Defending Pirelli World Challenge GTSA champion George Kurtz is back with GMG Racing this season, armed with a brand-new Audi R8 LMS GT4.
This week on the Pirelli Paddock Pass, Kurtz reflects on the implications of returning to the series as the reigning class champion and provides insight into the growth of GTS in PWC and GT4 around the world.
What are your thoughts on coming into this season as the defending GTSA champion?
“We’re really excited about the new season and the new car. I think the fans should really be excited about the field in GTS. It’s really exploded with a lot of cars, a lot of talent, and a lot of manufacturers.
“If you look up and down the grid, there’s a lot of talent in GTS and GTSA. It’s stacked.
“I think it’s going to be really tough year, but we’re excited to see the competition level increase and when we get to SprintX we’re really excited to be partnered with Colin Braun.”
How did the deal come together with Colin to be your co-driver?
“I’ve been working with Colin since 2013, coaching and we’ve run the 25 Hours of Thunderhill several times together.
“We’ve always wanted to put something together to do the full season. He’s been a friend for awhile and he’s helped me for many years.”
How have you adapted to the Audi R8 LMS GT4?
“It’s a bit of a change. I like the car. It’s a little less intrusive, which I like. Certainly the McLaren was a good car, we got a lot of results out of it, but this car is pretty straight forward.
“You have traction control, you have ABS, and that’s it. You can really drive the car. Audi has done a really good job with it and it feels like a race car.”
What prompted the decision to switch cars for this year?
“I think the support that Audi brings was a big factor. They’ve been doing this a long time and they’re really good on the customer support side.
“When you have races that are back to back and you need a part, you want to make sure that you can always get that. I think they just build stout cars and it’s going to be really good.”
What do you think is behind the growth we’ve seen in GTS and GT4 more broadly?
“I think the new manufacturers coming in have brought a lot of enthusiasm about the class. I think the cost factor is a big consideration compared to a GT3.
“Folks can get into a GT4 and have a heck of a lot of fun for a good value, and I think it encourages the customer racing, which is really what they’re looking for.
“Now with SprintX, I think it opens up a whole other dimension to it. You can have customers, you can have you pro drivers, and it’s getting to where the series wanted it to be: pro-am in SprintX and customer-driven for the field.”