Top in Down Under
Exciting battle for first place, thrills right through to the finish and in the end second, third and seventh place for the SLS AMG GT3 – this year’s 12-hour race at Bathurst in Australia really had everything to raise the pulse of motor sports fans. And there was even more: or where else in the world are positions lost because of a collision with a kangaroo?
But now the course of events: even before the race began HTP Motorsport had to struggle more dramatically than the AMG Customer Sports team would have liked to. After a training accident on Friday the crew managed to repair the vehicle overnight. But Maximilian Buhk, Thomas Jäger (both GER) and Harold Primat (CH) had to start the race from eleventh place. The trio mastered this task brilliantly. Though the car was involved in another accident during the race Buhk finally managed to take the lead in the last third of the race. However, an hour before the end of the race the SLS AMG GT3 lost first place when the front brake linings had to be changed during the last pit stop. As soon as he returned to the race track the last driver Buhk gave everything he’d got to recapture the lead. Until the cars crossed the finishing line a fascinating struggle for first place ensued. At the end of the race – after completing 296 laps – the trio was only 0.4138 seconds away from victory.
The previous year’s winner’s team Erebus Motorsport also caused a stir during the qualifying round, with a sensation for the history books: on the Mount Panorama course Maro Engel set a new track record for closed top racing cars! Consequently the gullwing with #1 started the race from the pole position. Engel and his team colleagues Bernd Schneider and Nico Bastian subsequently had the race under control for a long while as leader. However, following a technical problem the German trio lost valuable time and fell back. Nevertheless, they managed to secure a good seventh place by the time they reached the finishing line.
The sister car of the Erebus Motorsport team, driven by Will Davison, Jack LeBrocq and Greg Crick had to face up to a uniquely Australian challenge: a collision with a kangaroo on the trace track! The incident forced the racing gullwing – which had started from third position – to make an unscheduled pit stop. There the mechanics managed to provisionally repair the front of the vehicle, but the pilots subsequently had to struggle with aerodynamic problems. They managed to face up to this challenge with fine driving skills and ultimately brought their vehicle, which started with #63, over the finishing line in third place.
With the 24-hour race in Dubai and the 12-hour race at Bathurst this means that the AMG Customer Sports team has already won four places on the podium in the first two endurance races of 2014.
Opinions After the Race
Thomas Jäger: “It was an unbelievable race for us. No one in the HTP Motorsport team would have expected that we could still win a podium position after the training accident. We would have liked to end the race winning the first position, but the Ferrari was just somewhat faster towards the end. Thanks to everybody in the team for the extremely strong performance during the entire weekend.”
Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “Another pleasing result after the promising start of the season in Dubai. Congratulations to the customer teams HTP Motorsport and Erebus Motorsport for their strong performance in Bathurst.”
Jochen Bitzer, head of AMG Customer Sports: “It was a truly thrilling race with commanding motorsports on Mount Panorama. Having two SLS AMG GT3 on the podium and each of the three participating SLS AMG GT3 in the top ten is, all in all, an excellent result. The victory was within reach but unfortunately, in the end, a gap of 0.4138 seconds separated us from the first position. I want to thank the AMG customer teams of HTP Motorsport and Erebus Motorsport and all drivers. Congratulations to the team of Maranello Motorsport for today’s victory in the race.”
Two podium positions for the SLS AMG GT3 in the Dubai 24 Hours
• Second position for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
• Third position for race gullwing of Black Falcon
• Last year’s winner Bernd Schneider retired from the race
Dubai (UAE). AMG customer sports teams achieved promising results in the start of the 2014 motor sports season. Two SLS AMG GT3 ended the Dubai 24-hour race winning podium positions. Start number 38 of ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport started from position twelve on the grid. The driver trio Marc Basseng, René Münnich (both GER) and Rob Huff (GBR) came home second with a gap of three laps to the winner. The race gullwing of Black Falcon won the third position. Start number 2, piloted by Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE), Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED), Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal (KSA), Hubert Haupt (GER) and Adam Christodoulou (GBR) started from the fourth position on the grid and ended the race with a gap of six laps.
The third SLS AMG GT3 to cross the finish line came from Car Collection Motorsport and ended the first endurance race of the season on position15.
Start number 11 started from position 38 and was piloted by Heinz Schmersal, Johannes Siegler, Klaus Koch, Johannes Kirchhoff and Gustav Edelhoff (all GER).
Last year’s winning car with start number 1 of the customer team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon had to end the race ahead of time. The driver quartet with Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE), Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED), Andreas Simonsen (SWE) and Bernd Schneider (GER) took over the race from the second position on the grid and soon took hold of the first position. The SLS AMG GT3 dominated the 24-hour race for a long time. However, before midnight, electronics problems made a longer repair break in the box imperative. A convenient lead of 1.5 laps changed into a delay of 17 laps, which caused the SLS AMG GT3 to lose its position among the top 20. Further technical difficulties made another box stop necessary for the vehicle and prevented its continuation of the race.
SLS AMG GT3 of De Lorenzi Racing started the race from position 27. Piloted by Luc Braams, Duncan Huisman, Ivo Breukers (all NED) and Gianluca De Lorenzi (ITA), start number 19 fought their way up to the fourth overall position. Taking over the lead in the A6-Amateur class, the vehicle was involved in a collision with another vehicle. The subsequent repairs led to a delay and eventually to ending the race prior to time.
The Dubai 24 Hours is held for the ninth time this year and traditionally marks the beginning of the endurance race season. 77 cars started in the battle against the clock that is 24 hours long. 25 vehicles competed in the closely fought A6 class, in which all SLS AMG GT3 started as well.
Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “Today’s podium positions are a great result. I am pleased about the promising start of the 2014 motor sports season. The variety of customer teams that started in Dubai again proves the AMG Customer Sports Program philosophy. My congratulations to the customer teams ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport and Black Falcon for the podium positions in the first endurance race in 2014.”
Jochen Bitzer, head of AMG Customer Sports: “I am very satisfied with the results of this year’s Dubai 24 Hours. For a long time of the race, three SLS AMG GT3 were among the top five, in the end, two vehicles came home among the top three. As in the last two years, the race gullwing showed a strong performance in Dubai. Unfortunately, the SLS AMG GT3 did not manage to achieve the third victory in a row, but still, today’s results are a good start of the new season. I want to thank all customer teams and their drivers for their good work in Dubai.”
Triumph at the Gulf 12-hour race in Abu Dhabi 2013
At the end of the season the AMG Customer Sports team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon put up an excellent performance and secured victory at the third Gulf 12-hour race Abu Dhabi. Khaled Al Qubaisi, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Bernd Schneider took their places in the cockpit of the SLS AMG GT3 with the #3. For Black Falcon this victory in Abu Dhabi is already the third success in an endurance race in 2013. This year the German team was not only able to win the 24-hour race in Dubai but also the 24-hour race on the Northern Loop at the Nürburgring. Local matador Al Qubaisi dedicated his first home victory to Sean Edwards, who was killed in an accident this year.
The 32 year-old Dutchman Bleekemolen started from the pole position in his first stint on the 5.554 km long Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. At the beginning of the race, which was divided into two parts each lasting 6 hours he was already able to consolidate his position in the field of 21 vehicles, and after 45 minutes and 20 laps he was able to secure a 15 second lead. The team put up a commanding performance to defend their lead until their competitors were involved in a crash after three and a half hours and the safety car had to be sent onto the track. During this phase the Black Falcon gullwing fell back into second place and was not able to regain first place until the race break. After a 120-minute race break the second 6-hour phase finally started, which was once again begun by Bleekemolen for Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon. Through a superb lightning start he was able to directly regain the lead with his SLS AMG GT3 and in the further course of the race to hand over the gullwing to his colleague in first place. Subsequently not only Bernd Schneider but also Khaled Al Qubaisi and Jeroen Bleekemolen left their competitors no chance, and masterfully defended their leading position right through to the end of the race. After completing 308 laps they were able to build up a lead of almost 100 seconds, and really deserved their victory in winning the Gulf 12-hour race in Abu Dhabi.
Klaas Hummel, Andreas Simonsen and Adam Christodolou took their places in cockpit of the team’s sister car with the #4. Because of problems in the first segment they had to make a pit stop with their SLS AMG GT3 at an early stage and fell back to the end of the ranking. After a repair phase they started again in the second part of the race. After 217 laps they managed to secure 17th place in the overall ranking.
Pro-Am and Gentleman Title in the FIA GT Series / Final Race of the Series
Last weekend Sergei Afanasiev and Andreas Simonsen from the AMG Customer Sports team HTP Gravity Charouz won the championship in the Pro-Am class of the FIA GT. Both had 136 points and won with three points lead before the second placed competitor.
With an eight point lead (each altogether 110 points) Petr Charouz and Jan Stovicek won the title in the Gentleman Trophy. The victories in the overall team rankings – Gentleman and Pro-Am-class – complemented the extremely successful weekend for HTP Gravity Charouz. Since at the FIA GT championship points are awarded both in the qualifying round and during the race, the title of the series was already decided on the Saturday.
For the qualifying race two AMG Customer Sports teams fielded a total of four SLS AMG GT3s on the course: HTP Gravity Charouz started their gullwing #1 with Maximilian Buhk and Alon Day at the wheel. Sergei Afanasiev and Andreas Simonsen piloted the team’s number two. The sister car with the #3 was driven by Petr Charouz and Jarek Janis. In the end Afanasiev and Simonsen were able to come sixth in their vehicle, and hence celebrate the championship in the Pro-Am class early. The team’s number one crossed the finishing line in twelfth place. Charouz and Janis had to abandon the race early after the eighth lap. But because the title had already been decided before the qualifying round, this didn’t prevent their triumph. The fourth SLS AMG GT3 in the field was piloted by Benji Hetherington and Oliver Webb (#62) for Fortec Motorsport.
The actual race on Sunday was marred by many accidents, particularly in the first part of the race. This meant that both Afanasiev / Simonsen and Hetherington / Webb had to abandon the race early after the first lap because of an accident. Shortly afterwards Charouz / Janis also dropped out of the race. For Buhk and Day in the cockpit at the beginning of the race everything went according to plan: during many parts of the race the two motor sports pros were able to lead the strong field of 27 vehicles, ¬¬until they finally fell back into third place shortly before the end of the race and hence ended the course. Due to a 10-second time penalty they were subsequently downgraded to fourth place.
Triumph at the FUJI Sprint Cup
Within the course of the FUJI Sprint Cup at the end of the season on 23 and 24 November four SLS AMG GT3s started on the FUJI Speedway in Japan. The AMG Customer Sports team GAINER secured the first overall ranking of the motor sports event in the two races.
Bjorn Wirdheim started the first race in the SLS AMG GT3 with the #11 and Katsuyuki Hiranaka started for the Japanese team in the second race. Thanks to their second places in both traces, they won a total of 30 points and left their competitors with no chance of an overall victory. Masayuki Ueda (first race) and Tetsuya Tanaka (second race) piloted the sister car with the #10. On Saturday they managed to come eleventh, and on Sunday they came sixth. For the AMG Customer Sports team LEON RACING Haruki Kurosawa started the first race (fifth place) and Tsubasa Kurosawa took the wheel in the second race (tenth place) on the 4.563 km long circuit. Masaki Jyonai (first race) and Hisashi Wada (second race) for GREENTEC also participated in the race on the Fuji Speedway. After 22 laps Jyonai came ninth in the first race. On Sunday his team colleague Wada was in 14th place when he saw the checkered flag.
A lot of bad luck for Erebus Motorsport at Macau GT Cup
Last weekend the Australian AMG Customer Sports team Erebus Motorsport began the Macau GT Cup race with a total of two SLS AMG GT3s.
Renger van der Zande (NLD) started from position four on the Guia Circuit in the gullwing with the #63. The team’s sister car with the #36 was piloted by Maro Engel (GER). The German already put up a very strong performance in the qualifying round and set a new lap record (02:18.651 min.) with his SLS AMG GT3 on the 6.115 km long circuit. Consequently he then started the race from the pole position. The race was marred by numerous accidents, with a total of two safety car phases, but Engel defended his good starting position and confidently led the field of 31 vehicles. A lot of bad luck shortly before the end of the race finally unluckily prevented a victory for Erebus Motorsport: due to a splinter – which presumably had been on the race track since the first accident - Engel’s gullwing suffered tire damage four rounds before the end of the race, making it impossible to continue driving. His team colleague, Renger van der Zande, also had no luck this weekend in Macau: while competing for the lead on the penultimate lap the Dutchman was involved in an accident through no fault of his own, and the car damage also forced him to retire from the race prematurely.
Championship Title in the Super Taikyu
For the final of the Super Taikyu the AMG Customer Sports team PETRONAS Syntium sent a total of two SLS AMG GT3s onto the 4.673 km long Autopolis circuit in Japan on November 9 and 10, 2013. After two hours the team’s number one was able to secure the sixth consecutive title in the Super Taikyu.
The gullwing with the #1 was piloted by Dominic Ang and Melvin Moh, and started from 4th position on the track. The sister car #28 with Tatsuya Kataoka and Jono Lester in the cockpit started from 3rd position. Because of the extremely difficult outdoor conditions the start of the race has to be delayed by an hour and shortened to two hours instead of three.
Subsequently at the beginning of the race and also repeatedly afterwards there were safety car phases which made a “normal” race impossible. 30 minutes before the end of the race the weather finally improved and the field of 42 vehicles were once again able to compete for the last points of the season at full speed. The fifth place for the #1 ultimately enabled the team to win the sixth consecutive championship title. After the race Kataoka and Lester were delighted to be able to secure a place on the podium (third place) and come second in the overall standings (2.5 points behind their sister car).
Great Finale in Spain
Last weekend in Barcelona, Spain both the finale of the international GT Open and also the last race of the Spanish GT Championship was staged on the Circuit de Catalunya. Three AMG Customer Sports teams in their SLS AMG GT3s participated in the race.
Within the framework of the international GT Open Miguel Toril and Jan Seyffarth started for Seyffarth Motorsport. The gullwing of the Lechner Racing Team was piloted by Mario Plachutta and Walter Lechner. Sports and You sent Jose Pedro Fontes and Miguel Barbosa onto the 4.655 km long circuit in the Spanish GT Championship.
In the first race the two motor sports pros Barbosa and Fontes had to settle for 14th place. In the second race they were four places better, crossing the finishing line tenth. In the rankings of the international GT Open they came 24th in both the first and second races. Jan Seyffarth and Miguel Toril started from 28th position in the first race of the international GT Open. However, they had to retire early from the race after 27 laps. In the second race of the weekend they started from 15th position. In the race lasting approximately 50 minutes Seyffarth and Toril put up a good performance and finished ninth, which was the best result for a gullwing this weekend in Spain. Mario Plachutta and Walter Lechner from the Lechner Racing Team came 23rd in the first race. In the second race the Austrians crossed the finishing line in 26th place.
