INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 6, 2020) – In a season full of highlights, CrowdStrike Racing saved its best for last. Drivers and teams under CrowdStrike closed the 2020 SRO Motorsports America season with four victories, six podiums and two championships at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
George Kurtz and Colin Braun scored their third victory of 2020 in GT World Challenge Powered by AWS on Sunday at Indianapolis. That wasn’t all for the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 as the Kurtz/Braun pairing teamed with Ben Keating to take a Pro-Am class victory in the Intercontinental GT Challenge’s Indianapolis 8 Hours.
It was the latest in a weekend full of stellar showings for CrowdStrike as Kevin Boehm capped an incredible rookie season in the Touring Car America series by winning the TCA Drivers’ and Team championships, as well as TCA Rookie of Year, in the No. 9 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Honda Performance Development Civic Si.
Dovetailing on that, CJ Moses closed his rookie TCR season with a runner-up finish and a pole-position in the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT HPD Civic Type R TCR. These, plus all of CrowdStrike’s off-track activities, made this weekend one for the ages.
GT WORLD CHALLENGE / INTERCONTINENTAL GT CHALLENGE
It’s not often that a team wins two races in the span of eight hours, but that’s exactly what Kurtz and Braun did at Indianapolis. The pairing drove the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Mercedes-AMG GT3 to their second overall victory of the season and a third class win in the opening three hours of the IGTC race.
“It’s a great end to the season. We did whatever we could to win, and that was our goal: come here to win the three hour race, which we did, and win the 8 Hours,” Kurtz said. “It was phenomenal running with Ben and Colin. I couldn’t ask for better co-drivers. We had a great season. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t shoot it out at COTA, but we’ll be back next year. Second in the championship is a great result. Jeff Braun did a fantastic job on the box, Carlo Vermeulen with the strategy, and DXDT and CrowdStrike gave us a great car. Overall I’m excited for next year.”
The three-hour race was a replacement for the postponed event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, and each GT World Challenge team was required to run its regular two drivers in the opening three hours.
Kurtz began third in class and in less-than-ideal conditions with rain pelting IMS right as the race began. Kurtz stopped on the first lap to switch to grooved rain tires for better handling and traction on the damp racing surface. Kurtz maintained a clean run in cool, damp conditions – just above 50 degrees. The No. 04 moved up to second just after the second of five full-course cautions in the Eight Hours. The CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Mercedes-AMG made its first driver change just past the hour mark for a change to Braun; however race officials deemed the pit entry to be closed and Braun had to serve a drive-through penalty.
Although still on rain tires, Braun drove his way back through the field and advanced to second in class by the two-hour, 15-minute mark for a change to the optimal dry, slick tires. He re-entered the race fourth in class but again marched his way through the field, set the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap of the Race and took the lead for good with five minutes to go.
“For us, our goal was to win the three-hour race and then win the Eight Hours,” Braun said. “We were able to accomplish both of those, which was awesome. That was the main focus. The championship was going to be what it was going to be. That was more in the hands of the No. 1 having an issue. For us, it was great weekend obviously. Practice and qualifying were a little bit of a setup for us and a bit of a wave-off. We just focused on our racecar on full tanks of fuel, figuring out pit-ins, pit-outs and all those kinds of things where you can make up a little time. It all paid off and in the race, we were able to use those little things we learned in practice to put it together. Driving with Ben and George, those guys are two of the best Bronze drivers in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 car. I couldn’t really ask much more from those guys. They did an awesome job, and the team did a great job on all the stops. We kept our nose clean, were smart and kept at it all day.”
There was still work to do, although some solid tire strategy and stints by all three drivers gave the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Mercedes as much as a two-lap lead just past the halfway point. The drivers, crew and engineers ran the rest of the way minimizing mistakes to finish fifth overall and as the highest-finishing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the race.
“This has been an awesome event. It’s my first Intercontinental GT Challenge event, and it’s been a blast,” Keating said. “I’ve really enjoyed running with George and Colin. We get along great, and it’s a great team. I’ve enjoyed DXDT and I’m familiar with the Mercedes-AMG. I’ve enjoyed working with Colin’s dad (Jeff Braun) in calling strategy and engineering the car. It hasn’t been an easy weekend for us because we had been struggling, but we spent the whole practice time try to set the car up for the race – full fuel and doing lots of different things instead of going for a fast lap time, and I think that paid off in the race. I’m really happy with how it all happened. I’m so excited for these guys (George Kurtz and Colin Braun). The No. 1 goal was to win the three-hour race, which they did for their championship. The No. 2 goal was to win the eight-hour race, and we checked both boxes.”
Boehm put a bow on one of the best rookie seasons in SRO America with his performance at Indianapolis. The No. 9 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT HPD Civic Si won its sixth race of the year and finished second in the final 40-minute race to capture a pair of TCA championships to close a magical season.
Boehm won the first race of the weekend by six seconds, an example of his efficiency the entire weekend. He was fastest in class during final practice and took pole position for Friday. Boehm controlled the race from the outset, despite a mid-race, full-course caution when the two TCR leaders went off-track at Turn One.
The clean-up took the clock down to eight minutes left, but Boehm picked up where he left off when the race went back to green. A handful of minutes later, he was TCA champion and cemented his status as TCA Rookie of the Year.
There was another prize at stake in Saturday’s race as Boehm finished second in TCA to clinch the class Team Championship for Boehm Racing. The No. 9 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT HPD Civic Si began second, challenged for the lead early before settling in for a mistake-free drive to a runner-up finish.
