prototype cars or whatnot, doing GRC, I’ve always been a guy that enjoys jumping in something different or something new and having a challenge to figure out and always adapting back and forth.

“The IndyCar kind of fits in the bucket of its own unique car to learn. Jumping back in these certainly feels like putting on an old pair of shoes I guess.”

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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