Victory in the Super GT in Japan
In the last race of the current Super GT season the AMG Customer Sports team GAINER won on the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan. The team‘s gullwings were piloted by Katsuyuki Hiranaka and Bjorn Wirdheim. In the qualifying round the two experienced motor sports pros displayed very good form and came second in their SLS AMG GT3. In the next race they subsequently put up a perfect performance, and crossed the finishing line in first place. This was already the second time Hiranaka and Wirdheim had secured victory this season in their gullwing in the Super GT. The team’s sister car was piloted by Tetsuya Tanaka and Masayuki Ueda. They came twelfth on the 4.8 km long circuit.
Haruki and Tsubasa Kurosawa also started for the AMG Customer Sports team LEON RACING on the Twin Ring Motegi. After 50 laps they came sixth. OKINAWA-IMP RACING with Shift piloted by Hironori Takeuchi and Takeshi Tsuchiya also managed to secure another place in the top ten. They came seventh. The fifth SLS AMG GT3 started for GREENTEC in the field of 23 vehicles participating in the final race of the season. At the end Hisashi Wada and Masaki Jonai came 16th.
In the overall driver standings the duo Hiranaka / Wirdheim for GAINER at the end of the race only just narrowly missed securing victory in the championship: with 80 points they came second, only five points behind the winner. It was also conceivably close for GAINER in the overall team standings: with 100 points from a total of eight races they also secured second place. This meant with Hironori Takeuchi and Takeshi Tsuchiya for OKINAWA-IMP RACING with Shift in fifth place and Haruki Kurosawa for LEON RACING in sixth place three additional drivers were able to secure places in the top ten of the overall driver standings. In the overall team standings, too, OKINAWA-IMP RACING with Shift and LEON RACING also confirmed these results by coming fifth and sixth respectively.
Season finale in the VLN
Last weekend the final race of the current VLN Endurance Championship was held at the Nürburgring. For the finale two AMG Customer Sports teams fielded their gullwings in the race on the Northern Loop.
The #33 from Car Collection was piloted by Peter Schmidt, Johannes Siegler and Christian Bracke, and started the race from position 34 in the 38th DMV Münsterland Cup. In the four-hour endurance race the drivers from Hesse set off in hot pursuit of the leaders, catching up 15 places, and were 19th when they saw the checkered flag. They came eighth in their class, the SP9.
ROWE RACING started the race in the Eifel with two SLS AMG GT3s. Michael Zehe, Marko Hartung and Jan Seyffarth took their places in the gullwing with the #6. The sister car was piloted by Nico Bastian and double starter Seyffarth. After getting off to a good start the #6 partly managed to lead the field of 149 vehicles taking part in the race, until a minor accident during the twelfth lap forced it out of the race. Just a short time later Nico Bastian, driving the #7, also had to drop out of the race early.
A place on the podium at the French GT
The final race of the season in the French GT Championship was held at the Paul Ricard Circuit on October 25-27. The AMG Customer Sports team HTP Motorsport fielded an SLS AMG GT3 in both races of the weekend. Luca Stolz and Alon Day took their places in the cockpit of the gullwing with the #62. Day had already displayed convincing form in the free training with the best time of the day on the Friday. Consequently the two motor sports pros also captured pole position for both races in the qualifying rounds on Saturday. Finally the first race of the weekend started punctually at 16.10 on Saturday. In the exciting 60-minute race Stolz and Day only narrowly missed winning, and came second. On Sunday they repeated this performance in the second race, and once again finished second.
Mika Häkkinen wins in China
Together with his 17-year team colleague Matthew Solomon, double Formula 1 World Champion Mika Häkkinen celebrated an historic first victory in China for the AMG Customer Sports team Erebus Motorsport last weekend. This success in the first race of the AMG Customer Sports program in the GT Asia at the same time means the first victory for the Mercedes-AMG brand ambassador Häkkinen since his DTM retirement.
Häkkinen and Solomon started in the 50-minute race on the Zhuhai International Circuit in China from qualifying position six. On the 4.319 km long circuit the starting driver Häkkinen was able to directly catch up four places right at the start of the race, and following his stint at the wheel, he was in second place when he handed over the car to his team colleague Solomon. The young Chinese driver put up a faultless performance and overtook the leading car shortly before the end of the race to secure the first victory for an SLS AMG GT3 in China.
Because of their victory in the first race Häkkinen / Solomon started the second race of the weekend with a 15-second handicap from position two. At the end they came fourth. The team’s sister car was piloted by Lance David Arnold. Starting from the pole position, he put up a commanding performance for the most of the race against a field of twelve vehicles, until he had to park the gullwing just before the finish because the gasoline pressure was too low.
Two places in the podium in the season’s finale of the DMV TCC
From October 11-12 the season’s finale of the Touring Car Challenge – or for short DMV TCC – was staged on the Hockenheimring. Bruno Stucky started for the AMG Customer Sports team ANTeam Motorsport, as well as Maximilian Völker for Seyffarth Motorsport. This weekend Bruno Stucky in particular had a reason to celebrate. In both races he was able to finish third overall. This was a very special highlight for the Swiss driver, because it was the first time he had taken a place on the winners’ podium. But Maximilian Völker also had good reason to be very satisfied with his performance in Baden-Württemberg. He put up a convincing performance to secure class victories in both races.
With a total of 106.40 points Bruno Stucky managed to come fifth in the overall championship ranking in the final reckoning. This meant the pilot from ANTeam Motorsport managed to improve his ranking by three places compared to 2012.
Strong showing for SLS AMG GT3 in the VLN
Last weekend a total of four SLS AMG GT3s started the penultimate race of the long-distance championship Nürburgring VLN on the Northern Loop.
The AMG Customer Sports team Car Collection Motorsport sent Peter Schmidt, Klaus Koch and Johannes Siegler to the Eifel in a gullwing. Starting the race from position 44, they made an impressive comeback and in the end they were able to catch up 31 places. They came thirteenth in the overall ranking, and eighth in their class, the SP9.
The ROWE RACING motoracing team from Bubenheim started with a total of two SLS AMG GT3s on the legendary circuit. The vehicle starting with the #6 was piloted by Michael Zehe, Marko Hartung and Christian Hohenadel. Jan Seyffarth, Nico Bastian and Thomas Jäger took the wheel in the sister car (#7). In its home race, the ROWE DMV 250-mile race, ROWE RACING struggled with tire damage, which amongst other things forced them to make an unscheduled pit stop. Because of this the pilots of the car with the #6 had to make do with tenth place (seventh in their class, the SP9) at the end of the four-hour endurance race. The gullwing with the #7 had to retire early from the race.
The fourth SLS AMG GT3 started for the AMG Customer Sports team Black Falcon in the “green hell” and secured the best result in this racing weekend. In the gullwing with the #9 Andreas Simonsen and Marc Basseng put up a very strong performance to finish fourth and narrowly miss a place on the podium. They also came fourth in their class, the SP9.
The season finale of the VLN will be held on October 26 when the 38th DMV Münsterland Cup is staged.
Twice in Top 5 at the Seventh Round of the Super GT in Japan
Two AMG Customer Sports teams provided top results in the penultimate round of the Super GT season in Japan, when OKINAWA-IMP RACING with Shift came third and GAINER came fourth.
Hironi Takeuchi and Takeshi Tsuchiya started out in tenth place for OKINAWA-IMP RACING with Shift on the Autopolis race circuit in Japan. In an exciting race they made a spectacular comeback and managed to finish the race in third place in their gullwing with the #52. The GAINER team’s SLS AMG GT3 was piloted by Katsuyuki Hiranaka and Bjorn Wirdheim. Starting out from sixth place they managed to catch up two places and crossed the finishing line fourth. Tetsuya Tanaka and Masayuki Ueda took the wheel in the team’s sister car. After 57 laps they came 20th. Hisashi Wada and Masaki Jyonai also participated in the Autopolis race for the AMG Customer Sports team GREENTEC. They came 14th on the 4.673 km long circuit. The fifth gullwing from LEON RACING began the race from 14th position. At the end they came 18th.
Before the finale of the season GAINER and OKINAWA-IMP RACING with Shift are in second and third places overall in the team rankings, each with 77 points. This means that both teams still have realistic chances of winning the team championship title this season. In the overall driver rankings Katsuyuki Hiranaka and Bjorn Wirdheim can still have justified hopes of winning the championship title this season. They are currently in third place, trailing by only ten points behind the leading duo.
The Super GT will continue on November 2-3, 2013 when the teams start out on the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan in the last race of the season, and the titles will be awarded to the winners.
Round 7 of the International GT Open in Monza
In the penultimate racing event of the season two AMG Customer Sports teams, Seyffarth Motorsport and Sports & You began the two races in Italy within the framework of the International GT Open.
The gullwing with the #61 was piloted by Jan Seyffarth and the Spanish driver Miguel Toril for Seyffarth Motorsport. In the first race the two motor sports pros came 16th. In the second race they improved their position by one place, and came 15th. Sports & You sent its SLS AMG GT3 onto the 5.793 km long race circuit with Antonio Coimbra and Luis Silva in the cockpit. After the qualifying round they started the first race from position 28 and after more than 70 minutes they had caught up five places to come 23rd. They repeated this result when they came 23rd in the second race, after starting from position 25.
The season’s finale in the International GT Open will be held on the Circuit de Barcelona in Spain on November 9-10.
Finale of the British GT
The last round of the current British GT season was staged on October 5-6 in Donington Park. The two English drivers, Jason Minshaw und Benji Hetherington, piloted the vehicle for the AMG Customer Sports team Fortec Motorsport. Starting out from position 14, they caught up one place and crossed the finishing line thirteenth. The second SLS AMG GT3 in the field of 32 participants went chasing points on behalf of the Preci-Spark team on the 4.023 km long circuit. However, after 22 laps they had to retire before the race was over.
Second Place in the 6-Hour Race at Brno
Last weekend the six-hour endurance race was held in Brno / Czech Republic within the framework of the FIA CEZ. One of the competitors was the Swiss AMG Customer Sports team G-Private Racing. The team gullwing was piloted by Philip and Manuel Zumstein. After 172 laps they were in second place when they saw the “Checkered Flag”. The team’s sister car, driven by Mathias Schmitter, Jörg Peham and Paul Pfefferkorn, had to abandon the race before the end.
Furious Finale at ADAC GT Masters
They have made it exciting again: for Maximilian Buhk (GER) and Maximilian Götz (GER) from the AMG Customer Sports team Polarweiss Racing, winning the title in the ADAC GT Masters Finale at the Hockenheimring is once again within their grasp. The duo left the leaders of the table behind them by taking second place in Saturday’s race, and shortened the gap to only six points before the last race of the season on Sunday.
Götz and Buhk also showed strong nerves when they started the final day in their SLS AMG GT3: they chalked up the best time in the warm-up! Then came the decisive 60-minute final race: after a good start Maximilian Buhk was in second place and hence on course to win the title. However, the justified hopes of defending the title were shattered in the 14th round: following a technical defect, Buhk had to park his racing gullwing on the edge of the track, leaving the duo without any points. For Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Götz the ADAC GT Masters Season 2013 left them in joint third place in the driver rankings.
In the sister car of the Polarweiss Racing team Thomas Jäger (GER) and Luca Ludwig (GER) won points in both races: on Saturday the duo came ninth and on Sunday they came twelfth in the field of 24 super sports cars which had started the race. This meant that the Polarweiss Racing team also came third in the season’s ratings for 2013.
Strong Performance in the VLN Doesn’t Pay Off
Places 11 and 27 and a breakdown – that was the performance from the point of view of the three SLS AMG GT3s which took part in the seventh race of the VLN, the 45th ADAC Barbarossa Prize. However, for a long time it looked like the racing gullwings would secure a much better result on the Nürburgring Northern Loop.
The two SLS AMG GT3s from the AMG Customer team ROWE RACING were amongst the dominant vehicles during large parts of the four-hour race involving 164 vehicles. In the ROWE RACING gullwing with the #7 Lance David Arnold (GER) and Jan Seyffarth (GER) looked set to come second and win a place on the podium until the race entered the final quarter. However, a bookable offence spelt disaster for the duo: after the race management disallowed one lap, Arnold und Seyffarth were only able to salvage eleventh place at the end of the race.
In the team’s sister car with the #6 Michael Zehe (GER), Marko Hartung (GER) and double starter Jan Seyffarth also put up a strong performance. However, in the last lap of the race the SLS AMG GT3 – which at the time was in sixth place – suffered an accident and was hence unable to finish the race under its own power. This meant no points in the rankings for the second ROWE RACING SLS AMG GT3.
For the third SLS AMG GT3 in the field, driving on behalf of the team Car Collection Motorsport, the race ended with the car in 27th overall place and with ninth place in the class SP9 for Peter Schmidt (GER), Johannes Kirchhoff (GER) and Klaus Koch (GER).
Place on the Podium in the DMV TCC in Monza
In the penultimate round of the International DMV TCC in Monza the AMG Customer Sports team Land Motorsport had plenty of reason to celebrate. In both races they secured the best results of the three Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3s which had started. In the second of the two 30-minute sprint races Christian Land (GER) won a place on the winners’ podium by coming second overall. This meant that Land also came second in the class rankings (class 8, group GT3). The day before, Land’s team colleague Stefan Eilentropp (GER) chalked up his best result in the DMV TCC by coming fifth overall (third in the class rankings).
In Monza Erwin Stückle (GER) and Maximilian Völkner (GER) started for the AMG Customer team Seyffarth Motorsport. Stückle, who drove in the second race, passed the finishing line in sixth place (4th place in the class rankings). Völkner, who was unable to participate in the qualifying round of the first race because of a technical defect, had to start from the back of the field of 38 vehicles. With a remarkable performance he fought his way forward until he managed to come 18th overall (8th place in his class).
In the third racing gullwing Bruno Stucky (SUI) from ANTeam Motorsport had to struggle with tire problems throughout the entire race weekend. The Swiss driver had to finish both races prematurely, but he was rated with twelfth and 13th place in the list of results, which was equivalent to sixth place in his class.
The finale of the DMV TCC will be held on October 11-12, 2013 on the Hockenheimring.
Class Victory in the FIA GT Series
In the penultimate round of this year’s FIA GT series on the Spanish race track at Navarra, Sergei Afanasiev and Andreas Simonsen from the AMG Customer team HTP Gravity Charouz captured the crowd’s attention once again. With two perfect stints in the main race the Swedish-Russian duo secured victory in the PAM class and came fourth overall. In the qualifying race the two racing pilots already came fourth overall and second in their class. Afanasiev / Simonsen continue to lead the overall rankings of the PAM class and will hence be favorites when they head to the finale at Baku, Azerbaijan – which will be held on November 22-24, 2013.
The two sister cars from HTP Gravity Charouz were piloted by Alon Day (ISR) and Stef Dusseldorp (NL), respectively by Hubert Haupt (GER) and Martin Matzke (CZE). In the main race the duo Day / Dusseldorp came seventh overall (6th place in their class). Haupt / Matzke came 13th overall and sixth in the class rankings (PAM).
