George Kurtz: Leader On And Off The Track

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Kurtz is in his first full season in the Pirelli World Challenge after beginning his racing career less than 10 years ago. He raced in the Radical Cup series and SCCA endurance events before testing the PWC waters for a few races last year. He enjoyed his experience and made the decision to race full time in the GTS class.

“I drove a couple of PWC races and enjoyed the competition and the cars,” said Kurtz. “I was talking with James Sofronas at GMG and I knew him previously from the Orange County area and we thought we would run a Porsche Cayman.  But he had an opportunity with the McLaren 570S in GTS. He got the car late and it was a bit of a gamble for the season. But he thought it would be a good platform in 2017.”

Kurtz was excited about the McLaren in GTS, but the car arrived just a few days before the PWC season opener in the streets of St. Petersburg.

“So, I was in the McLaren for the first time at the race track and we just had a stock 570S for the weekend,” he admitted. “We had a decent race weekend and we began to develop and work with the car more as the season moved on. We refined the car and we had a great weekend at Road America with two class wins and the third overall. The McLaren is a little different to drive from other cars I have raced.”

With added electronics and other driver aids in the McLaren 570S, Kurtz has had to adjust his driving style and racing mentality.

“Mostly I have driven race cars with no special electronics or ABS braking and things like that,” he said. “Obviously when a car is doing something, the driver usually can make the corrections with steering or braking. Now, with the McLaren, you can’t do that. There is a little bit of a learning curve with this type of race car. You have to think about your driving style more because the car is making adjustments too. But I am learning more with each race and I hope to have another good weekend at Mid-Ohio.”

For Kurtz, the famed Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be a quick learning lesson as he has never raced at the legendary 2.258, 13-turn natural-terrain road circuit. With the summer heat, Mid-Ohio is always a physical course for the drivers.

“I’m looking forward to racing at Mid-Ohio for the first time,” Kurtz said. “I have heard so much about the track that it will be a new experience. I live in Arizona and run go-karts in the 100-degree heat, so I think I will be ready for the demands of the heat and the track.  I’ll also get on the simulator to see how the corners work for Mid-Ohio. I’m currently on two weeks of business trips but I am anxious to get back home and prepare for the Mid-Ohio weekend. It’s nice to race again after many weeks of business talks.”