The opening round of the Pirelli GT4 America championship proved to be incredibly fruitful for Conquest Racing, as the team brought home a total of three wins over the course of the weekend. The team now leads the championship in the Silver class thanks to stellar performances by Michai Stephens and Jesse Webb.
It was a perfect season opener for the #34 JMF Motorsports | Farrow Mercedes-AMG GT4, with Michai Stephens and Jesse Webb sweeping the weekend and collecting double pole positions as well as both wins in the Silver Class.
From the very start of the weekend event, it was clear that crowds were witnessing something special in the making. Stephens and Webb completely dominated their respective qualifying sessions, both working in sync with the car to secure the top spot on the grid ahead of both races.
Stephens further added to his already successful history with the team, delivering masterful and dominant on-track performances. He expertly maneuvered his way around the challenging rolling course and consistently came out on top in some of the most heated and intense battles of the weekend.
Although Webb is new to the scene, the young Canadian drove like a seasoned pro in his first two races with the team. He showed tremendous pace and looked virtually untouchable, never putting a foot wrong in any of his stints. This pairing has quickly proved that they will be the ones to beat this season, equipped with a winning package and stellar crew behind them.
“There’s no better way to kick off the start of what is shaping up to be a tremendous season,” said Michai Stephens. “Being able to take home two victories in the first event with JMF Motorsports and Conquest Racing is a fantastic way to conclude the weekend. Jesse Webb had a beautiful showing in his debut with the organization and we can’t thank everybody enough for their constant support. We will be working hard to build on this and remain optimistic. We have a wonderful opportunity and all the right tools at our disposal, it’s just a matter of putting all the pieces together over the course of the season. The competition is stout, so we’ll be putting our heads down to keep digging and driving forward each and every round.”
Jesse Webb echoed his teammate’s sentiments, adding that “it was an overall phenomenal weekend for us. I’m really happy to finish first in both races and very pleased with how well Michai and I worked together. He is the best teammate I could’ve asked for. The team worked flawlessly to get this car in top shape and keep us at the front all weekend. I came into these races with a lot of confidence knowing that I had such an excellent team behind me. I want to say a big thanks to John Farrow, Eric Bachelart, Richard Reeder, and all the guys that are part of this Conquest Racing crew. They did a phenomenal job this weekend. We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season. These are the biggest wins of my career and I’m very thankful for this opportunity.”
The #35 Zuri Conquest Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 also picked up some hardware of its own in the AM Class, with driver duo Custódio Toledo and Paulo Carcasci storming into the win in Race 1. The Brazilian pairing drove a flawless race in a very competitive and tightly packed field, putting their experience and prowess on full display for all to see and enjoy.
They were impacted by an unfortunately timed full course caution in the second race that affected the execution of the pit stop strategy, ultimately resulting in the team losing out on another strong result. Bad luck aside, the pair displayed excellent race craft and speed, and more podium appearances will surely be on the horizon for them.
“The first race was very exciting and we were involved in a lot of intense battles,” explained Custódio Toledo. “I was running side by side with other drivers through some very tight corners, and we did a great job to stay out of trouble. Our pit stop was executed very well, and from there Paulo drove amazingly in the second half of the race and brought home the win for us. The car felt amazing, this was a fantastic performance and we are looking forward to the next races. Thank you to the Conquest Racing team for all their hard work.”
“My goal was mainly to stay out of trouble,” added Paulo Carcasci. “We avoided some drama further up the field and were able to run a smooth race from there and continue to make our way up into the lead. The key moment for me was when my crew chief Rick told me to pass the PRO-AM car in front of me. I was just cruising, and I hadn’t realized I had to fight him. This is when we moved into P1! I’m grateful to the team for their efforts this weekend, and to my crew chief who encouraged me to make the pass for the win.”
The team will be looking to carry this momentum and expand on their success in New Orleans later this month. Round two will be taking place at NOLA Motorsports Park from April 28th to 30th.