Superstars World GT Sprint in Imola
Two GT sprint races were held in the penultimate round of the Superstars World series at the Italian race track Imola last weekend. The only Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 in the field of eleven participating vehicles was the racing gullwing of the AMG Customer Sports team Sports & You, with Antonio Coimbra (POR) at the wheel. The Portuguese driver had a constantly good weekend, and was able to secure sixth place in both races. The series finishes on October 13, 2013 at the Italian race track Vallelunga.
Title Win in the Blancpain Endurance Series
The final of the Blancpain Endurance Series 2013 had just about everything: for the first time in four years there was once again a 1000 km race on the Nürburgring – and at the end a great winner: Maximilian Buhk from the AMG Customer Sports team HTP Motorsport. The 20-year-old won the title in the Pro Cup driver ranking through a victory in the final race, which he secured together with his team colleagues Bernd Schneider and Maximilian Götz.
The title win came after a high-class six-hour marathon, which the German trio began from the pole position. The SLS AMG GT3 with the #84 immediately impressed with fast lap times and on each lap was able to forge ahead of the other 50 vehicles in the field of participants. However, after 5 hours of dominant racing the last pit stop once again provided an unwanted drama: HTP Motorsport’s racing gullwing spent more time in the pits than planned because of a change of the brake pads, which meant that the final driver Maximilian Buhk was “only” able to return to the track in second place.
However, following an exciting duel Buhk was able to snatch back the lead. After 178 laps he finally crossed the finishing line with a lead of 18.298 seconds. In the championship ranking of the Pro Cup this even meant a triple success for HTP Motorsport: apart from Maximilian Buhk winning the title with 81 points, Maximilian Götz and Bernd Schneider both had 71 points, which gave them joint second place.
The two SLS AMG GT3s used by the Black Falcon team also put up noteworthy performances in the final race: the car starting with the #19, piloted by Hubert Haupt, Luca Ludwig and Andreas Simonsen crossed the finishing line in eighth place (putting them in seventh place in the Pro Cup). The sister car with the #18, driven by Klaas Hummel, Steve Jans and Adam Christodoulou finished 13th overall in the six-hour race and secured third place in the Pro Am class. The car starting the race with the #22 for Preci-Spark, with twin brothers David and Godfrey Jones and son Morgan Jones (all GBR) at the wheel, began the Pro-Am Cup race from 39th place. The British AMG Customer team had to abandon the race after just half the distance because of an accident.
Opinions after the race
Maximilian Buhk, HTP Motorsport: “I am very happy to win the championship in the Blancpain Endurance Series after my championship title last year in the FIA GT3 European Championship. Anyway, 2013 is a good year for me: At first, the overall victory in the 24-hour race of Spa-Francorchamps with my team colleagues Maximilian Götz and Bernd Schneider, then the DTM test last week with Mercedes-Benz and now, the title. Things could hardly be better. Thanks to the entire HTP Motorsport team!”
Norbert Brückner, team manager HTP Motorsport: “We are doing very well currently. My congratulations to Maximilian Buhk for his championship title, which he really deserves. He and his team colleagues Maximilian Götz and Bernd Schneider drove an excellent race. Our SLS AMG GT3 again showed a flawless performance. I want to thank AMG Customer Sports for their great support.”
Early Success in Super Taikyu Championship
Title win also celebrated in Japan: In Suzuka the PETRONAS Syntium team was able to secure the championship ahead of schedule in the Super Taikyu Series. One round before the end of the season the AMG Customer Team has an unassailable lead. The only remaining unanswered question is which of the team’s two racing gullwings will be right at the top at the end of the championship.
And as impressive as the season has been up to now, the PETRONAS Syntium team was also just as dominant in the three races in Suzuka. Their vehicles won all three races. On Saturday Nobuteru Taniguchi was victorious in the SLS AMG GT3 with the #1. In the sister car with the #28 Jono Lester crossed the finishing line in fourth place. On Sunday Tatsuya Kataoka and Fariqe Hairuman in the vehicle with the #28 won the second and third races. Melvin Moh and Dominc Ang in the vehicle with the #1 came fourth and second on Sunday.
The successes in the races at Suzuka mean that the PETRONAS Syntium team has already won six successive championship titles. This year the seventh and final round of the Super Taikyu Series will be held from November 9-10, 2013 on the Japanese Autopolis race track.
Good Performance in the Asian Le Mans Series
At the weekend the second round of the Asian Le Mans Series was held on the Japanese Fuji Speedway. There were also three SLS AMG GT3s, who put up an exciting performance in the field of 20 vehicles at the three-hour race. Above all there was a strong performance by the racing gullwing from the AMG Customer team GAINER: Björn Wirdheim and Katsuyuki Hiranaka came fourth overall, and just narrowly missed a place on the podium. In the SGT class the duo came second. The AMG Customer team OKINAWA-IMP RACING with SHIFT and the drivers Hironori Takeuchi and Takeshi Tsuchiya came sixth (tenth overall) in the SGT class. LEON Racing with its drivers Haruki and Tsubasa Kurosawa rounded off the result by coming eighth (16th overall). The next station of the Asian Le Mans Series is the three-hour race of Zhuhai on October 13.
AMG customer sport drivers Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Götz test DTM Mercedes AMG C-Class
•Successful DTM test for AMG customer sports juniors Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Götz at Lausitzring
•Reward for their achievements in the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3
•Mercedes-AMG promotes young motor racing drivers in customer sport
Stuttgart - On 17th September 2013, Mercedes AMG rewarded AMG customer sports juniors Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Götz for their outstanding achievements this season with a DTM test drive. At the Lausitzring, Buhk and Götz got their first taste of a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Class racing car from the world's most popular international touring car series.
Buhk took his place in the cockpit at the start of the test session, whilst Götz took the wheel of the DTM car later in the afternoon. In total, the two SLS AMG customer sports juniors posted 120 laps of the 3.442km DTM track (Buhk: 60 laps / Götz: 60 laps).
Buhk and Götz earned this opportunity to test by virtue of their accomplishments in a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3. Buhk and Götz were very successful last year: Buhk became European Champion in an SLS AMG GT3 FIA GT3, whilst Götz won the ADAC GT Masters championship in the gullwing. The pair won the 24-Hour race at Spa- Francorchamps along with DTM record-breaking champion Bernd Schneider this season at the end of July. This success also marked the 100th victory of the gullwing racing car since the start of AMG's customer sports programme in 2010.
Bringing on young drivers in motor racing has a long tradition at Mercedes-Benz. Four of the six Mercedes-Benz drivers currently contesting the DTM previously competed in Formula 3, powered by Mercedes engines. With an average age of 23 years, Mercedes-Benz has the youngest squad of drivers of all the three manufacturers competing in this year's DTM. Of the 22 drivers currently lining up on the Formula 1 starting grid, twelve utilised Mercedes-Benz engines during their time in Formula 3. The successful introduction of AMG's customer sports programme has provided additional opportunities for the systematic bringing on of talent through Mercedes AMG.
“It was an absolutely fabulous day and I had a lot of fun testing the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Class. I learned a lot and would like to thank everyone. It really was a super cool experience.”
“Of course it was mega awesome to get the chance to test the DTM AMG Mercedes C-Class. It's a dream come true for me and I really enjoyed stepping on the gas and finding my limit. Of course, driving the DTM car felt very new and unfamiliar compared to the SLS AMG GT3 but I felt very much at ease and had a lot of fun. Many thanks again to Mercedes-AMG for giving me this opportunity. I would love to be able to jump straight back in the car and post a few more laps!”
Uli Fritz, Head of AMG Customer Sports:
“We are pleased that we were able to give Maximilian Buhk und Maximilian Götz the opportunity today to test a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Class. This test shows just what great prospects AMG customer sports can open up to young and successful junior drivers.”
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“Maximilian Götz and Maximilian Buhk are two of the most talented drivers in sports car racing and thoroughly deserve this opportunity to test after their achievements in Mercedes-AMG's customer sport programme. Both demonstrated that they feel very much at home in the gullwing during testing at the Lausitzring. They posted fast lap times in our DTM car and gave good feedback. For many decades, Mercedes-Benz has been committed to promoting young drivers in motor racing, and many of these aspiring talents have subsequently moved up from Formula 3 into Formula 1 and into the DTM during their careers. The success of the two Maximilians shows that Mercedes AMG's support of juniors can also serve as a springboard for the careers of drivers at customer sport level. I am certain that the two will realise their potential in the future and have the talent to achieve many more successes.”
Triumphant Anniversary for ADAC GT Masters
A place on the podium and still a chance of winning the title – that’s the upshot from Maximilian Götz and Maximilian Buhk from AMG Customer Sports team Polarweiss Racing following the anniversary weekend of the ADAC GT Masters on the Slovakia Ring. In the Sunday competition, the 100th race in the “League of the Super Sportscars”, which was founded in 2007 , Götz/Buhk got off to a great start from fifth position. Subsequently, during the entire one-hour race the duo put up an exciting fight amongst the group of leaders, and at the end they were rewarded with third place. The day before Götz and Buhk had narrowly missed a place on the podium by coming fourth, but this still secured them valuable points for the championship. Before the final on the Hockenheimring (September 27-29, 2013), where two races will also be held, the reigning champion Maximilian Götz, together with his team colleague Maximilian Buhk, is now in joint second place and has every chance of defending the title.
Polarweiss Racing’s sister car, piloted by Sergey Afanasiev and Andreas Simonsen, were also able to gather valuable team points on the Slovakia Ring. In the rainy Saturday race the Russian- Swedish duo came seventh, and on Sunday they came eleventh. That leaves them in fourth place in the closely contested Polarweiss Racing evaluation before the final, meaning they still have a chance of winning the team title again.
Freak weather at the VLN
Following a victory by the AMG Customer Sports team ROWE RACING in the last VLN race, the gullwings of the Bubenheim team also put up a strong performance in the 36th RCM DMV Grenzlandrennen race, but this time they didn’t manage to make it into the top ten: not only the SLS AMG GT3 from Nico Bastian and Jan Seyffarth but also the racing gullwing from Michael Zehe, Marko Hartung and Mark Bullitt had to end the race premature after accidents when rain suddenly made the track wet. Before being forced to retire, Nico Bastian drove a furious race and quickly moved to the front of the field. Before his accident he was in the lead and dominated the race, increasing his lead to 2.5 minutes after just four rounds on the Nürburgring Northern Loop.
The third SLS AMG GT3 which entered the field for AMG Customer team Car Collection Motorsport was able to do better in the turbulent race, which was ultimately terminated prematurely with the red flag because of a huge cloudbreak: In the final ranking Peter Schmidt, Henri Moser and David Horn finished a good 19th overall in the field of 162 vehicles that started.
FIA CEZ a guest in Brno (CZ)
Piotr Krawczyk from AMG Customer Sports team Premium Motorsport Poland was also one of the top pilots in the guest race of the FIA CEZ series in Brno in the Czech Republic. At the autumn prize of the Masaryk Racing Days the overall leading driver began the sprint race in the category >2000 ccm and came fifth. His countryman Rudolf Machánek (TopCar Machánek) came eleventh in his racing gullwing.
The two SLS AMG GT3s from Seyffarth Motorsport piloted by the German drivers Erwin Stückle and Michael Yenci could win the P9 class (Stückle) and took the second place (Yenci) respectively. In the two-hour endurance race it was Yenci who secured the class victory and Stückl who came second. The next class victory for Seyffarth Motorsport came along with the sprint race on Sunday, which Maximilian Völker could win (11th place overall). The Swiss Philipp and Manuel Zumstein also took part in the race in Brno. The duo from AMG Customer Sports team G-Private Racing started the two-hour race on Sunday, but had to retire half an hour before the end of the race, and consequently did not collect any points.
One race before the final of the FIA CEZ series on October 6 in Navak (SRB) Piotr Krawczyk is still on the way to winning the title.
Hofor Racing wins in Barcelona
Hofor Racing secured victory in the 24-hour race in Barcelona with a ten round lead.
In the cockpit of the gullwing, starting for Hofor Racing, took Michael Kroll, Roland Eggimann, Kenneth Heyer and Chrstiaan Frankenhout place.
Starting the race from position six, the team chose rain tires for a track which started to dry out, which meant they had to make another pit stop after just a few rounds.
Subsequently they showed a convincing performance through consistently good lap times, caught up and established themselves in the group of leaders. In the exciting race they were then able to ultimately take the lead just after midnight and hold on to it right to the finish. After 605 rounds it was the last driver and team owner Michael Kroll, who was first to cross the finishing line on the 4.655 km long circuit.
This success is already the fifth victory in 2013 for the SLS AMG GT3 in different long-distance classics. The AMG Customer Sports teams not only won the 24-hour race in Dubai, the 12-hour race in Bathurst but also the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps and were also victorious on the Nürburgring Northern Loop.
Another racing gullwing competed for De Lorenzi Racing in Barcelona. Gianluca de Lorenzi, Ivo Breukers and Bert de Heus started the 24-hour endurance race from position two. However, the team lost touch with the leaders because of two repair phases, and finished the race in 16th place. In their A6 class they came second.
The third gullwing in the field from the AMG Customer Sports team Car Collection Motorsport, with Peter Schmidt, Alexander Mattschul, Heinz Schmersal, Gustav Edelhoff and Johannes Kirchhoff at the wheel had to retire from the race early because of an accident shortly before midnight. They had started from position four.
Four times in the top ten at the Super GT in Japan
With the AMG Customer Sports team LEON RACING, GAINER and OKINAWA-IMP RACING with Shift, three different teams with a total of four racing gullwings were able to secure a place in the top ten in the sixth race of the Super GT in Japan.
Haruki and Tsubasa Kurosawa for LEON RACING went hunting for points on the Fuji Speedway, and came fourth. Starting from 18th position they caught up an impressive 14 places, and in the end just narrowly missed a place on the podium. GAINER sent two SLS AMG GT3s onto the 4.563 km long circuit. Tetsuya Tanaka und Masayuki Ueda took their places in the gullwing with the #10. After 61 laps they came sixth. The sister car with Katsuyuki Hiranaka and Bjorn Wirdheim in the cockpit came seventh. Hironi Takeuchi and Takeshi Tsuchiya took to the track for OKINAWA-IMP RACING with Shift, starting from position 16. In the end they caught up six places, and came tenth. The fifth gullwing in the field, from GREENTEC, crossed the finishing line in seventeenth place.
The Super GT will continue from October 5-6, 2013 on the Autopolis in Japan.
AMG with a strong showing of SLS AMG GT3s at the International GT Open in Belgium
A total of four SLS AMG GT3s started the sixth round of the International GT Open for two Customer Sports teams. From September 7-8 two races were held on the legendary race track of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium in the framework of the series.
Maximilian Völker and Jan Seyffarth started in the gullwing with the #61 for Seyffarth Motorsport in the Belgian Ardennes. Staring from position 23 in the first race of the weekend, at the end they were in thirteenth place when they saw the “Checkered Flag”. In the second race they came 16th. In the teams sister car Miguel Toril and Renger van der Zande took the wheel. These two motor sports pros also provided the best result of a SLS AMG GT3 at the weekend, coming tenth. In the second race they came 13th.
