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GT World Challenge America

Pirelli Paddock Pass: George Kurtz

GT World Challenge America winner George Kurtz discusses the VIR weekend and more…

Photo: Crowdstrike Racing

The combination of George Kurtz, Colin Braun and CrowdStrike Racing’s DXDT Racing-run Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo broke through for its first overall victory earlier this month in GT World Challenge America powered by AWS’ season restart at Virginia International Raceway.

It marked the biggest victory yet for Kurtz, the CEO and co-founder of the cybersecurity firm, who has made a measured progression through the SRO America ranks in recent years.

In this week’s edition of the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Kurtz describes the win and how it’s been racing under COVID-19.

How does it feel to have become an overall race winner GT World Challenge America powered by AWS?

“It feels amazing. This is something Colin and I have been working on for the last two seasons since moving from GT4 to GT.

“Last year we struggled with our car and never attained the pace that I thought we were capable of. We also spent a lot of time in the off-season practicing and doing SIM work. To see it all come together with Colin was really special.”

What was going through your mind in the closing laps of Race 2 at VIR? Were you totally focused or have any coaching help from Colin or Jeff Braun on the radio?

“First, I want to thank the entire crew for an amazing pit stop. We were over the minimum time by just 0.084 of second. You could not do any better. After building up an 11-second lead, I was just trying to manage the pace and the tires.

“I saw the Porsche stopped on the side of the track coming out of Oak Tree and knew we would go full course yellow, totally erasing all our hard work. At that point I knew I had to get a great restart or the Acuras would catch me on the front straight.

“Jeff was on the radio the entire race lending a calm voice and I chatted a bit with Colin, but the reality was we knew our plan and just executed it. Not much talking needed.

“I put my head down and just tried to keep a gap until the race ended. It was all about execution and staying focused. In the closing minutes it was our race to lose, and the entire team got the job done. I am very proud of everyone on the DXDT/CrowdStrike team.”

How did the VIR weekend go overall from your perspective? Were you pleased with the level of preparations SRO America made regarding its COVID-19 protocol?

“I thought the weekend went well. We should have had a better result on Saturday but we managed to mitigate the damage of a poor start and some extra time in the pits, coming in fourth in class. Sunday was obviously fantastic and a race I will always remember.

“I thought SRO was very prepared and had protocols in place to make the race happen while trying to protect drivers, crew, and officials. I am sure each race will continue to get better with new learnings.”

Has the Evo version of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 helped your driving style in any way?

“The Mercedes AMG-GT3 Evo has been great. First off we started the season with a brand-new car, which really helped start from a known baseline. Last year we had some braking issues that we could never sort out that really hurt our pace.

“This year not only did we start with a new car, but the Evo changes suit both Colin’s and my driving styles.

“Colin nailed a fast race lap in Race 1 which showed our pace. However, we still struggle overall with top speed and raceablity compared to the Acura. While we can crank out fast laps on our own, our straight line speed is still not competitive in race situations.”

How has CrowdStrike’s at-track activation changed in the current COVID-19 era? Are you working on ways to activate and reach your guests/VIPs from home?

“We continue to work on track activation using virtual viewing events combined with our CXO Roundtable events which have always been viewed as extremely valuable for our customers and prospects.

“We will continue to look for new immersive ways to connect with our customers. We are excited about some of the new technologies that our great partner, AWS is bringing into the paddock. Each race we will continue to get better on and off the track.”

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