Finger Lakes

Finger Lakes

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Cap All-Podium Weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with Third-Place IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Showing with Mercedes-AMG Team Riley

Third-Place Finish for Keating and Bleekemolen in Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the Continental Monterey Grand Prix


Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports teammates Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen co-drove the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 to a hard-earned third- place GT Daytona (GTD) class finish in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship America's Tire 250 at the Continental Monterey Grand Prix Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

The top-three showing was the first for Keating, Bleekemolen and Mercedes-AMG Team Riley since winning in July at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. In total, the No. 33 team and drivers have earned eight top-five finishes in the year's first 10 IMSA GTD races, including third place in the 12 Hours of Sebring in March for their first podium of the season.

Using a two-driver-change strategy for the second-race in a row, Bleekemolen both started and finished the two-hour and 40-minute race. Keating took over 25 minutes into the race for his nearly hour-long stint in the No. 33 before Bleekemolen returned to the wheel for what would be an eventful battle to the finish.

Returning to the race in second place after the No. 33's third and final stop, Bleekemolen zeroed in on the fuel-conserving race leader while also keeping an eye on the fast-closing pole-winning competitor in third place.

Ultimately, the pole-winner passed both the No. 33 and the race leader that managed to hold on for second place after stretching its final tank of fuel for the last hour and 15 minutes of the race.

The Mercedes-AMG GT3 third-place result capped an all-podium weekend for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams at the Continental Monterey Grand Prix.

On Saturday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Hugh Plumb and Owen Trinkler won their third IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race of the season in the No. 46 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4.

Next up for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams in both the IMSA WeatherTech Championship and IMSA Continental Tire series is the season-ending Petit Le Mans weekend, October 11 – 13, at Road Atlanta.

Ben Keating, Driver – No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: "I feel like we have to be really happy with third place, and I don't say that very often. After our last stop, we came out in second place and were excited because we thought there was no way the leader would make it on fuel.

Miraculously, they were able to make it an hour and 15 minutes on a tank of fuel. It was a weird and crazy race, and we took some considerable risk in our strategy. Our last pit stop was a short fuel fill, so we could have the best tires underneath the Mercedes-AMG GT3 to try to race for the win. The grip of the cars was falling off heavily for everyone. It wasn't car specific, but in those conditions, what really makes the Mercedes-AMG GT3 special is that it's an easy car to drive. At Laguna Seca, your tires are going to lose grip. You are going to slide, you're going to oversteer, you're going to understeer. It's like you are driving on ice, but the car is so predictable. You know what it's going to do, and it doesn't trick you, it doesn't fool you. As a driver, that's what you want in those conditions. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 really shines in those conditions compared to some of the other cars that are more difficult to drive."

Jeroen Bleekemolen, Driver – No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: "It was a good race. It's hard with this track where the tires go off so hard, and with the high ride height and weight we are currently carrying on the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the current rules, you have to work really hard. It was a tough race, but in the end a good result. We should be happy. We should have been on the podium so many other times this year, but we finally got a good result and had a chance to have our strategy pay off. Petit Le Mans should be good. It's a good track for us, we have won there before with Riley Motorsports, and I am looking forward to it."

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