The team’s return to Monday night road racing came at a new league — ITSR rather than ISRA — and in a set of new cars — modern GT3 machines rather than a multi-class mixture — but a familiar winner emerged in the first two races of the season.

The ITSR World Endurance Series kicked off its first season earlier this month, and KRT entered four teams in the eight-race championship.  Bryan Carey prepared to pilot the team’s only Audi R8 LMS entry carrying his familiar #79, while Dean Moll (#10), Anthony Muniz (#18), and Corey Davis (#80) all signed on with the Mercedes AMG GT3.

The season opened on May 2 with the two-hour American Continental at Road America. While KRT did not win the pole, Carey and Davis moved into the top two positions when polesitter Dexter Castro spun on lap 4.

The WES field speeds to the season-opening green flag at Road America.

The WES field speeds to the season-opening green flag at Road America.

The team’s other two entries both had trouble in the opening laps.  Moll hit the inside wall exiting Canada Corner and returned to the pits for several minutes of repairs.  Meanwhile, Muniz’s return to endurance racing for the first time since the Masters of Endurance race at Road America ended in similar fashion, with a pair of early crashes knocking his Mercedes out of the race.

Up front, Carey got past Davis for the lead on lap 16, but less than two seconds separated them when they pitted seven laps later.  Carey’s crew had a speedier pit service and he emerged with a four-second lead over Davis after the stops.

As the next run continued, the setup work done by Carey, Andy Fuller, and Rene Weissflog on the Audi paid off, as it kept running consistent laps while the tires and lap times on the Mercedes began to fall off.  With the tire wear worsening, Davis pitted for tires and fuel with 13 laps to go while Carey executed a fuel-only stop a few laps later, giving him a 27-second lead.

With plenty of time in the bank, Carey cruised to the victory by 20.785 seconds over Davis.  Moll managed a sixth-place result after stretching his fuel and making just one pit stop following his early incident and repairs.

Carey passes Davis in turn 5 for the race lead.

Carey passes Davis in turn 5 for the race lead.

Two weeks later, the WES was back in action for the 2 Hours of Spa — a throwback to the event that opened nearly every season in the ISRA Grand Touring Championship series.  That race notably eluded KRT drivers in the past, so they seized the opportunity to grab a victory in the revived event.

Moll was the driver to beat in qualifying, edging Davis by half a second.  However, Davis missed the grid while the crew scrambled to add race fuel to his car, which moved Carey up to the front row for the start of the race.  A slick track in the early laps proved tricky for many drivers, including Moll.  A crash exiting Raidillon on lap 2 brought his race to an early end and gave the lead to Carey, who had an eight-second advantage over Davis.

That gap slowly closed until the first pit stop, when both drivers took tires and fuel.  Davis finally got within a second as the two encountered lapped traffic, and he pitted his #80 Mercedes on lap 38 to take fuel and get out of dirty air behind Carey’s Audi.  When Carey made his stop five laps later, he emerged from the pits side by side with Davis, and the two traded the lead back and forth as the laps wound down.

Carey crosses the finish line at Spa just 0.306 seconds ahead of Davis.

Carey crosses the finish line at Spa just 0.306 seconds ahead of Davis.

On worn tires, their cars slipped and slid around the Spa circuit, even making contact entering Les Combes with two laps to go.  However, Carey held on to the lead and crossed the finish line just 0.306 seconds ahead of Davis after two hours of racing.

Carey looks to keep his perfect record in tact and extend his points lead in the next race under the lights at Daytona.  Meanwhile, Davis, Moll, and Muniz will all look to put a different KRT car atop the podium.

Leave a Reply