Sports and You also started two gullwings in the race on the 7.004 km long circuit. In the vehicle with the #83 Jose Pedro Fontes and Joao Silva took the wheel. In the first race they came 16th, and in the second they came 18th. The number 84 of the team, with Antonio Coimbra and Luis Silva in the cockpit, had to prematurely retire from the first race after four laps. In the second race they came 21th.
The seventh round of the International GT Open will be held in Monza / Italy from October 5-6.
DMV TCC with a stop in France
In the seventh race of the current DMV TCC season a total of 26 vehicles took to the track at the Circuit de Dijon-Prenois in France. On the 3.801 km long circuit two SLS AMG GT3s took part in two races. Josef Klüber competed in the two half-hour races for the AMG Customer Sports team Schütz Motorsport. Staring from position four in the first race, the German put up a very good performance and in the end came second. He was only exactly 5,885 seconds behind the winner and very narrowly missed victory. Klüber started the second race of the weekend from position six. After 17 laps he crossed the finishing line in fifth place.
Bruno Stucky went hunting for points for the AMG Customer Sports team ANTeam Motorsport. In the first race the Swiss driver came fifth in his SLS AMG GT3. He then came fourth in the second race.
The next race of the DMV TCC will be held from September 27- 28 in Monza / Italy.
Round 6 of the British GT in Zandvoort
The sixth round of the British GT was staged in Zandvoort / Netherlands from September 6-8. Jason Minshaw and Benji Hetherington started for the AMG Customer Sports team Fortec Motorsport. They came 15th in the first race on Saturday. In the second race of the weekend on Sunday they crossed the finishing line in twelfth place.
The final of the British GT season will be held in just less than four weeks. From October 5-6 the teams will be fighting for the title of the series in a race at Donington Park in Great Britain.
World premiere of the CLA 45 at the IAA in Frankfurt
Affalterbach – World premiere at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt/Main: The CLA 45 AMG Racing Series concept car provides a preview of a further customer sports racing car from Mercedes-AMG, alongside the world success of the SLS AMG GT3 gullwing racing car. Authentic motor racing genes, competitive technology and a spectacular design – the near-series four-door CLA 45 AMG Racing Series high-performance Coupé is intended for the avidly followed race series with turbocharged 2.0-litre cars.
The standard version of the CLA 45 AMG, which has been available since June 2013, has the perfect genes for a competitive customer sports racing car: As the world's most powerful four-cylinder engine in series production, the turbocharged AMG 2.0-litre unit generates 265 kW (360 hp) and maximum torque of 450 newton metres. As on the standard model, power on the racing version is transferred by the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission. Given sufficient demand, the near-series CLA 45 AMG Racing Series could enter various international race series such as national brand-specific trophies or the German VLN series (Veranstaltergemeinschaft Langstreckenmeisterschaft Nürburgring – Organiser's association for Nürburgring long-distance championships).
The technical specifications will vary according to the race rules and race series. The engine output and power transmission are variable, with permanent all-wheel drive or purely front-wheel drive possible as in the standard version.
Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH:
“With the CLA 45 AMG Racing Series we are providing a preview of another exciting customer sports racing car from Mercedes-AMG. The great success of our involvement with the SLS AMG GT3, which is now used by customer teams on five continents, means that we are very confident: in the popular four-cylinder segment too, we want to offer interested customer teams a competitive, near-series racing car with a high level of safety.”
Uli Fritz, Head of AMG Customer Sport:
“The large demand for a customer sports racing car for the extremely popular race series with turbocharged 2.0-litre cars encouraged us to present a showcar CLA 45 AMG Racing Series. Our involvement in customer sports with the SLS AMG GT3, which was able to win the “grand slam” of classic GT3 long-distance races, continues to spawn success in its fourth year.”
Spectacular racing car design
Typical racing car features made completely from carbon-fibre (CFRP) make the extravagant design of the standard CLA 45 AMG even more spectacular: they include a new front and rear apron, flared wings and side sill panels. In addition, treadless racing tyres ensure an impressive width. Thanks to carbon-fibre rear wings and large cooling apertures for engine and brake cooling, the CLA 45 AMG Racing Series makes an imposing impression even when stationary. For use on the racetrack, the already good aerodynamic attributes of the four-door high-performance coupé are further optimised by the newly developed carbon-fibre components: the front apron with a front splitter ensures additional downforce, as do the rear diffuser with three fins and the adjustable rear aerofoil.
The air intake in the side sill panels ahead of the rear wheels ensures effective cooling of the rear brakes. Wheel arch vents in the wings, which are flared by over six centimetres on each side, increase the downforce at the front and rear axles. In true racing style, the bonnet and boot lid are fitted with quick-release catches. In short: the motor racing DNA of AMG, the performance brand within Mercedes-Benz, is immediately recognisable in the CLA 45 AMG Racing Series.
High level of safety in the interior
A functional racing car atmosphere predominates in the interior: the roll-over cage is made of high-strength steel. An exemplary level of safety is ensured by the carbon-fibre P 1300 GT racing bucket seat from Recaro, prepared for the HANS system (Head and Neck Support), and the integrated fire extinguishing system. In the cockpit the AMG instrument cluster keeps the driver informed about the road speed, engine speed and the operating temperatures of the engine and transmission. The racing steering wheel with shift paddles for gearshifts allows perfect vehicle control. The centre console houses additional controls such as the central switch for the onboard electronics and switches for the hazard warning system and fire extinguishing system.
Special motorsports suspension allows an individual, track-specific setup
The special racing suspension has a wider track at the front and rear, and allows numerous adjustments for an individual racetrack setup. The suspension level, spring rate and damper characteristics are adjustable, as are the track and camber at the front and rear axles. The AMG high-performance braking system with ventilated discs all-round is equipped with an anti-lock system. The AMG light-alloy wheels in a cross-spoke design are shod with racing tyres in size 265-660-18 from technical development partner Dunlop, and to reduce unsprung masses the AMG light-alloy wheels feature a particularly lightweight forged construction. The electro-mechanical AMG speed-sensitive sports steering assists with agile handling. Fast wheel-changes during pit-stops are made possible by the pneumatic lifting system integrated into the underbody.
Like the SLS AMG GT3 before it, the CLA 45 AMG Racing Series was developed by Mercedes-AMG in close cooperation with HWA AG. HWA is responsible for the development and race appearances of the AMG-Mercedes DTM cars on behalf of and in close collaboration with Mercedes-Benz Motorsports. Professional racing drivers including the AMG brand ambassador Bernd Schneider share the cockpit during the course of the test and development programme. The HWA team, which originated within AMG, is one of the most successful teams in international motorsports: Ten driver's titles in the DTM and ITC, as well as two overall victories in the FIA GT Championship, are compelling evidence. No other brand has won as many DTM races and DTM titles as cars from AMG-Mercedes.
SLS AMG GT3 successful worldwide
Now a permanent fixture in the GT3 segment, the SLS AMG GT3 has been extremely successful since its racetrack debut in autumn 2010. 67 examples have been sold to date. With various titles in international championships such as the ADAC GT Masters, the FIA GT3 European Championship and the FIA GT1 World Championship, as well as over 100 victories in race series all over the world, the racing version of the gullwing-door model has impressively demonstrated its extraordinary performance. In particular, long-distance successes in this year's Bathurst 12-hour race and the 24-hour races in Dubai, at the Nürburgring and in Spa-Francorchamps have spectacularly confirmed its competitiveness. The SLS AMG GT3 2013 thus claimed the “grand slam” of classic GT3 long-distance races, with four victories in succession.
Homologated according to the FIA GT3 race rules, this customer sports racing car is active in more than 22 race series and on five continents of the world.
Sofia Stauber, Press and Public Relations Mercedes-AMG
tel.: +49 (0)7144 302-581, email@example.com
Wolfgang Zanker, Global Product Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars
tel.: +49 (0)711 17-75847, firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information from Mercedes-Benz is available online: www.media.daimler.com and www.mercedes-benz.com
Contact for customer enquiries:Roland Geistlinger, Mercedes-AMG Sales
tel.: +49 (0)7144 302-302, email@example.com
PETRONAS Syntium team stays on course towin title in the Super Taikyu Series
Despite rain and slippery conditions on the Okayama International Circuit the PETRONAS Syntium team secured victory and third place in the fifth round of the Japanese Super Taikyu Series.
Tatsuya Kataoka and Fariqe Hairuman started the race from position two in the SLS AMG GT3 with the number #28. In the race, which was interrupted by numerous safety car phases, the duo used a clever pit strategy to take the lead and hold onto it until the end of the three-hour race.
In the sister car with the number #1 Nobuteru Taniguchi and Melvin Moh put up a convincing performance, and rounded off the team performance by coming third. This means that the PETRONAS Syntium team extended its double lead in the Super Taikyu Series two races before the end of the season.
The next round will be held on September 21-22 on the Suzuka track.
Bad luck in the 12-hour race at Sepang
After their performances in 2011 and 2012 the PETRONAS Syntium team are also well on the way towards winning the prestigious 12-hour race at Sepang, the Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race (MMER). In the qualifying round both the team’s SLS AMG GT3s confidently drove the best times. In the race, which started at midnight local time, the two crews (#1 with Bernd Schneider, Jono Lester, Dominic Ang and #28 with Thomas Jäger, Luca Ludwig, and Lucas Wolf) were able to get amongst the top 3 vehicles during the first four hours of the race. Then there was bad luck for both gullwings: a technical defect meant the end for the SLS AMG GT3 with the number #28. Practically at the same time the sister car had to make a pit stop for a long repair phase. Back on the track the crew put up a courageous struggle to catch up, which took the trio back into the top ten. However, two hours before the checkered flag consequential damage finally put the second SLS AMG GT3 out of the race.
Second place for Sports & You
The fourth race of the Portuguese GT Championship was held in Portimão (POR) from August 31-September 1. The AMG Customer Sports team Sports & You secured second place on the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve.
José Pedro Fontes, Miguel Barbosa and Alvaro Fontes Platz took their places in the cockpit of the SLS AMG GT3 with the number #7. The three motor sports pros already put up an excellent performance in the qualifying round and consequently deservedly started the two-hour race from the pole position. After 63 laps they finally crossed the finishing line in second place.
The next race of the Portuguese GT Championship will be held on September 14-15 in Braga / Portugal.
Convincing Victory at the VLN
Last weekend two SLS AMG GT3s chased points for the AMG Customer Sports team Polarweiss Racing in two races on the Lausitzring / Germany.
The gullwing with the number #10 was piloted by Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Götz. The two overall leaders of the driver ratings started the first race from position fifteen. After a super race to catch up, in the end they finished in seventh place with their SLS AMG GT3. The two motor sports pros started the second race of the weekend from thirteenth position. In the extremely exciting race, which amongst other things was affected by several safety car phases, they fought their way to the group of leaders and after 41 laps narrowly missed a place on the podium by finishing fourth. With both of them having 120 points, Götz and Buhk are now currently fourth in the ADAC GT Masters driver ratings for 2013.
Sergei Afanasiev and Andreas Simonsen took their places in the team’s sister car. Starting the first race from thirteenth position, they ended up finishing in 16th place. In the second race on the 4.534 km long track they started from 20th position. Like their team colleagues, Afanasiev / Simonsen put up an impressive race from behind, and caught up eight places to finish twelfth.
The seventh round of the ADAC GT Masters will be held in just less than two weeks. On September 13-15 the teams will be chasing points on the Slovakia Ring.
Convincing Victory at the VLN
Jan Seyffarth and Nico Bastian from the AMG Customer Sports team ROWE RACING and Lance David Arnold from the AMG Driver Pool won convincingly at the Opel 6-hour ADAC Ruhr Cup Race on the Nürburgring Northern Loop.
Starting from second position in the six-hour endurance race, right from the very beginning the starting driver Jan Seyffarth was able to secure his position at the front of the field and defend his second place. After several kilometers at the head of the field, he finally took the lead and handed over the gullwing to Lance David Arnold after about two hours. Despite the onset of rain Arnold was able to keep in first place and even extend his lead on the rest of the field. Finally, after six hours, the last driver Nico Bastian was able to secure the convincing victory.
Michael Zehe, Marko Hartung and double starter Nico Bastian took their places in the cockpit of the team’s sister car. They also showed a strong performance by finishing eighth, and secured ROWE RACING the second top placing of the weekend.
With Stuart Leonard and Paul Wilson at the wheel for Fortec Motorsport and Peter Schmidt, Henri Moser, Pierre Kaffer and David Horn for Car Collection, an additional two SLS AMG GT3s joined the race on the Nürburgring Northern Loop at the VLN this weekend. Fortec Motorsport had to abandon the race prematurely because of an accident. The Car Collection team was also unable to complete the race because they had to retire due to a technical defect.
The VLN will continue in just less than three weeks on September 14, with the 36th RCM DMV Grenzland race.
Twice in the Top Ten at the FIA CEZ
Piotr Krawczyk from the AMG Customer Sports team Premium Motorsport Poland finished fifth and ninth. He displayed a good performance in both races of the FIA CEZ on the Slovakia Ring, and narrowly missed better results in the close race.
Rudolf Machanek piloted the second gullwing in the field. In the first race he came 19th. In the second race he came 12th.
Sixth Round of the DMV TCC
From August 23-24 the sixth round of the current DMV TCC season was held on the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
In the two races the AMG Customer Sports team ANTeam Motorsport sent Bruno and Edwin Stucky onto the 4.326 km long track. Bruno Stucky was then also the driver who managed to achieve the best results of the weekend in both races: starting from qualifying position seven, he finished in sixth place after 19 laps in his gullwing. He repeated this good result in the second race by also crossing the finishing line in sixth place. His brother Edwin Stucky came thirteenth in the first race. In the second race he was able to catch up three places and finish in the top ten (tenth place) in his SLS AMG GT3.
In the first race Stefan Eilentropp took the wheel for Land Motorsport in the 30-minute race. Starting from 14th place, he was able to catch up a total of three places, and was in eleventh place when he saw the checkered flag. Christian Land started the second race for the AMG Customer Sports team from position two. After two rounds he had to withdraw from the race prematurely.
The next race of the DMV TCC will be held on September 6-7 in Dijon / France.
Another victory at the FIA GT
With four seconds lead Andreas Simonsen (SWE) and Sergei Afanasiev (RUS) secured first place (overall and class PRO-AM) in the main race of the fourth round of the current FIA GT season in Slovakia.
Starting the race from place six, the starting driver Simonsen was already able to fight his way to the front of the field of 19 vehicles piloted by competitive drivers shortly after the race began, and also build up a comfortable lead. At the half-way stage of the race he handed over the SLS AMG GT3 with the #2 to his young Russian colleague. Afanasiev subsequently masterfully defended the lead and won the race exactly 4.148 seconds ahead of the nearest rival. This success is already the second consecutive win in the FIA GT for the AMG Customer Sports team HTP Gravity Charouz. The team came sixth in the first race of the weekend.
