ALTON, Va. – Learning is a never-ending process, no matter the field. It is an action that forms the basis of everything CrowdStrike does in the business world… and on the racetrack.
The SRO Motorsports America weekend at Virginia International Raceway provided CrowdStrike Racing with multiple opportunities for continued learning. While the weekend results for the four CrowdStrike Racing entries didn’t meet expectations, the long-range results will be what counts at the end of the season if the program can remain in championship conditions.
That learning on the racetrack mirrors how CrowdStrike – the Official Internet and Cloud Security Provider of SRO America – operates in the business world. Constant learning about combatting cybersecurity threats increases the expertise of CrowdStrike team members. In the same way, CrowdStrike Racing drivers – along with DXDT Racing and Operation Motorsport team members – continue to improve their craft on the racetrack.
Four CrowdStrike Racing entries were in action at VIR:
·George Kurtz and Colin Braun in the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 for Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS
·Kurtz (No. 04) and CJ Moses (No. 58) in twin CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Mercedes-AMG GT3s for GT America Powered by AWS
·Kevin Boehm in his No. 9 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Honda Performance Development Civic Type R TC for Touring Car America Powered by Skip Barber Racing Schools
Just as CrowdStrike’s expertise in cybersecurity pushes its award-winning technology forward, continuous learning by CrowdStrike Racing drivers has pushed the program into the spotlight in SRO Motorsports America.
The highlight of the weekend Saturday’s racing came courtesy of Braun and Kurtz. They teamed for a come-from-behind, third-place finish in the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 after running fifth inside the final 35 minutes of the 90-minute race.
"We have to learn from this weekend,” Kurtz said. “This is a long season. Some weekends are great and others not so much. This is one of those. We'll regroup and be back at it."
Braun drove the final 47 minutes and made up two positions following an off-track incident trying to advance up the leaderboard with 35 minutes to go. He was up to fourth 10 minutes later and spent the next 20 minutes trying to overtake the third-place car and earn a third podium finish of the season for him and Kurtz.
Braun used all his moxie to pressure the car in front in an effort to learn the best chance for the pass. He completed it brilliantly with a move up the inside of a 90-degree, left-hand turn to score valuable points on the day.
The duo wasn’t so fortunate Sunday. Things started well with Braun moving from third to second after an early-race restart. It went south in a hurry with a right-rear suspension problem that sidelined the No. 04 Mercedes-AMG after just 23 minutes.
"I don't know what happened,” Braun said. “I went through Turn Three and felt like the right-rear tire was flat, but it wasn't and there was no mark from any contact. We had a little light touch on the other side at the start but I don't know... we ran a lot of laps after that before something happened. I'm really disappointed for CrowdStrike and George. I felt like we were in a really good position. We were going fast and doing our thing. These things happen from time to time. I'm just disappointed for the DXDT guys. We’re going to take a deep dive into everything from the weekend to come out fighting strong at the next event."
In GT America Powered by AWS, Moses posted a pair of top-five finishes at his home track in his No. 58 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. He made up two positions from his original starting position Saturday before a red flag ended his charge – and the race – early with Moses in fifth and Kurtz one position behind.
Moses finished one spot better Sunday with a fourth-place showing – his best in a production-based GT car in SRO America competition – as Kurtz was forced to retire early from the race.
"The weekend overall went better than planned. I didn't plan to get in the top-five. The GTA drivers are pretty stout with George and a lot of guys who also run GT World Challenge. I was pleased with where we ended up and keeping the car on the track. I have good mid-race pace but I need to be faster at the beginning. I had a good start in the second race but didn't get the pace quick enough and the leaders pulled away. Once you get that gap, you're not going to make it up on these guys. Overall I'm very pleased the car is back in one piece. We're going to get ready and have good pace for our next race.”
In Touring Car America Powered by Skip Barber Racing Schools, Boehm navigated battles of his own in his No. 9 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Racing HPD Type R TC. Last year’s TCA champion experienced a mechanical woe in Friday’s practice session, and the issue impacted Boehm’s performance throughout qualifying and both races.
Boehm’s HPD was in the mix of track battles but couldn’t make significant progress before a red flag ended the race six minutes early. It was more of the same Sunday with Boehm challenging for the TC podium from fifth-place at the start. The race ended under red-flag conditions again with Boehm finishing fifth.
