CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz never slows down in a busy lifestyle With Pirelli World Challenge or Cybersecurity technology
McLaren Racer Comes to Mid-Ohio after Double Wins at Road America
The Arizona business executive (co-founder and CEO) and his company have been featured in ABC World News, CNN, Fox News, Bloomberg, CNBC, New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Forbes, Fortune Magazine and Washington Post for their endpoint security, threat intelligence and incident response services to customers in more than 170 countries.
Kurtz was recently named “Entrepreneur of the Year” in Northern California with the CrowdStrike success.
Kurtz is constantly on jet planes to various meetings, presentations and conferences to talk about his company’s story and working with customers.
“Receiving this recognition in Northern California, the most competitive technology market, is truly an honor and a testament to the innovation and transformative work our team at CrowdStrike has applied to our mission to stop breaches,” said Kurtz. “This award validates that the CrowdStrike Falcon platform has set a new standard in endpoint security.”
What wasn’t known at the Northern California presentation on June 23 was that Kurtz had just flown in from Road America where he was at the wheel of his GMG Motorsports-prepared McLaren 570S sports car for practice runs in the Pirelli World Challenge doubleheader in the GTS/GTSA divisions.
“The Road America weekend was pretty hectic with the GTS practice and then flying to the Bay Area for the award presentation on Friday evening,” George explained. “But I was ready to go on Saturday morning at Road America and we won both GTS Am rounds and finished third overall in Sunday’s GTS race. Standing on the podium with top pro racers like Ian James and Lawson Aschenbach was very gratifying.”
Kurtz also ties his CrowdStrike business with his racing business, as many of the company’s customers come to the Pirelli World Challenge races to experience the motorsports and racing team aspect.
“We enjoy bringing many of CrowdStrike’s customers to the race track and getting a close-up view of our racing business too,” he said. “We even bring in Mario Andretti to talk with the guests and Mario sometimes gives them a ride in the IndyCar two-seater. Now that is a thrill for them.”
Kurtz is in his first full season in the Pirelli World Challenge after beginning his racing career less than ten 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 go 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 (Calif.) 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 in 2017.
“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 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.”
Kurtz will have his No. 04 CrowdStrike McLaren 570S ready for next Thursday testing in his first laps around Mid-Ohio, while Pirelli World Challenge GTS Sprint and GT Sprint action begins Friday (July 28). GTS and GT 50-minute sprint races will be held on Saturday (July 29) and Sunday (July 30) at Mid-Ohio.