Jan Stovicek and Petr Charouz (both CZE) drove the team’s sister car. They came third in their class, the GTR. They secured 14th place in the overall ratings. In the first race they came 18th. Maximilian Buhk (GER) and Alon Day (ISR), the winners of the last race, had to retire during the first lap after an accident. In the first race Buhk / Day came tenth.
Another two gullwings started for the AMG Customer Sports team SMS Seyffarth Motorsport at the Slovakia Ring. In the cockpit of the vehicle with the #28 the former Formula One pilot Karun Chandhok (IND) and Jan Seyffarth (GER) took the wheel. After 27 laps they came sixth in the PRO class. They came tenth in the overall classification. This weekend the former DTM racing driver Hubert Haupt and Yenci Michael (both GER) made their debut in the FIA GT. They crossed the finishing line in thirteenth place. They came second in their GTR class. In the first race both of the team’s gullwings had to retire from the race before they reached the finish.
The next race of the FIA GT series will be held on September 28-29, 2013 on the Circuito de Navarra in Spain.
Round five of the Super GT in Japan
Altogether five SLS AMG GT3s started the race in the fifth round of the current Super GT season on the Suzuka Circuit.
Hironi Takeuchi, Takeshi Tsuchiya and Naoya Gamou from the AMG Customer Sports team OKINAWA-IMP RACING with Shift only narrowly failed to secure victory in Japan. They came second in their gullwing, a lap behind the leaders. Just one place behind, LEON RACING came third: the car starting with the #62 was piloted by Haruki and Tsubasa Kurosawa, together with Akihiko Nakaya. GAINER started two SLS AMG GT3s on the 5.807 km long circuit. Katsuyuki Hiranaka and Bjorn Wirdheim secured the best result for the team, coming sixth after 159 laps. The sister car with Tetsuya Tanaka, Masayuki Ueda and Masataka Kawaguchi in the cockpit came thirteenth. Starting from sixth place in the race, Hisashi Wada and Masaki Jyonai crossed the finishing line in twelfth place for the AMG Customer Sports team GREENTEC.
The Super GT will continue from September 7-8, 2013 on the Fuji Speedway in Japan.
Victory in the Super Taikyu
Dominic Ang, Nobuteru Taniguchi and Melvin Moh were the winners of the fourth round of the Super Taikyu 2013. From August 10-11 the midway race of the series was held on the FUJI Speed Way in Japan.
The trio in the gullwing with the #1 started from qualifying place three in the seven-hour endurance race. After 40 minutes and a safety car phase they managed to secure second place. A this point the sister car of the team (#28) with Tatsuya Kataoka, Jono Lester and Fariqe Hairuman at the wheel were in third place. The lead subsequently repeatedly changed hands until the SLS AMG GT3 with the #28 and Hairuman in the cockpit lost twenty seconds on the leaders when the car spun. In the subsequent pit stop the team was then also given a stop-and-go penalty, which in turn also costs them valuable seconds. Following an accident and a 20-minute repair phase they were no longer able to play a decisive role in the outcome of the race.
Three hours before the end of the race it was Nobuteru Taniguchi who was able to increase the lead of the SLS AMG GT3 with the #1 by up to one minute. In his stint at the wheel Dominic Ang briefly lost the lead but was able to quickly regain it, and handed over the car to the final driver Melvin Moh with more than a minute lead. Following an exciting final phase when his competitors were able to close the gap from Moh, at the end of the race they euphorically celebrated coming first.
From August 31 to September 1 the Super Taikyu will continue on the OKAYAMA International Circuit.
Two places on the podium for Krawczyk at FIA CEZ
Last weekend in the Czech Republic Piotr Krawczyk from the AMG Customer Sports team Premium Motorsport Poland fought for points in two races. In the first race on the 4.148 km long Autodrom Most he fought his way to finish third overall. He put up a strong performance in the second race and once again managed to come third.
Rudolf Machanek started the field in the second SLS AMG GT3. In the first race he came 14th, a lap behind the leader. In the second race he came tenth and was once again a lap behind the leader.
In the two-hour long distance race, which was also held in the Autodrome Most this weekend, Rudolf Machanek and Stefan Rosina entered the race in a gullwing. However, they had to retire before the end of the race.
Polarweiss Racing continues winning streak at ADAC GT Masters
Following their impressive victory in round four of the ADAC GT Masters at the Nürburgring, Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Götz from the AMG Customer Sports team Polarweiss Racing also confirmed their excellent form last weekend at Spielberg in Austria by coming second in the second race of the weekend.
Having started the race from qualifying place four, the starting driver Maximilian Buhk had already caught up to second place after the first lap. Subsequently the gullwing with the #10 repeatedly fought a thrilling duel for the lead, but after 39 laps narrowly missed victory, and crossed the finishing line in second place.
In the first race on the 4.318 km long race track the SLS AMG GT 3 piloted by the two fast drivers started from fourth place. Following several accidents amongst the field of cars and a safety car phase in the second lap, at the end of the race the two Germans managed to secure fifth place. Thanks to their good performance this weekend in Austria, both Buhk and Götz have each secured 102 points and have taken the lead in the drivers’ ratings of the ADAC GT Masters 2013.
The sister car of the team was piloted by Sergei Afanasiev and Andreas Simonsen. Starting from eleventh place in the first race, the two motor sports pros were able to overtake one rival and finish the race tenth. Afanasiev and Simonsen also started the second race from eleventh place. They came thirteenth in this race.
In just less than three weeks the ADAC GT Masters continues when the sixth round will be held from August 30 to September 1 on the Lausitzring.
Round five of the British GT
Last weekend there were dry conditions when the fifth round of the British GT was staged on the Brands Hatch Circuit in England. An SLS AMG GT3 started the two hour race for the AMG Customer Sports team FORTEC Motorsport.
Benji Hetherington and Jason Minshaw took their places in the gullwing with the #14. Starting from 15th place, they were able to catch up a total of ten places and finish fifth in the race.
The British GT continues from September 6-8 on the Circuit Park Zandvoort in the Netherlands.
After Spa Buhk and Götz also win the ADAC GT Masters at the Nürburgring
When things go smoothly, the winning streak continues: just a week after their triumph at the 24-hour race of Spa-Francorchamps – side by side with Bernd Schneider –Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Götz once again stood on the top steps of the winners’ podium. In the first race of the ADAC GT Masters weekend the rapid duo let nothing stop them: after 41 exciting laps on the Nürburgring Grand Prix course they won the race with their SLS AMG GT3 for the AMG Customer Sports team Polarweiss Racing. “I hope that we can continue our winning streak”, enthused Buhk following his first ADAC GT Masters victory. The gullwing’s success was rounded off by the third place of the sister car with the Russian-Swedish duo Sergei Afanasiev and Andreas Simonsen at the wheel.
The two places on the winners’ podium followed an exciting race. Starting from fifth place, the FIA GT3 European Champion Maximilian Buhk had no problem catching up two places. Then during the middle of the race unconcentrated driving by the two leading cars opened the way to the front of the 25 vehicle field. ADAC GT Masters defending champion Maximilian Götz subsequently skillfully held onto the lead till the finishing line and hence seal the first joint ADAC GT Masters victory for Buhk and Götz. Sergei Afanasiev and Andreas Simonsen also displayed clever tactics to take third place in their best race of the season.
The second race of the weekend showed that in motor racing there is a very fine line between joy and dismay: in the very first lap the SLS AMG GT3 of the previous day’s winners was involved in an accident and had to retire from the race. Things went better for the sister car of the Polarweiss Racing team: Sergei Afanasiev and Andreas Simonsen started in 17th place and fought their way forward to finish tenth.
Next weekend the “Super Sportscar League” already continues: on the Red Bull Ring the ADAC GT Masters (August 9-11, 2013) begins the second half of the season.
Commanding victory in the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps
Bernd Schneider, Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Götz are the winners of the legendary 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps in 2013. The three experienced motorsport pros started for the AMG Customer Sports team HTP Motorsport in the Belgian Ardennes. The SLS AMG GT3 with the #84 started the long-distance race from position three. Right from the outset the starting driver Maximilian Götz already put the great performance of the team to the test and place the gullwing in the top five. Subsequently Schneider / Buhk / Götz fought exciting duels for the head of the field, until they finally took the lead after a safety car phase and convincingly defended their lead right through to the end of the race. With a time of 2:21:861 minutes, Bernd Schneider also drove the fastest lap of the race. This impressive triumph at the same time means the 100th victory for the SLS AMG GT3 since the beginning of the customer sports program in 2010.
With places eight and 24 the second AMG Customer Sports team Black Falcon also displayed a strong performance in the field of 65 vehicles. The gullwing with the #18 was piloted by Klaas Hummel, Steve Jans, Thomas Jäger and Adam Christodoulou. After 551 laps they were in eighth place when they saw the checkered flag. In their class, the Pro-Am Cup, they came in fourth place. The team’s sister car with Andrii Lebed, Francesco Castellacci, Sergei Afanasiev and Andreas Simonsen at the wheel came 24th overall and eleventh in their class.
Another SLS AMG GT3 started for FORTEC Motorsport in Belgium. Oliver Webb, Alex Brundle and Karl Wendlinger steered the gullwing with #62 across the finishing line in 31st place after 449 laps. Several incidents which occurred during the race prevented a better result.
Jan Seyffarth, Klaus Graf and Lance David Arnold started the Pro Cup for the German AMG Customer Sports team ROWE RACING in the 24-hour race. However, because of an accident they had to end the race prematurely when they were in a promising third place.
The English team Preci-Spark with the brothers David and Godfrey Jones and the sons Gareth and Philip Jones at the wheel fought for victory in der Gentleman’s Trophy. They had to end the race after 15 hours following an accident.
Round four of the Super GT in Japan
Last weekend the fourth round of the current Super GT season was staged at the Sportsland SUGO race track.
The car from OKINAWA-IMP RACING with the #52 with Shift and Hironi Takeuchi and Takeshi Tsuchiya at the wheel finished the race in 4th place. The SLS AMG GT3 of the AMG Customer Sports team LEON RACING was piloted by Haruki and Tsubasa Kurosawa. After 76 laps it came 7th. GAINER started two SLS AMG GT3s on the 3.737 km long track. Tetsuya Tanaka and Masayuki Ueda took their places in the gullwing with the #10. In the end they came tenth. The team’s sister car was piloted by Katsuyuki Hiranaka and Bjorn Wirdheim. They started the race from position nine and in the end crossed the finishing line in thirteenth place. Hisashi Wada and Masaki Jyonai also started the race driving for GREENTEC. They came 19th, three laps behind the winner.
The next round of the Super GT will be held on August 17 and 18 on the Suzuki Circuit in Japan.
Strong array of SLS AMG GT3s at the DMV TCC
A total of five SLS AMG GT3s started out at the Hockenheimring on August 26 and 27 in a race which was the midway point in the series. The AMG Customer Sports team Schütz Motorsport once again fielded Josef Klüber in the two races. Starting the first race in sixth position, he narrowly missed standing on the podium because he only came fourth. After the qualifying round the German started the second race from position seven and crossed the finishing line in 6th place.
Bruno and Edwin Stucky went hunting for points on behalf of the ANTeam Motorsport in Baden-Württemberg. Bruno Stucky started from position seven in the first race on the 4.574 km long track. After 18 rounds he secured 5th place. He finished the second race in 17th place. His brother Edwin came 17th in the first race and 14th in the second.
Christian Land celebrated the greatest victory on behalf of the AMG Customer Sports team Land Motorsport in the fifth race of the DMV TCC season. In the qualifying round for the second race of the weekend things already really went according to plan for the speedy German, so that he was able to start the race from position 3. Subsequently he put up a very strong performance in the half-hour race, and drove his gullwing across the finishing line in second place both overall and in his own class (class eight). In the first race Land Motorsport sent Stefan Eilentrop into the fray at the Hockenheimring. He finished the race 14th overall, and in his own class he came fourth.
Maximilian Völker started the race for Seyffarth Motorsport in the fifth gullwing. The guest start of the team from Querfurt ended with the young German in 15th place in the first race. He already had to stop the second race after just four laps.
The next round of the international DMV TCC is scheduled for August 23 and 24 on the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
Victory on debut in the Superstars World GT Sprint Series
In the Superstars World GT Sprint Series last weekend the AMG Customer Sports team Sports & You celebrated taking first place in the first start in the second race.
On July 21 the fifth race of the series was staged in Portimão / Portugal. On the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve the AMG Customer Sports team Sports & You started out with fast drivers in the cockpit of the SLS AMG GT3s. Antonio Coimbra and Luís Silva piloted the gullwing with # 47. In the team’s sister car (#49) Jose Fontes and Miguel Barbosa manned the cockpit. Starting from position six in the first race of the weekend, Coimbra and Silva managed to advance two positions and cross the finishing line in fourth place. Fontes / Barbosa started from the promising qualifying position one. They had to be prematurely end the race after a collision. In the second race things went considerably better for the two experienced motor sports pros. Starting from position two, they finished 1st after 31 laps. Their team colleagues finished in 3rd place to round off the successful race for the Portuguese team.
The next round of the Superstars World GT Sprint Series will be held on August 31-September 1 in Donington / England.
Twin victory in the Super Taikyu Series
The AMG Customer Sports team PETRONAS Syntium was delighted with the outcome of the last race in the Super Taikyu Series. They celebrated a very successful race by finishing 1st and 2nd.
For the third round of the series the Japanese team started with two SLS AMG GT3 on the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan. Nobuteru Taniguchi, Dominic Ang and Melvin Moh took the wheel in the gullwing with the #1. Tatsuya Kataoka, Fariqe Hairuman and Jono Lester piloted the second vehicle with #28.
In dry conditions the two gullwings started from the second row in the five-hour race. Shortly after the start of the race Kataoka / Hairuman / Lester were able to take the lead in the strong field of eight vehicles. Shortly before the finish they masterfully defended their leading position. In the last round they had technical problems and finished 2nd. The team’s sister car (#1) benefited from their colleagues’ difficulties and crossed the finishing line in 1st place after 149 laps.
The Taikyu Series continues with the seven-hour race, which is scheduled for August 10-11 on the Fuji Speedway.
Fourth race of the VLN
On July 20 the fourth race of the long-distance championship was staged at the Nürburgring (VLN) on the North Loop. In the course of the 53rd ADAC Reinoldus long-distance race an SLS AMG GT3 started for CC Car Collection – before the race ROWE RACING withdrew its nomination. The gullwing with the #33 piloted by Peter Schmidt, Henri Moser and Christopher Zöchling started the four-hour endurance race from position 8. The drivers from Hesse suffered tire damage when they were in 4th place and were given a drive-through penalty. In the end they finished 12th.
On August 24 the VLN continues with the Opel 6-hour ADAC Ruhr Cup Race.
Triumph in Australia
Last weekend Jack Le Brocq (AUS) from Erebus Motorsport once again showed his best form and secured first place in both races.