“This weekend definitely didn’t go as planned but I love a challenge because it forces me to get better,” Boehm said. “We have just over two months before TC America Road America in August, so time to double down, fix whatever issue is plaguing the car, and show up strong.
“Thanks to my sponsors and partners, especially CrowdStrike Racing, AWS, and DXDT Racing for the continued support,” he said. “It was also nice to have family and friends visiting at the track this weekend.”
LEARNING BY DOING
DXDT Racing and Operation Motorsport are key cogs in the CrowdStrike Racing program. Together, they all work toward the goal to Win as One in SRO America. DXDT, based near Charlotte, prepares and operates three racing entries for CrowdStrike Racing. The 2021 season marks the third year of the CrowdStrike and DXDT partnership, and the combination has proven to be a championship-winning one. A year ago, CrowdStrike/DXDT entries claimed nine victories and one class championship… truly an example of how to Win As One.
The VIR event for DXDT provided an exciting opportunity to shine close to home and put on display all the lessons that DXDT and CrowdStrike have experienced together during the last three years. On top of that is the continual support from Operation Motorsport, a not-for-profit organization that provides a chance for veterans to use their skill sets in a variety of areas including paddock operations, car and tire prep, marketing, social media and other key areas that are part of a racing program.
For the VIR weekend, CrowdStrike Racing hosted four service members as part of its ranks. Staff Sgt. William Babineau (Ret.) and Staff Sgt. Katrina Williams were part of the effort on the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. In TC America, Sgt Cody Reinecker (Ret.) and OpMo newcomer Chief Master Sergeant (Ret.) Craig Neri each helped to crew Boehm’s No. 9 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT HPD Civic Type R TC. With the weekend being open to fans, Operation Motorsport joined forces with SRO and USO to support service members at VIR, with a special car corral with all proceeds benefiting the not-for-profit.
It continued a proud tradition of CrowdStrike supporting veterans and the Operation Motorsport program. Two OpMo beneficiaries were part of Boehm’s TCA championship campaign in 2020. CrowdStrike also is a proud part of American Corporate Partners (ACP), which provides CrowdStrike mentors for service members looking to transition to the private sector.
In addition, CrowdStrike is a partner with HireMilitary to provide meaningful internship experiences to service members exiting the military via the DoD SkillBridge program.
Taken all together, the lessons and experiences result in faster pit stops, more efficient strategy and the opportunity to Win as One on the racetrack. That philosophy also forms a significant part of the CrowdStrike brand – that online protection works best when provider and customer work as one unit. Just as a racing team has drivers, mechanics and engineers – all experts in their field – so does CrowdStrike in the arena of cybersecurity.
TOOLS FOR THE JOB
CrowdStrike’s influence also stretches beyond its own racing activities. As Official Internet and Cloud Security Provider of SRO’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS, CrowdStrike works with SRO Motorsports America to protect scores of proprietary information such as team and driver medical and financial records, technical data, and video and digital content.
The collaboration between CrowdStrike and Amazon Web Services will play a large front-facing role in SRO America. As Global Official Cloud Provider, Global Official Machine Learning Provider and Global Technology Provider of SRO Motorsports, AWS is in a unique position to help SRO with logistics, data collection and cloud storage – the latter a key team-up area for AWS and CrowdStrike.
Among the benefits to fans is the unique “Race Vision” program, powered by AWS. It allows the series to display performance data from cars on the track in the form of informational graphics to fans on SRO America’s event live streams or television broadcasts on CBS Sports Network.
The CrowdStrike Racing experience extends to the virtual world, as well. CrowdStrike and AWS again presented an exclusive live stream of the two Fanatec GT World Challenge America races with Boehm adding valuable insight from his experience in the cockpit throughout the weekend.
CrowdStrike’s library of video content on CrowdStrikeRacing.com continued to expand, along with the once-a-month sim racing events via the CrowdStrike Cup Virtual Racing League.
CrowdStrike Racing and SRO Motorsports America will take an extended mid-summer break with GT America returning to action at the new Nashville street circuit on Aug. 6-8. All SRO Motorsports America categories will resume Aug. 27-29 at Road America in Wisconsin.