WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (3 July 2021)
– Gilbert/Korthoff Motorsports made its debut in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD competition on Friday, earning plenty of hard-earned knowledge with a seventh-place finish in Friday evening’s WeatherTech 240 at Watkins Glen International.
Shane Lewis and Guy Cosmo shared the wheel of the No. 32 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, finishing overall in the race scheduled for two hours, 40 minutes.
A thunderstorm near the one-hour mark brought out the red flag, delaying the action for nearly one hour. When racing resumed, Cosmo was running 10th – and improved three positions in the 28-minute sprint to the finish.
“I feel so good, and so happy,” Cosmo said. “The guys did an incredible job. They nailed it on our first pit stop – the tires were done before the fuel was. We got the driver change done, and no infractions. We were competitive. It’s such a crazy range of emotions. We know we have a lot of work to do, but it’s so encouraging to know that we’re in the hunt and there’s so much potential here. It’s a great way for Gilbert/Korthoff to start off in this series.”
Cosmo pointed out that due to the lack of track time prior to the start of the race, Lewis had little indication of what to expect from the new car early in the race. Lewis was able to use his experience to get right into a steady pace and keep up with the field for his 52-minute stint – even though it was soaked at one half of the track and dry at the other prior to his pit stop.
“I’m super-proud of each member of the team,” Lewis said. “I didn’t know hardly any of them when I got here. It really shows you that hard work pays off, with the team effort they put together. I had a blast in my first time back in an IMSA race in five years.”
Lewis was impressed with the performance of the new Mercedes.
“The moment they said it was going to be an AMG-Mercedes, I wanted in,” Lewis said. “That’s one of the reasons I was so enthusiastic about being part of this program. It did everything I expected and wanted it to do, and more.”
After enjoying winning success in IMSA LMP3 competition, the team moved up to GTD and took possession of a brand-new Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo less than a month ago. The team had a pair of shakedown tests – including one at the Glen – but this weekend was the team’s first official GTD outing.
“Operationally, this was a critical weekend for us as a group, just to dive into an IMSA weekend and learn as much as we could and build from there, so I’m thrilled with how things went,” Cosmo said. “We had never had this car on the setup pad; our crew had never done a pit stop; we had never even practiced before. We need a couple of months of testing to expect to be competitive at this level of GTD in WeatherTech. But we have all the right stuff. This Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo is a proven winner. But we are running it the way it was when it came off the airplane when it was delivered to us. It’s never been aligned, no adjustments, nothing.”
The next IMSA event takes the GTD field to Lime Rock Park for the Northeast Grand Prix July 16-17th. After Lime Rock, the next event is the IMSA Sportscar Weekend August 5-8 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.