From chicken feed to checkered flags: Canadian poultry farmer takes the Mercedes-AMG GT4 to the IMSA circuit

On July 7, the IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) will be welcoming a fierce – if unexpected – new competitor to the fray at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Poultry farmer/racing enthusiast Philip Holtrust will be entering his new team, Shining Star Motorsports (SSM), to compete in the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge as Canada's sole Mercedes team. The team will be driving in the country's only Mercedes-AMG GT4 race car, the latest competition car from AMG.

Originally from the Netherlands, Philip Holtrust moved to Canada in 1991, where he currently resides in Clive, Alberta. The 51-year-old got his first taste for the thrill of the track through the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy and the AMG Driving Academy, where he honed his skills under the guidance of some of the industry's most respected driving instructors. In fact, in addition to his role as Owner of Shining Star Motorsports, Phil will be driving for SSM alongside the AMG Driving Academy's Chief Instructor Danny Kok, who will be driving as well as acting as the team's Driver Coach. This adrenaline-seeking Dutch duo will be joined by SSM Engineer Lucas Strackerjan and Team Manager Ingo Strackerjan, both of whom have long-established careers in the sport.

For Holtrust, racing is an exciting hobby that takes him well beyond the day-to-day requirements of running a chicken farm. His friends and family are thrilled that he's able to fulfill his dream, and support this "cool side-project." As for what he likes most about racing? "Pushing my abilities to their limits on the racetrack." 

2018 Season
Shining Star Motorsports will start competing part way through the 2018 racing season, with their first race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Saturday, July 7. The dates for the remainder of the season are listed below:

July 7                          Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, Ontario
July 21                        Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Connecticut
Aug 4                          Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Aug 18                        Virginia International Raceway, Alton, Virginia
Sep 8                          Laguna Seca, Monterey, California
Oct 12                         Road Atlanta, Braselton, Georgia

About the Mercedes-AMG GT4
The latest competition car to come out of Affalterbach, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 is based on the Mercedes-AMG GT R and has been made to meet the requirements of international GT4 race series. This powerful vehicle has an AMG 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine that can propel it from 0 to 100 km/h in under 4 seconds (depending on Balance of Performance). The GT4's exterior dimensions are the same as its road-going equivalent, with some aerodynamic upgrades and additions. The interior has been customized for racing, and includes a full high-strength steel roll cage, fixed and fitted driver's seat, adjustable pedals and steering column, six-speed manual racing transaxle with air-actuated shift paddles, integrated data acquisition system, and adjustable ABS and traction control. The vehicle has adopted the safety concept of its predecessor, the GT3, and is setting new benchmarks in its class.

More information about the GT4 may be found at (English or German only).

About IMSA
The NASCAR-owned IMSA (International Motor Sports Association), is the sanctioning body for North American sports car competitions such as the flagship IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and the IMSA Prototype Challenge. Shining Star Motorsport (SSM) will be competing in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, IMSA's showcase series for the latest in high-performance sports cars, coupes and sedans. These regular-production vehicles are allowed modifications only in the area of safety and competition. Racing takes place in three classes: Grand Sport (GS); Touring Car (TCR); and Street Tuner (ST). Though the cars race at the same time, they compete in different championships according to their class.

SSM will compete in the top-ranked GS Class, whose cars are sanctioned for use in the global GT4 category specification. In this class, the engines are tuned to produce between 400 and 500 horsepower and are capable of speeds in excess of 290 km/h. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 will be competing against other GT4-class race cars.

More information about the IMSA may be found at (English or Spanish only).


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About Mercedes-Benz Canada
Mercedes-Benz Canada is responsible for the sales, marketing and service of Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG passenger vehicles, Mercedes-Benz Vans and smart. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc. employs approximately 1,700 people in 21 locations across Canada. Through a nationwide network of 11 Mercedes-Benz owned retail operations and 48 authorized dealerships, Mercedes-Benz Canada sold 52,298 vehicles in 2017. This represents the best year ever for the company and has positioned Mercedes-Benz as the top luxury manufacturer in Canada for the fourth consecutive year.

For more information, please contact:
JoAnne Caza                       416 847-7550           
Sinead Brown                      416 847-7588           

Further information from Mercedes-Benz is available at