Right from the outset the Australian left his competitors without a chance and started the race from position one in the Sydney Motorsport Park. He didn’t just win the subsequent races following the fastest time in qualifying, but in both race one and two he managed to set up new lap records on the 4.5 kilometer course. In the series Le Brocq is in second place overall in the driver’s standings.
The racing season continues with the Australian GT Championship on August 2-4 on the Queensland Raceway.
Pirelli World Challenge hosted in Canada
Bad luck in the tenth race of the Pirelli World Challenge on July 14. The AMG Customer Sports team Black Swan Racing sent an SLS AMG GT3 out onto the demanding track through the streets of Toronto. Tim Pappas (USA) sat in the cockpit of the gullwing with the #54. Following a collision in the qualifying round the American was unable to start in the subsequent race.
On August 4 races eleven and twelve will be held on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Ohio / USA.
Class Victory at the International GT Open in England
The AMG Customer Sports team Seyffarth Motorsport continued its success in the International GT Open and won the second race of the weekend in the GTS class.
On the legendary circuit in Silverstone / England Miguel Toril (ESP) and Renger van der Zande (NL) started for the team in the gullwing with #61. In the first race the two motor sports pros had to struggle with several problems, which meant they had to withdraw at the half-way stage. But then in the second race they produced a very good performance and secured a victory in their class. They achieved an excellent fourth place in the overall classification.
The team’s sister car experienced a mixed racing weekend in England. The gullwing piloted by Maximilian Völker and Kenneth Heyer (both GER), withdrew early from the first race. In the second race they finished 22nd overall (17th in their class).
Another SLS AMG GT3 went competing for points for the AMG Customer Sports team Lechner Racing Team in Silverstone. With Mario Plachutta and Walter Lechner (both AUT) at the wheel the #70 started the first race from position 21. The Austrians could be very satisfied with their performance, since they caught up eight places in all and finished 13th overall (eighth place in the GTS class). In the second race they came 16th in the overall classification and 13th in their class.
The next race of the International GT Open will be held on September 7-8 in Spa-Franchorchamps.
Four Times Top-Ten at the Pirelli World Challenge
With great performances Tim Pappas (USA) and Oliver Bryant (GB) each achieved top results in their SLS AMG GT3 in rounds eight and nine of the Pirelli World Challenge.
Tim Pappas, who started for AMG Customer Sports team Black Swan Racing in Lime Rock Park / Connecticut, repeated his strong performances from the previous races and secured a strong seventh overall place in the first competition of the day. The American started the second race on the track from position seven. After 49 laps he was flagged over the line in sixth place.
With Oliver Bryant at the wheel the AMG Customer Sports team Fusion World Wide was also able to celebrate top ten places in both competitions on American Independence Day. The SLS AMG GT3 with the #33 started from position nine in the first race. He only managed to advance one place on the 2.41 km long track after 49 laps and crossed the finishing line in eighth place. He performed better in the second race and managed to finish fifth. He had also started this race from position nine.
The next PWC races are scheduled for July 12, on the track Streets of Toronto, in Canada.
Victory at the FIA GT in Zandvoort
Last weekend the AMG Customer Sports team HTP Motorsport secured a victory at the FIA GT in Zandvoort / Netherlands with Maximilian Buhk (GER) and Alon Day (ISR) at the wheel. Starting from position two in the third event of the current season, right from the start the two motor sports pros displayed an impressive performance and won their first victory in the series. The first place in the overall classification at the same time also signals a victory for Buhk and Day in the professional class.
Andreas Simonsen (SWE) and Sergei Afanasiev (RUS) took their places in the cockpit of the sister car. The Pro-Am class winners of the last race of the series struggled with tyre damage during the race and managed to secure 12th overall place. With a time of 01:40.381, they drove the fastest round and were able to finish in sixth place in their class. With Jan Stovicek and Petr Charouz (both CZE) at the wheel, the gullwing with #3 crossed the finishing line in thirteenth place.
Last weekend another SLS AMG GT3 started for the AMG Customer Sports team SMS Seyffarth Motorsport on the 4.320 km-long track. The former Formula 1 pilot, Karun Chandhok (IND), and Jan Seyffarth (GER) took their places in the cockpit of the vehicle with the #4. Starting the race from position eight, they were able to advance four places in all during the 35 laps and at the end narrowly missed a place in the podium – fourth place. They also came fourth in their professional class.
The FIA GT Series continues on the Slovakia Ring from August 17-18, 2013.
Good Racing Weekend for Premium Motorsport Poland on the Salzburgring
Piotr Krawczyk and the AMG Customer Sports team from Premium Motorsport Poland also drove a really convincing race during their guest appearance at the Austrian Salzburgring. The fast Pole started both of the two half-hour sprint races of the FIA CEZ series from the first starting position. However, in the Saturday race tyre damage shortly before the end of the race robbed him of a seemingly certain victory in the field of 13 started cars. Nevertheless, he still managed to cross the finishing line in fifth place after the unplanned pit stop. In contrast in the Sunday race Krawczyk was able to pilot his Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 to an uncontested victory from start to finish.
At the Salzburgring, Premium Motorsport Poland sent another newcomer, Mateusz Lisowski, onto the track in the SLS AMG GT3. The young Pole was given the chance to try out the one-hour endurance race with only three vehicles participating, and he passed the test with flying colours. After 38 rounds he crossed the finishing line as the winner of the race.
Second Class Place in the STT
In the fourth round of the Special Touring Car Trophy competitors in the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben fought for the prize of the City of Magdeburg. Josef Klüber from AMG Customer Sports team Schütz Motorsport joined the race in the only SLS AMG GT3 on the 27-car starting grid. On the demanding circuit in the Magdeburger Börde, Klüber experienced a mixed weekend: after having to retire after only eleven rounds in the Saturday race without any points, he was able to fight his way to the front on Sunday. At the end of the half-hour distance he was conceivable close to a place on the podium, finishing in fourth place. This put him in second place in the class ranking.
The next round of the STT is scheduled for July 19-21 at the Race Festival of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL).
Round 3 of the Blancpain Endurance Series
Last weekend was the midway point in the Blancpain Endurance Series, which is held all around the world. At the Circuit Paul Ricard in France, a total of five SLS AMG GT3s were entered for four AMG Customer Sports teams.
At exactly 3:00 PM on Sunday, the German team Black Falcon sent two gullwings out onto the legendary track near Le Castellet. After a great qualifying round, the SLS AMG GT3 with the #18 and Adam Christodoulou (UK), Klaas Hummel (NL) and Steve Jans (LUX) in the cockpit started out in the first row (position two) of the Blancpain Endurance Series for the first time. The team’s sister car with Andrii Lebed (UKR), Oliver Morley and Duncan Tappy (both GB) started the three-hour endurance race from position 33. The gullwing with #19 managed to advance ten places in all and crossed the finish line 23rd in the overall classification. In their class (the PAM) they enjoyed a good seventh-place finish. The team’s second car (#18) withdrew from the race after 66 laps.
The AMG Customer Sports team HTP Motorsport provided another strong result this weekend. Starting the race from position three, Maximilian Buhk, Luca Ludwig (both GER) and Alon Day (ISR) delivered a strong performance and finished fifth overall.
David, Godfrey and Morgan Jones (all GB) were the pilots for the Preci-Spark team. The race in Le Castellet was already the third one of the current season for the English team. Starting the race out from qualifying position 53, they fought their way 17 places forward in all, ultimately finishing 36th overall.
Competing for points in France on behalf of Fortec Motorsport were Stephen Jelley (GB) and Andrew Danyliw (CAN). The two motor sports pros delivered a confident performance, crossing the finish line in 35th place after 79 laps. They began the race in 34th position.
The next race of the Blancpain Endurance Series will be held on July 24-28: the highpoint of the season, the 24 Hours of Spa.
Podium for Sports & You
In the third race of the Portuguese GT Championship, the team Sports & You reached the third step of the podium.
Together with the International Supercar Series, the third round of the current season was held on June 29-30 in Boavista, Portugal. The AMG Customer Sports team entered the competition with four motor sports pros – José Pedro Fontes, Miguel Barbosa, António Coimbra and Luís Silva – piloting two gullwings.
Fontes and Barbosa were the ones who then also delivered a very strong performance, confirmed their third-place qualifying position, and celebrated a third-place finish in the end. The team’s sister car #11 started the race in fifth position with Coimbra and Silva behind the wheel. In the field of fourteen cars, they demonstrated masterful execution and were sixth to see the checkered flag.
The next round of the Portuguese GT Championship– once again together with the International Supercar Series – will be held on August 31 and September 1 in Portimao, Portugal.
3-hour race of the VdeV Endurance Series in Dijon
On Sunday, the 3-hour race of the VdeV Endurance Series in Dijon, France, ended with two midfield finishes for the AMG Customer Sports team G-Private Racing.
The competition in the Endurance GT/Tourism category, the Swiss drivers Philipp and Manuel Zumstein piloted their Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 to a thoroughly respectable 14th-place finish. In the team’s sister car, the trio of Paul Pfefferkorn (AUT), Mathias Schmittler (SUI) and Jörg Peham (AUT) finished 16th. The two G-Private Racing crews had already put the performance of the only two gullwings in the field to the test during the qualifying round: under difficult road conditions during the race, however, they were unable to defend their excellent seventh and ninth starting positions.
The next round of the VdeV Championship, the 12-hour race on the track at Aragon, Spain, is scheduled for August 30 and September 1.
Two podium places at the Polish GT
In the ninth and tenth races of the current season, the AMG Customer Sports team Premium Motorsport Poland finished third both times at its home Grand Prix in Poznan, Poland.
Starting out from qualifying position four in the first race, Piotr Krawczyk (POL) delivered a strong performance in his SLS AMG GT3 and crossed the finish line third. In the weekend’s second race, Krawczyk started out from pole position. On a dry track, he was pleased to finish third once again.
Fatality overshadows Round 4 of the VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring (VLN)
Last weekend the results of the current season’s fourth race were suddenly viewed from a very different perspective. The entire VLN series is mourning its motor sports comrade Wolf Silvester of Bonk Motorsport. Silvester died – apparently due to natural causes – during the race at the wheel of his car.
ROWE RACING entered two gullwings in the 44th showing of the Adenauer ADAC Simfy Trophy. Jan Seyffarth and Nico Bastian (both GER) were at the starting line in car #7 for the Rhineland-Palatinate-based team. Following a spectacular qualification training round in which Bastian delivered an excellent performance with a time of 08:08 minutes, their SLS AMG GT3 started the race from the fourth row. The team’s sister car, driven by Roland Rehfeld, Marko Hartung and Michael Zehe (all GER), began the race in eleventh position.
The two gullwings then started the four-hour endurance race precisely at 12:00 noon. Due to an early pit stop, the SMS AMG GT3 with Nico Bastian at the wheel fell back to 20th place. After an impressive catch-up display, the Frankfurt-based driver was able to hand the wheel over to his team colleague Jan Seyffarth in second position at the two-hour mark.
The second SLS AMG GT3 of ROWE RACING bearing #6 also delivered an excellent performance and advanced to sixth position.
At 2:30 pm, after 2.5 hours of competition, the race was halted by the red flag.
The team’s two Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 were subsequently accorded fifth- (#7) and sixth-place (#6) finishes.
The third gullwing in the field of over 170 cars was entered by CC Car Collection. With Peter Schmidt, Christopher Zöchling (both GER) and Henri Moser (CH) assigned to the cockpit, the car was forced to retire from race after two laps and therefore was not rated.
Just under four weeks from now, on July 20, the VLN will continue on the North Loop of the Nürburgring with the 53rd ADAC Reinoldus Endurance Race.
Strong Mercedes-Benz AMG contingent in Round 3 of the Super GT
The third race of the current Super GT season was held last weekend on the 5.543-km-long circuit in Sepang, Malaysia. A total of four AMG Customer Sports teams were there at the starting line: GaineR, Okinawa-Imp Racing with SHIFT, Leon RACING and GREENTEC.
With two SLS AMG GT3s, GAINER entered the most gullwings in the 51-lap race. The cockpit with #11 was manned by the Japanese-Swedish duo Katsuyuki Hiranaka (JAP) and Björn Wirdheim (SWE). And it was these two motor sports pros who, after an exciting race, ultimately managed to secure a third-place finish overall. The team’s sister car with Tetsuya Tanaka and Masayuki Ueda (both JAP) at the wheel really started competing for the points places from its qualifying position of 10th. In the end it crossed the finish line in seventh position.
With Leon RACING’s eighth-place finish and their two Japanese drivers Haruki and Tsubasa Kurosawa in the cockpit, another SLS AMG GT3 also managed to join the ranks of the top ten. Competing for OKINAWA-IMP Racing with SHIFT, the fourth gullwing in the field rounded out the successful weekend in Malaysia with a twelfth-place finish.
GREENTEC’s SLS AMG GT3 was forced to abandon the race early after 28 laps.
The next round of the Super GT will be held on July 27-28 at the “Sportsland SUGO” in Japan.
Polish GT stops in Hungary
The sixth and seventh race of the Polish GT Championship took place on Hungary’s Pannoniaring from June 15 - 16. Joining the other cars on the starting line was Piotr Krawczyk and his SLS AMG GT3 from AMG Customer Sports team Premium Motorsport Poland.
However, the Polish team was not blessed with good fortune over the race weekend. In both races they were seriously involved in accidents. In the first race, the collision forced them to retire. In the second race they were able to continue but they forfeited all their chances of an overall victory.
The next race of the FIA CEZ takes place from June 23 - 24 in Poznan / Poland.
Debut at the STT
At the third race of this year’s Special Touring Car Trophy (STT) at the Hockenheimring, an SLS AMG GT3 took to the starting line for the first time. Michael Yenci drove the gullwing with competition number 44 for the AMG Customer Sport Team Seyffarth Motorsport. However, he had to end the race early after 20 laps.
The next STT race takes place in Oschersleben from July 5 - 7.
Victory at the international GT Open in Spain
Last weekend the AMG Customer Sports team Seyffarth Motorsport took to the starting grid on the “Circuito de Jerez” as part of the international GT Open.
In the cockpit of the only SLS AMG GT3 on the field were local hero Miguel Toril and Renger van der Zande from The Netherlands. However, the team had to battle several problems during the first race and had to end the race early.
However, in the second race they proved themselves completely: on the dry track and with temperatures of 32 degrees, the two racing drivers in the gullwing with number 61 gave an impressive performance. Having started the race in eighth place, they didn’t give their opponents any opportunities and after 27 laps they were the first to see the checkered flag, confidently taking first place.
The next races for the international GT Open take place from July 13 - 14 at the tradition-steeped Silverstone race track in Great Britain.
Two top tens for FORTEC Motorsport
After the last race on the legendary Silverstone race track, the AMG Customer Sport Team FORTEC Motorsport headed to the runway of a decommissioned airfield last weekend. One SLS AMG GT3 battled it out for points in the British GT on the 3.132 km long Snetterton Motor Racing Circuit.
