Crowdstrike Racing announced Tuesday (Dec. 13) that they have entered into a partnership with Algarve Pro Racing to field an ORECA 07-Gibson in the four Michelin Endurance Cup as part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship under the branding of Crowdstrike Racing with APR. Crowdstrike CEO George Kurtz will be in the car in all four races along with Ben Hanley and Matt McMurry. For Daytona, former Formula 1 racer Esteban Gutierrez will round out the driver lineup.
“This is a big step forward for the growth of CrowdStrike Racing,” Kurtz said in a press release. “I really enjoy long-distance endurance racing and the challenges it presents. These races will test the team and drivers on the same track used by some of the top competitors in the world. The team aspect of endurance racing is important to me – for success to be achieved, everyone must do their job. It’s one way the world of business matches the world of racing. I can’t wait to get started with our new team. ”
Crowdstrike Racing comes to IMSA after running full-time last year in SRO America’s Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS and GT America Powered by AWS with partnership with Riley Motorsports. Kurtz won the SRO3 championship in GT America on the strength of 10 victories. In Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS, Kurtz and Colin Braun scored an overall victory at Watkins Glen and three Pro-Am class victories en route to fourth in Pro-Am points.
Kurtz’s experience in IMSA is rather limited in scope. For the past two seasons, he has made seven starts for the now-defunct CORE autosport in their LMP3 class Ligier JS P320-Nissan. He has one career class victory in the 2021 Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring and four career podium finishes.
Algarve Pro Racing competes full-time in both the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) in the LMP2 class. Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the team also had a partnership with G-Drive Racing (G-Drive is a line of premium fuels owned by Gazprom, the Russian oil company). That relationship ended when G-Drive could no longer race under the Russian flag.
In 2022, Algarve Pro Racing fielded two LMP2 cars in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the team’s first start in IMSA. One car failed to finish, but the No. 68 entry shared by Francois Heriau, Ed Jones, Oliver Rasmussen and Rene Rast ended up fifth in class.
Hanley has five career IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship starts, all of which came with DragonSpeed in an ORECA 07-Gibson. He has one career class victory at Road America in 2020. He spent the 2022 season racing in the European Le Mans Series for Nielsen Racing. The team struggled at times, ultimately finishing 16th in points with a best finish of sixth at Monza.
With Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian, McMurry won the 2020 GTD class championship with Mario Farnbacher. The duo had victories at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, along with four additional podium finishes in their championship run. However, since then, he has only one IMSA start. That is due to the fact that McMurry is also an engineer and has been working on the new Acura ARX-06.
Gutierrez drove full-time in Formula 1 for three years (2013-2015). The first two of those years were with Sauber, while he finished his F1 career with the then-new Haas F1 Team. He had only one finish in the points in 59 career starts, a seventh-place finish at Suzuka Circuit in 2013.
After 2015, Gutierrez served as a development/reserve driver for Mercedes through the end of 2021. This past season saw him dive into sports car racing. He drove full-time in the FIA World Endurance Championship for Inter Europol Competition alongside Jakub Smiechowski, Fabio Scherer and Alex Brundle. Gutierrez’s best finish was a fourth at Monza. Three failures to finish in six races dropped him to 15th in points.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.