STATESVILLE, N.C., (September 22, 2023) – The 2023 SRO Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS season reaches its conclusion on October 7th with the championship’s toughest test: The Indianapolis 8 Hour presented by AWS. In addition to their normal Pro/Am competition, the No. 08 Qelo Capital and No. 91 Burton Lumber DXDT Mercedes-AMG GT3 entries will also be competing against entrants from Intercontinental GT Challenge, SRO’s premier international series. The team will be looking to build on a pair of podium finishes already captured this season, and will be relying on two strong reinforcements, Tom Sargent and Philip Ellis, to help accomplish that.
Joining Bryan Sellers and Scott Smithson in the No. 08, 21-year-old Australian, Sargent, has been the poster boy for consistency this season. The 2021 Formula Ford Australia and 2022 Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Pro Class champion is enjoying his first season in the United States, standing on the podium in 6 out of his 12 Porsche Carrera Cup North America Pro races this season, good enough for second in the championship. Although this will be his first foray into GT World Challenge America, Sargent has a proven track-record in SRO, with 2 wins and a 100% podium rate in GT World Challenge Australia.
“I’m super excited to be making my GT World Challenge America debut with DXDT at the Indy 8 Hour,” said Sargent. “My ultimate career goal is to be a top level GT driver, so I’m very thankful for Scott, Bryan, and the team for giving me this opportunity! Looking at the entry list, it’s filled with high-caliber drivers, so many of which I have grown up watching and wanting to race against. I only just finished competing at Indianapolis last weekend in Carrera Cup, so it’s very fresh for me. This should put me in a good position to do the best job I can and help the team maximize our potential!”
With 4 wins and 10 podiums across just two seasons of GT World Challenge America Pro Class competition, Swiss ace Philip Ellis is bringing a proven track record of success to the No. 91 of Corey Lewis and Jeff Burton. The 30-year-old has already found success in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 this season, scoring a podium finish at the grueling ADAC 24 Hours of Nürburgring in May. A winner already in GT3 competition at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2023, the Mercedes Performance Factory driver is looking to complete the double this weekend.
“I’m looking forward to getting in the car with Corey and Jeff,” said Ellis. “The Pro/Am class at Indy is always very competitive, and there’s no reason we couldn’t fight for the win in the closing stages. Coming off a successful weekend at Indy last weekend, I can’t wait to get back in the car and have another crack at it in a few weeks time.”
Team Owner David Askew is optimistic about the team’s chances with the addition of Sargent and Ellis to the fold.
“We’re excited to have both Tom and Philip with us in Indy for the 8 Hour,” said Askew. “In Philip, we’re getting a driver who has proven time and time again that he knows how to win in this Mercedes-AMG GT3, and we’re excited he’s driving with us this time after competing against him in the past. With Tom, he’s taking on a new challenge in GT World Challenge America, but is having a tremendous season in Carrera Cup and has proven that he’s able to adapt quickly. They both already know the track, and we’re confident they’ll be on it from Practice One.”
This year’s edition of the Indianapolis 8 Hour presented by AWS will repeat last year’s day-to-night schedule that proved to be such a challenge for the entire field. The GT World Challenge America and Intercontinental GT Challenge fields will take to the 2.439 mile, 14-turn Grand Prix course at the iconic Brickyard, which has played host to some of the most memorable moments and drivers in the sport’s history. DXDT will aim to write their own chapter in Speedway lore starting with Practice One on October 5th, before taking the green flag on October 7th at 12:15 PM ET. You can tune in LIVE on YouTube.com/GTWorld, or follow along with us on DXDT’s social channels.