The gullwing with the number 14 was driven by Jason Minshaw and Benji Hetherington (both GB). Starting from ninth place in the first race, both Englishmen displayed a very good performance and their SLS AMG GT3 crossed the finish line in sixth position. In the second race of the weekend, the two motorsport professionals once again gave a convincing performance. After the qualifying they were initially in thirteenth place. In the subsequent race they were able to move up seven places and crossed the finishing line in sixth place after 31 laps.
The next stage of the British GT Championship will be held from August 10 - 11 on the Brands Hatch Circuit.
Fourth stage of the DMV TCC
The fourth event of the season within the context of the international DMV TCC was held from June 15 - 16 on the Hockenheimring. A total of three SLS AMG GT3s went the half-hour distance in each of the two classification rounds.
Josef Klüber from AMG Customer Sports team Schütz Motorsport crossed the finishing line in eleventh place in the first race on the 4.574 km long course. In the second race he was delighted to take fourth place.
The Swiss driver Bruno Stucky proved himself for ANTeam Motorsport in the first race of the weekend. After 18 laps he secured a very good fourth place. During the second race of the weekend, when in fourth place, he lost a lot of time when lapping his rivals and had to be satisfied with fifth place in the end. His brother Edwin Stucky, who competed in the team’s sister car, achieved tenth place in the first classification round and ninth place in the second race.
Next up on the international DMV TCC schedule is the half-way race from July 26 - 27, which will be held on the Hockenheimring again.
Four Top 10 finishes in Round 3 of the ADAC GT Masters
Round 3 of this year’s ADAC GT Masters was held on the Sachsenring on June 8-9 under turbulent weather conditions. Summer’s radiant smile still warmed the first race, but by the second race the sunshine was no more. A heavy thunderstorm even delayed the start by a half an hour. Despite the inclement weather, the AMG Customer Sports team Polarweiss Racing made a good showing with four Top 10 finishes.
In the qualifying round for the first race of the weekend, ADAC GT Masters defending champion Maximilian Götz (GER) and namesake Maximilian Buhk (GER) performed well and piloted their SLS AMG GT3 to a #4 start position. In a solidly executed race, they barely missed the chance to ascend the podium, crossing the finish line in fifth place. In the second race, during which many competitors were forced to drop out, Götz and Buhk prevailed, driving the gullwing bearing the number ten confidently through the field. Ultimately they posted a tenth-place finish.
The team’s sister car was piloted by Sergey Afanasiev of Russia and the Andreas Simonsen of Sweden. Starting out from 18th position in the first race, the two motor sports pros began an impressive pursuit race, advancing ten places in all. They were eighth to cross the finish line. In the second race, they once again found their way along the 3.671-km-long course without any problem. On the rain-soaked but drying track, the gullwing with number eleven started out ninth and 40 laps later finished in sixth place.
The next stop of the ADAC GT Masters is the Nürburgring in the Eifel Mountains of Germany. The teams will battle it out for points on the legendary race track on August 2-4.
GT Open on the Nürburgring
Thick fog enveloping the Nürburgring wrecked havoc on the schedule of the GT Open. And the results of Seyffarth Motorsport, the only AMG Customer Sports team in the field of 23 cars, were just as patchy as the weather. After Miguel Toril (ESP) managed to take second place in the GTS championship standings of the GT Open, expectations for the Eifel race were also high.
In the first race of the weekend, the team led by Jan Seyffarth (GER) and Toril were able to post a ninth-place finish – and fifth place in the GTS class. The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 started the second race from a promising sixth position. However a collision amid the turmoil at the start forced starting driver Seyffarth to take another pit stop already after the first lap. Although the SLS AMG GT3 pilot was able to continue driving thereafter, his chances for a top-ranked finish had vanished. He ultimately finished 17th overall and tenth in the GTS class. The next stop on the GT Open is June 15-16 in Jerez, Spain.
Bad luck prevents victory in Silverstone
In the second race of this year’s Blancpain Endurance Series, a technical defect stood in the way of success in the three-hour endurance race. The Black Falcon team from Germany brought two gullwings to the competition in England: the SLS AMG GT3 piloted by Adam Christodoulou (UK), Klaas Hummel (NL) and Steve Jans (LUX) in particular attracted attention right from the start. Starting out the race from twelfth position, the fast trio consistently appeared to be headed for the podium in the PRO-AM Cup. After about one hour, the gullwing with the #18 was very well positioned – second in its class – and was also fighting its way into the lead group in the overall classification. Due to a technical defect and an extended repair time, however, it only managed to finish 47th overall and 19th in its class.
The team’s sister car with Andrii Lebed (UKR), Oliver Morley and Duncan Tappy (both GB) started from qualifying position 16 on the 5.901-km-long track. After 84 laps, it took ninth place in its class and was 23rd overall to cross the finish line.
Another SLS AMG GT3 was entered for the second AMG Customer Sports team Fortec Competition. This weekend marked that team’s first time competing in the Blancpain Endurance Series. Piloted by Benji Hatherington, Ollie Hancock and Stephen Jelley (all GB), the gullwing with the #62 delivered a solid performance and after three hours finished 16th overall. In the end it ranked twelfth in the PRO class.
The English team Preci-Spark came to Silverstone for its second outing of the season. Not just one or two but three motor sports pros with the surname Jones were behind the wheel: David, Godfrey and Morgan (all GB). Starting out the race from the qualifying position 48, the three Englishmen performed well and fought their way ahead, advancing eighteen places to 30th place.
The next race of the Blancpain Endurance Series will be held on June 29-30 in France on the Paul Ricard Circuit.
Pappas establishes himself at the forefront of the Pirelli World Challenge
Tim Pappas (USA) of the AMG Customer Sports team Black Swan Racing is hitting his stride in the Pirelli World Challenge: In the two races, which were held in connection with the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, the Boston-based race driver saw the checkered flag twice as the fifth-place finisher – an outstanding result for the team, which is racing the gullwing this season for the first time. Pappas already attracted attention in the training units and the qualifying round. In the Saturday training session, for example, he posted the best time of the 34 starters on the damp-but-drying 2.35-mile-long road circuit. The two fifth-place finishes in the races were also fifth-place rankings in the GT class. As a result, Pappas now ranks eighth in the driver’s standings of the GT competition. The second US American AMG Customer Sports team Green Hornet Racing with team owner and driver Peter LeSaffre (USA) was not entered in the race in Detroit. The next races of the PWC will be held on Independence Day, the 4th of July, on the track in Lime Rock Park, Connecticut.
Double victory at the opening round of the Super Taikyu
There’s no better way to start out a season than the AMG Customer Sports team PETRONAS Syntium did. On the brand new Inje Speedium circuit in Korea, team leader Dato’ David Wong’s team won not just one but both of the first two races of the Super Taikyu 2013. Logically enough, these two victories also mean that the defending champions have the lead in the overall standings.
The outstanding drivers of the weekend were Fariqe Hairuman (MAL) and Jono Lester (NZL) in the SLS AMG GT3 with #28. They earned pole positions for both races on the 3.880-kilometer-long course. In the two 45-minute sprint races – with no change of drivers and no pit stops – both Hairuman and Lester then delivered start-to-finish victories. In the first race, the stiffest competition came from within the team’s own ranks: Melvin Moh (MAL) in the sister car bearing the #1 took second place. In the second race, Dominic Ang (MAL) piloted the gullwing with the #1 to a third-place finish – the fourth out of four possible podium places for the PETRONAS Syntium team.
Team leader Dato’ David Wong: “I’m absolutely thrilled with today’s results, of course. With two victories and two pole positions, the PETRONAS Syntium team collected a maximum number of championship points. I’m especially happy for our young drivers who took full advantage of their opportunity here in Korea. This shows that we will also be very competitive as a team again this season. A great start toward achieving our objective: defending the championship title!”
On the podium in Estoril
The second stop of the Portuguese GT Championship turned into a cliffhanger for the AMG Customer Sports team Sports & You. In the SLS AMG GT3 emblazoned with the #7, José Pedro Fontes and Miguel Barbosa (both POR) dominated events for long stretches during the two-hour race in Estoril: Starting out from second position, Barbosa managed to take the lead immediately and defend it until mid-race. The Portuguese pilot also posted the fastest lap of the race during his turn at the wheel. After the change of drivers, Pedro Fontes held on to second position up until lap 44 when a technical defect halted his ascent to the podium, relegating the duo to seventh rank in the final standings. Their negative bottom line was the opposite for the team’s sister car piloted by António Coimbra and Luís Silva: starting out from fifth position, the duo managed to fight their way forward to third place already during the first half of the race, and then they were also able to defend that position all the way to the finish line after 67 laps.
The next round of the Portuguese GT Championship will be held on June 29-30 in Boavista (POR) – once again together with the International Supercar Series.
Next stop: Silverstone
The AMG Customer Sports team FORTEC Motorsport sent two SLS AMG GT3s to the grid of the British GT which was held on May 25-26 on the venerable Silverstone race track.
The cockpit of the gullwing with the number fourteen was occupied by Jason Minshaw and Benji Hetherington (both GB). Starting the race from tenth position, the two Englishmen in the SLS AMG GT3 demonstrated a solid performance and crossed the finish line thirteenth after 76 laps.
The team’s sister car was piloted by Steve Jans (LUX) and Klaas Hummel (NL). In the three-hour-long endurance race, the two motor sports pros managed to advance nine places from qualifying position 23 to finish fourteenth.
Round 4 of the British GT will be held on June 15-16 in Snetterton. The teams there will battle it out for points in two 60-minute races.
SLS AMG GT3 triumphs in Australia
At the wheel of the only gullwing in the field, Jack LeBrocq (AUS) was the victor twice in the Australian GT Championship last weekend.
The Australian, who entered the competition on the Philip Island Circuit for the AMG Customer Sports team Erebus Motorsport, demonstrated impressive performance “down under” right from the outset. He never gave his competitors a chance, even in the qualifying round, and started from the pole position in the subsequent races. It came as no great surprise, then, when the 20-year-old dominated the first race on Saturday, finishing more than a half minute ahead of the second-place finisher. He repeated that performance in the second race of the weekend, leaving his competitors to finish behind him once again.
The Australian GT Championship continues on July 12-14 at Sydney Motorsport Park in Eastern Creek.
24-Hours of Nürburgring: Victory for Black Falcon AMG Customer Team
First overall victory for Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3
• Black Falcon win endurance classic
• ROWE RACING finish third and fourth
• Bernd Schneider secures first place
Nürburg/Affalterbach – Mercedes-Benz and AMG today secured the first overall win in the 24-Hours of Nürburgring. Bearing starting number 9, Black Falcon with Bernd Schneider (Germany), Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands), Sean Edwards (GB) and Nicki Thiim (Denmark) went from sixth position on the grid to finish the legendary endurance race 2:39 minutes ahead of the second placed car after 88 laps. This historic overall victory in the legendary endurance classic in the Eifel represents the first success for Mercedes-Benz. Record-breaking five-time DTM champion Bernd Schneider had a largely trouble-free race in the SLS AMG GT3 Black Falcon– an excursion off track on Monday morning ended without drama. The victory was rounded off by positions three and four for ROWE RACING.
Thomas Jäger was a double entrant, taking the cockpit in two SLS AMG GT3s prepared by ROWE RACING. In Gullwing #22, the former DTM driver, along with Klaus Graf, Jan Seyffarth and Nico Bastian (all Germany), came home in third place overall. Jäger, at the wheel of car number 23, aided by team-mates Lance David Arnold, Alexander Roloff and Jan Seyffarth (all Germany), finally took the chequered flag in fourth place.
Alexander Böhm, Black Falcon General Manager: “The ultra-reliable SLS AMG GT3 was once again the cornerstone for this historic victory. All the drivers did a great job – we were really fast, especially in the wet. A big thank you to all team members!”
Hans-Peter Naundorf, ROWE RACING Team Manager: “I am extremely pleased with securing P3 and P4 with #22 and #23, especially as we were forced to retire last year while in the lead. My thanks go to all drivers and team members. Congratulations to the winning team, Black Falcon.”
Uli Fritz, Head of AMG Customer Sports: “We were not among the favourites to win, as we are not a works team but simply a customer outfit. We are very excited about this historic success. So far in 2013, we have won every major endurance race with the SLS AMG GT3 – in January, the Dubai (UAE) 24-hour race, in February, the Bathurst 12-Hours (Australia) and now the legendary 24- hour race here at the Nürburgring. My congratulations go to all AMG customer teams, and many thanks to tyre partner Dunlop for the excellent manner in which they have supported our team.”
Ola Kaellenius, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “A great success for our customer teams Black Falcon and ROWE RACING. I am very pleased that we have succeeded at only the third attempt in taking the top spot in the SLS AMG GT3. This victory is the best confirmation of our customer sports programme.”
Toto Wolff, Head of Motorsport at Mercedes-Benz: “This victory in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring is the just reward for the loyalty of our customer teams. Mercedes-Benz has a magnificent tradition in endurance racing that stretches back as far as the 1950s. The Nürburgring has always had a great importance and symbolic meaning for Mercedes-Benz, because this is where the legend of the Silver Arrow was born, so it is all the more gratifying to witness the success here today of the AMG customer teams. The Mercedes-Benz name stands for performance, quality and reliability – which are the perfect prerequisites for winning such a tough race on the most demanding racetrack in the world. I extend my congratulations to our customer teams, Black Falcon and ROWE RACING. Credit is also due to Mercedes-AMG for their outstanding support without which this success could not have been achieved.”
Bernd Schneider, Black Falcon, # 9: “Our car was super to drive, especially in the wet, and even while the surface was drying out, we were always up with the leading group. I’ve attempted the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring on several previous occasions, but this is the first time I’ve ever crossed the finish line. My congratulations and thanks go to the whole team. The guys at Black Falcon did a great job.”
Thomas Jäger, ROWE RACING, # 22: “Once again, we have seen what a fabulous car the SLS AMG GT3 is to drive, even under these very difficult conditions here at the Nürburgring. Our third and fourth place finishes represent a great team result for ROWE RACING, and obviously I’m delighted for the guys at Black Falcon on their historic victory.”
Lance David Arnold, ROWE RACING, # 23: “I’m very pleased that I was able to finish fourth on my very first outing for the AMG customer team ROWE RACING. This was very tough race, not least because of the heavy rain and the constantly changing conditions. I’d like to express my gratitude and congratulations to the whole team.”
Seven SLS AMG GT3s in 24-hour race at Nürburgring
There were no fewer than seven SLS AMG GT3s contesting the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. Car number 63 entered by Black Falcon and driven by Vimal Mehta (IND), Kaled al Qubaisi (UAE), Daniel Keilwitz and Christian Bracke (both GER) finished in 19th position. Number 125 (ROWE RACING) with Michael Zehe, Reinhold Renger, Marko Hartung and Mark Bullit (all GER) sharing the cockpit crossed the line in P27. Car number 10, also entered by Black Falcon and driven by Andrii Lebed (UKR), Andreas Simonsen (SWE), Dennis Rostek (GER) and Hari Proczyk (AUT), spent much of the race under repair and eventually finished in 130th position. The ROWE RACING number 21 driven by Marko Hartung, Kenneth Heyer, Roland Rehfeld and Christan Hohenadel (all GER) had to retire from the race after an accident.