“Just to be here was a dream season,” Boehm said. “To start to pull out some podiums and wins made it even better. To clinch the championship one race early doesn’t feel real. I’ve won the SCCA Runoffs four of the last five years, and the one that got away was Indy. To be able to win this race and clinch the championship finally puts a period on that. It’s a dream come true. I couldn’t have asked for better support from CrowdStrike, AWS and DXDT Racing to help make this happen. We made every second count at every race. That’s what it takes to excel on and off the track.”
Speaking of dreams, Moses very nearly realized one of his in Friday’s race. Moses, in the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Racing HPD Civic Type R TCR very nearly took his first victory of the season and finished just 0.280 behind the race-winner, easily his best result of the season.
Moses began fifth but was within one second to pole position. He gained a position at the start and held point until the race’s lone yellow. Once back to green, Moses sat on the bumper of the race leader for the final few laps and finished only 0.280 seconds away from victory.
Things began positively Saturday as well. Moses began on pole position for the first time in the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT HPD. Unlike Friday’s TCR round, Saturday’s race went green the entire way and Moses came home fourth and 1.3 off a second consecutive TCR podium.
It serves as a great springboard to 2021 for Moses and the CrowdStrike TCR program.
“It was an amazing race and a bit crazy at the beginning Friday,” Moses said. “Cars were spinning everywhere and it felt like I was dodging things all over the place. All in all, it was a great day and easily our best race of the weekend. It’s a great way to end what has been a very enjoyable and educational first season in TCR. A top-five championship finish and three podiums sets things up for an even better run next year.”
BEYOND THE TRACK
CrowdStrike’s participation and impact at Indianapolis Motor Speedway went well beyond the racetrack to conclude a season where it proved to be not just a thought leader in cybersecurity but also in developing unique presentations and content.
CrowdStrike ended the 2020 SRO America season with not one but two of its popular CXO Summits, sponsored by AWS. Each high-value gathering is an opportunity for CrowdStrike’s invited guests to learn from internet and cybersecurity leaders on emerging topics within the industry.
CXO participants heard from CrowdStrike executives on how to effectively lead staff members while many of their employees continue to work from home. Among the key points included ways to effectively manage the digital and physical security of workforces in this remote age.
CrowdStrike also broadcast an exclusive live stream of the full Indianapolis 8 Hours, which highlighted the CrowdStrike Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3’s drive to its pair of victories. Boehm and Moses both provided insight throughout the race, as did a number of other special guests including driver Ben Keating, Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing, GT World Challenge America leadership and Operation Motorsport, among others. Technical insight came via P1Software and tools from Amazon Web Services to give fans the most complete analysis of GT World Challenge competition.
In addition, CrowdStrike continued its support of SRO America and recognizing its competitors. The drivers in SRO Motorsports America that accumulated most CrowdStrike Fastest Lap awards at each SRO America event – in GT World Challenge America, Pirelli GT4 America Sprint and SprintX and TC America – each received a year-end reward from CrowdStrike.
OPERATION MOTORSPORT SUPPORT
The Indianapolis weekend also wrapped up another successful season of partnership between CrowdStrike and Operation Motorsport, which places retired or injured service members within teams during the weekend. It is one of many ways CrowdStrike supports and lifts up those who have sacrificed by their military service.
One of Operation Motorsports’ military veterans – Staff Sgt. William Babineau (Ret.) – joined Kevin Boehm’s No. 9 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT HPD Civic Si team for the championship-clinching weekend. Staff Sgt. Babineau was part of the No. 9 crew for the last three events and was a key component to Boehm’s championship run.
Those are the kinds of opportunities that Operation Motorsport and CrowdStrike strive to provide. OpMo’s goal is to assist veterans transition into new careers following their military service. Operation Motorsport is a veteran-led and operated, not-for-profit (US 501(c)(3)) that serves American & Canadian service members and veterans.
The GT World Challenge Powered by AWS and TC America championships begin their 2021 seasons March 5-7 at Sonoma Raceway. For future information on the series, visit crowdstrikeracing.com.
CrowdStrike® Inc. (Nasdaq: CRWD), a global cybersecurity leader, is redefining security for the cloud era with an endpoint protection platform built from the ground up to stop breaches. The CrowdStrike Falcon® platform’s single lightweight-agent architecture leverages cloud-scale artificial intelligence (AI) and offers real-time protection and visibility across the enterprise, preventing attacks on endpoints on or off the network. Powered by the proprietary CrowdStrike Threat Graph®, CrowdStrike Falcon correlates over 3 trillion endpoint-related events per week in real time from across the globe, fueling one of the world’s most advanced data platforms for security.
ABOUT DXDT RACING
DXDT Racing LLC is a high-performance sports car racing team founded by team principal David Askew in 2014 and located in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Team’s primary focus is on GT3 and Touring Car racing in North America. The team has fielded cars in various racing series such as SRO’s World Challenge GT America Powered by AWS, IMSA’s Michelin Pilot Challenge, and Lamborghini’s Super Trofeo series. Although the team is young, DXDT is comprised of a group of highly experienced professionals with championship winning backgrounds.
Danielle Crespo, Racing Program Manager, CrowdStrike
Tips, tricks, wins, and learnings. Go behind-the-scenes at the race shop and the track with Boehm Motorsports.