Claiming the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS Pro-Am class championship “means the world” to CrowdStrike by Riley’s George Kurtz and Colin Braun according to the longtime driver pairing.
Kurtz and Braun notched their first series title together after a number of years together as co-drivers following Saturday’s Indianapolis 8 Hour presented by AWS, which saw the duo and third driver Nolan Siegel also earn top class honors in the race.
It came in a race that saw the Riley-run operation strategically start the race off with Bronze-rated Kurtz, who completed his minimum drive time, before turning over to Siegel and Braun to finish the joint Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli/Fanatec GT enduro.
“That was the plan, to get [my drive time] out of the way,” Kurtz told Sportscar365. “I had great co-drivers. Nolan did a fantastic job and of course the closer [Colin]. I couldn’t be happier.
“After so many years of trying, it means the world to us. I’m really proud of the team.”
Kurtz and Braun entered the weekend at a three-point deficit to the No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Elliott Skeer and Adam Adelson, which challenged the No. 04 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo for the class win until suffering a left-rear puncture.
“George and Nolan did a great job,” said Braun. “These Riley guys had great pit stops, great strategy all day. It went green a lot longer than I think we thought it was going to.
“We put our heads down, stayed in the hunt and stayed in the mix.
“I was able to get around [the 120 car] at one point towards the end of my stint. Then Nolan got boxed in traffic and we were able to get them back and just cruise to the end.
“We were just managing the pace and the gap, trying to stay out of trouble, trying not to cut a tire or have anything crazy happen.”
When asked about the pace of their championship rival, Braun felt like they would have had them covered even if the issues didn’t befell the No. 120 Porsche.
“They were strong until they had their issues but the stint before they had their issues I passed them on the track and got ahead of them,” he said.
“Who knows, it would have been fun to battle them all the way to the end but they did a great job all year. Hats off to those guys but I’m glad we could get it done.”
Braun added: “We had super high highs and a couple of lows put us in a place where we had to come here and get it done.”
Kurtz Praises Drive by Siegel
Eighteen-year-old Indy NXT driver Siegel, in his GT3 debut, came out a class winner, in a drive that was praised by Kurtz.
“I race with Nolan in the P2 car,” he explained. “The kid did a fantastic job. When [the Pro-Am class requirement for the race] went to a Silver rating versus a Bronze, Nolan came to mind.
“It was his first time really in the car and he did a fantastic job. We couldn’t have asked for anything else from the kid.”