Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams Riley Motorsports and Winward Racing earned three podium finishes combined across two IMSA racing series, during a successful weekend of competition at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The No. 74 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 team, with co-drivers Gar Robinson and Lawson Aschenbach, improved from 10th place at the start to secure a second-place finish in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on Sunday. The No. 74 team’s season-best result followed a second-place finish earlier on Sunday by co-drivers Jim Cox and Dylan Murry, driving the No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the weekend’s second of two IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge races. In Saturday’s first IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race, Russell Ward and Indy Dontje co-drove the No. 4 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 to a third-place finish.
The No. 74 team and drivers came to Mid-Ohio primed to deliver a strong result, following a run of top-four GTD finishes in the two most recent IMSA WeatherTech Championship races, including a third-place finish in August at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR).
Robinson qualified and started 10th in the GT Daytona (GTD) field but quickly moved up a position on the opening race lap, starting a steady climb to the front throughout his race-opening stint. He took the lead for a lap before pitting under caution, handing the No. 74 off to Aschenbach just past the race’s 45-minute mark.
Quick pit work by the Riley team put Aschenbach back in the race just outside of the top five. He set a pair of fastest race laps early in his stint, including a time of 1:21.644 (99.563 mph) that stood as the fastest GTD lap of the race on the 2.258-mile circuit.
The Riley team called Aschenbach to the pits for the final time with just over 60 minutes remaining in the two-hour and 40-minute race, and another well executed stop put the No. 74 back in the race in fourth place.
Aschenbach continued in pursuit of the leaders, taking advantage of an incident between the second and third place competitors to move up to second in the race’s final hour.
A green flag restart less than 30 minutes from the finish opened the door for a possible move on the leader, but the No. 74 was never quite close enough for Aschenbach to attempt a pass for the lead. He kept the pressure on to the finish and the drove the No. 74 under the checkered flag merely 0.858 of a second behind the winner.
Next up for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the GT only event at the Charlotte Motor Speedway “Roval,” October 9 – 10.
Gar Robinson, Driver – No. 74 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: “We’ve just been that close it seems for the last two or three races. I know Lawson has a lot of time here, he really enjoys this place, and I do too. This is the spot of my first pro win, and I think we did pretty well here last year too, pace wise. It’s finally good to get the monkey off our back with our best finish of the season, and there’s only one more place to go after this one. I just made sure I gave Lawson the best car I could and tried to give it to him in a good enough position. I think the next race at Charlotte will be a lot of fun.”
Lawson Aschenbach, Driver – No. 74 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: “I’m really proud of this one. We have been so close all year long, the guys have been doing a great job with the car set up and a great job in the pits. Gar is getting better and better every weekend. I feel like it finally just came together for us in this race. I’m not exactly sure how we jumped everybody in pit lane, but the guys killed it on the pit stops and got us track position. Thankfully, it was just a matter of staying out of the carnage, making sure I didn’t hit anybody and pushing as fast as I could to try to catch the leader. I’m really proud of this group, really proud of this finish, and thanks to Mercedes-AMG for a hell of a car. This Mercedes-AMG GT3 has been on rails all year. Any track we go to, it is fast, it’s consistent and it makes my life a lot easier! I’m proud to be bringing that Mercedes-AMG flag home each weekend.”