Good Performance on the Circuit of the Americas
The third stop of the Pirelli World Challenge led the participants to Austin, Texas. The cars competing for valuable championship points on the “Circuit of the Americas” included two Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3s. With fifth and tenth places in the GT classification, Tim Pappas (USA) of the Black Swan Racing team produced the best results among the gullwings.
Having sat out Round 2 of the PWC, the Green Hornet Racing team’s Fusion Worldwide SLS AMG GT3 was once again at the starting line in Austin. Team owner and pilot Peter LeSaffre (USA) at the wheel posted eleventh-place GT finishes in both races on the high-speed track. The next round of the Pirelli World Challenge is scheduled for May 31, 2013 at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.
Three Top Ten finishes in the DMV TCC on the Slovakiaring
Unlike the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring, the International DMV TCC’s third outing of the season took place under perfect racing conditions on the Slovakiaring (SLO). On the nearly six-kilometer-long course, the AMG Customer Sports team ANTeam Motorsport’s Bruno Stucky was the fastest pilot in both races in an SLS AMG GT3. The Swiss driver, who celebrated his birthday that weekend, was pleased with his fifth and sixth-place finishes. His brother Edwin Stucky, who entered the race in the team’s sister car, achieved an eighth place finish among a total of 28 participants at the start. In the second sprint race over the half-hour distance, however, he withdrew early and received no points. The next round of the DMV TCC is at the Hockenheimring on July 14-15, 2013.
Round 2 of the GT Open in Portimão
The second round of the international GT Open took the participants to Portugal. Basking in summer-like temperatures, the Autodromo do Algarve featured two races which, in parallel, also counted toward the Spanish GT Championship. As the only AMG Customer Sports team, Seyffarth Motorsport put up a good fight against the international competition: in the 70-minute-long first race, Jan Seyffarth (GER) and Miguel Toril (ESP) took third place in the GTS class and sixth overall.
On Sunday the duo started the race with the fastest qualifying time of the GTS class. The SLS AMG GT3 made a good showing in the lead group up until the tenth lap, but then a damaged tire cost them valuable time. In the end, the duo had to settle for 14th place overall and ninth in the GTS class.
The next round of the GT Open will be held on June 1-2 on the Nürburgring.
Polish GT travels to Austria
Piotr Krawczyk and his SLS AMG GT3 continue to set the tone in the Polish GT Championship. The driver for the AMG Customer Sports team Premium Motorsport Poland took second place in the FIA CEZ race on the Austrian Red Bull Ring on Saturday. A remarkable success for the GT championship leader, not only because he was competing for the first time at Spielberg, but also because it was on a rain-soaked track. Piotr Krawczyk managed to take fourth place in Sunday’s race.
Top results in Round 2 of the ADAC GT Masters in Belgium
Four by four – that’s the impressive bottom line for the AMG Customer Sports team Polarweiss Racing last weekend. The German team placed its two SLS AMG GT3s among the top four in each of the two races in Belgium last weekend. At the Spa-Francorchamps race track – a track which is steeped in rich tradition – things went just according to plan right from the outset, especially for Maximilian Buhk (GER) and GT Masters Champion Maximilian Götz (GER). The two pilots demonstrated their good form and finished confidently on the winners’ podium (second place) already in the first race. In the second race of the weekend, Buhk and Götz started their chase for points from third position. After twenty laps, they were second to cross the finish line once again.
After the second of eight race weekends all together, the two Germans now rank sixth (with 38 points each) in the overall driver standings. Their sister car with No. 11 started the first race on the “Ardennes roller coaster” from twelfth position. With Sergey Afanasyev (RUS) and Andreas Simonsen (SWE) at the wheel, the gullwing made up eight positions in all ultimately finishing in fourth place. The two Polarweiss pilots repeated that impressive performance in the second race. They started out once again from twelfth position and celebrated another fourth-place finish. The solid team performance put the Polarweiss team in the lead of the team standings (54 points).
The next stop of the ADAC GT Masters is barely four weeks away (June 7-9) on the Sachsenring in Hochenstein-Ernstthal.
Catch-up race at the British GT
Jason Minshaw and Benji Hetherington made up a twelve-position deficit in impressive style during Round 2 of the British GT Championship. The two English drivers entered the race in one of the two racing gullwings of the AMG Customer Sports team on the 4,121-meter-long “International Long Circuit” in Rockingham.
Starting out in 16th position in the SLS AMG GT3 bearing the number 14, they engaged in a spectacular chase to catch the leaders. After a total of 78 laps, they were fourth to cross the finish line. This outstanding performance meant already the second top-five finish this season for Benji Hetherington. In the first round of the British GT, he finished third. That gives him a very good fourth place overall in the GT3 standings.
The team’s sister car with Danny Candia (PRY) and Ollie Webb (ENG) at the wheel was forced out of the race early due to an accident having completed two-thirds of the total race distance.
The next round of the British GT Championship will be held on May 25-26 at the traditional Silverstone Arena.
Two podium places at the Hungaroring
For the AMG Customer Sports team Premium Motorsport Poland, the next round of competition in the Polish GT Championship was held at the Hungaroring in Hungary. Piotr Krawczyk (POL) delivered impressive performances in the two FIA CEZ circuit championship series races. With intrepid fighting spirit, he piloted his SLS AMG GT3 from starting position nine forward through the field to finish second in the first sprint race. And Krawczyk mounted the second step of the winner’s podium also after the second race of the weekend.
First round of the International GT Open in Le Castellet
Pole position for Miguel Toril (ES) and Renger van der Zande (NL) – that strong appearance by the AMG Customer Sports team Seyffarth Motorsport opened the new season of the International GT Open series at the Paul Ricard Circuit in Le Castellet, France. But rain and fog prevented the Spanish-Dutch duo from defending its good starting position during the race: 12th place in the first race of the weekend, seventh in the GTS class.
Toril / van der Zande managed to make an even better showing in the second race, finishing in fourth place overall – and their second-place finish in the GTS category fell just short of the class victory.
Silver linings and clouds in the ADAC GT Masters opener
With two pole positions for the AMG Customer Sports team Polarweiss Racing, the first weekend of the ADAC GT Masters 2013 took a promising turn right from the start. In the etropolis Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, the duo of Maximilian Götz (GER) and Maximilian Buhk (GER) each earned a lead starting position for the two races.
In the race, however, the positions of many cars – including the SLS AMG GT3 of Götz/Buhk – changed dramatically as the field experienced turbulent shifts due to wet road surfaces. In eleventh place it finished behind its own team’s sister car, the one which Sergey Afanasyev (RUS) and Andreas Simonsen (SWE) piloted to a good seventh-place finish.
The second race of the weekend started out far better: for a half an hour, the ADAC GT Masters defending champion Maximilian Götz fought an exciting battle for the lead. But the compulsory change of drivers abruptly crushed their chances of winning: having cut the minimum pit stop time one second short, Maximilian Buhk was forced to return to the pit stall with stop and go penalty. In the final assessment, that meant a ninth-place finish. Afanasyev and Simonsen had better luck once again, improving further on their previous day’s performance and crossing the finish line in fifth position.
Good dress rehearsal at the VLN
No less than 211 cars entered the second round of the VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring. Many of them use the 55th ADAC ACAS H&R Cup along the North Loop as a dress rehearsal for the upcoming 24-hour race – and the seven SLS AMG GT3s in the competition were no exception.
At the end of the four-hour distance, it was Black Falcon’s racing gullwing – with Bernd Schneider (GER), Jeroen Bleekemolen (NL) and Sean Edwards (GB) at the wheel – which posted the best result among the AMG Customer Sports teams, finishing in a good tenth-place. It was followed closely by the ROWE RACING team’s best SLS AMG GT3 – eleventh place for the car competing in the striking DUNLOP ART CAR design, with Thomas Jäger, Klaus Graf, Kenneth Heyer and Nico Bastian (all GER).
In ROWE RACING’s sister car bearing No. 21, Lance David Arnold (GER) had already provided a highlight in the morning qualifying round: under difficult road conditions, he posted the best-rated time and earned the right to start from the pole position. During the race, Arnold alternated at the wheel with former ski jumper Sven Hannawald and the VLN rookie Thorsten Drewes (both GER). The trio was able to defend its excellent position over a long distance of the race and even managed to lead the field for a few laps. Ultimately they crossed the finish line in 14th place.
The four other SLS AMG GT3s also logged valuable racing miles in preparation for the North Loop season highlight: the 24-hour race. In the overall standings, they finished the race in 18th (Black Falcon with Nicki Thiim and Christian Bracke), 28th (CC Car Collection with Peter Schmidt, Christopher Zöchling and Marcel Blumer), 38th (ROWE RACING with Michael Zehe, Marko Hartung, Roland Rehfeld and Mark Bullit) and 94th place (Black Falcon with Vimal Metha and Khaled Al Qubaisi), respectively.
Fourth place in the season opener in Spain
The long-awaited season opener of the Portuguese GT Championship was held last weekend at the Ciudad del Motor de Aragón. The AMG customer team Sports & You entered two Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3s in the race, which counts for both the international and the Portuguese Supercar series. José Pedro Fontes and Miguel Barbosa demonstrated courageous racing spirit, at times leading the field. They ultimately finished fourth, just barely missing their first chance to mount the winner’s podium in the new season. In the team’s sister car, António Coimbra and Luís Silva were forced out of the race and earned no points.
Super GT with four out of five SLS AMG GT3s in the top ten
Clear the track for the Round 2 of the Japanese Super GT Championship. The “FUJI GT 500-km Race” was the scheduled event for the participants at the Fuji Speedway. In the GT300 category, there were also five Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3s at the start – and four (!) of them managed to place in the top ten.
Hironori Takeuchi and Takeshi Tsuchiya of team Shift (OKINAWA-IMP SLS) delivered the best gullwing result: in the race, the two Japanese drivers confirmed their fourth place from the qualifying. Sixth place went to Katsuyuki Hiranaka and Bjorn Wirdheim (GAINER DIXCEL SLS), who were able to join the lead group after starting out from 18th position.
Haruki Kurosawa and Masanobu Kato (LEON SLS) also finished the nearly three-hour race in a convincing eighth place. Finishing tenth in the GAINER team’s sister car, Tetsuya Tanaka and Masayuki Ueda (GAINER Rn-SPORTS DIXCEL SLS) could also celebrate together with the rest of the Top Ten. Hisashi Wada and Masaki Jyonai (GREENTEC SLS AMG GT3) also fought their way far ahead through the pack: in the original field of 26 cars, the pilots advanced from starting position 22 to finish in a respectable 13th position.
Victory and lead ranking in the Polish GT Championship (WSMP)
Perfect debut for the AMG Customer Sports team of Premium Motorsport Poland: in the opening weekend of the Polish GT Championship in Poznan, the only gullwing pilot in the field, Piotr Krawczyk (POL), was pleased to mount the podium twice. In the first race on Saturday, the Pole piloted his Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 to a second-place finish. In the 15-lap sprint on the following day, Krawczyk posted his first victory of the season. He now leads in the overall standings and is traveling to Hungary for the second round of the series, which will be held on April 27-28 on the Hungaroring.
Starting gun sounds for the third season of the Blancpain Endurance Series
The first round of the Blancpain Endurance Series 2013 was held in Monza on April 13-14.
Black Falcon’s two SLS AMG GT3s and one Preci-Spark gullwing took part. The cars of Black Falcon were piloted by Adam Christodoulou (UK), Klaas Hummel (NL) and Steve Jans (LUX) (Number 18) as well as Robert Hissom (USA), Andrii Lebed (UKR) and Oliver Morley (UK) (Number 19). The brothers David and Godfrey Jones (UK) competed in the race for Preci-Spark.
After 94 laps, Black Falcon with Hummel/Jans/Christodoulou at the wheel crossed the finish line in tenth place. That performance was all the more impressive in that the trio started the race in 39th position. In their class (PAM), they achieved an outstanding third-place ranking.
The team’s other gullwing was forced to withdraw early after having completed a third of the race.
The AMG Customer Sports team Preci-Spark and the Jones brothers finished the challenging race with a good mid-field placement (16th place overall).
The next round of the Blancpain Endurance Series will be held on June 1-2 at the Silverstone Circuit in Great Britain.
Season opener of the VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring
The AMG Customer Sports teams ROWE RACING, Black Falcon and Car Collection Motorsport entered a total of five racing gullwings in the competition in the opening round of this year’s endurance racing season on the Nürburgring.
In the 200-car field of participants in the 38 th DVM 4-Hour Race, ROWE RACING started with three gullwings. Among them, the SLS AMG GT3 with No. 7 and the German quartet at the wheel – Thomas Jäger, Jan Seyffarth, Kenneth Heyer and Alexander Roloff – delivered the most successful performance. In the end, they were pleased with a very good seventh-place finish.
Similarly, Lance David Arnold (GER), the former ski jumper Sven Hannawald (GER) and motor sports rookie Thorsten Drewes (GER) were also satisfied with their performance. With ninth place after 27 laps, they likewise celebrated a Top Ten finish.
The third car of the Bubenheim-based racing team with Michael Zehe (GER), Marko Hartung (GER), Mark Bullit (USA) and Reinhold Renger (GER) in the cockpit started out the race in 40 th position. After a furious pursuit race, they reached 18 th place overall.
The Rhineland-Palatinate-based team Black Falcon with Vimal Mehta (TZA), Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE) and Andreas Simonsen (SWE) at the wheel finished the first race of the new season in 15 th place. Among the 20 cars entered in their class (SP9), the AMG Customer Sports team achieved a very good 11 th rank.
In Car Collection Motorsport’s gullwing debut in the VLN series, Peter Schmidt (GER), Marcel Blumer (CH) and Dieter Lehner (CH) were at the wheel. After a total of 25 laps, the Hessians crossed the finish line 25 th.
The next VLN round on the Nürburgring North Loop, the 55 th ADAC ACAS H&R Cup, will be held on April 27.
A first victory and a record number of entries for the SLS AMG GT3 in the Super GT in Japan
On the 3.703-km circuit in Okayama, Japan, a total of four AMG Customer Sports teams competed: GAINER, OKINAWA-IMP RACING with SHIFT, LEON RACING and R'Qs MotorSports – more than ever before in the Japanese Super GT series. In an exciting race, Team GAINER with Katsuyuki Hiranaka (JAP) and Björn Wirdheim (SWE) at the wheel was ultimately able to prevail confidently over the formidable competition.
The Japanese-Swedish duo knew how to dominate right from the outset: starting out from third place, they took the lead after ten laps, extending it sometimes to as much as 22 seconds. In the end, after 77 laps and 01:59´57 hours, they wrapped up the first-ever gullwing victory in the Japanese Super GT.
Two other SLS AMG GT3s were able to finish in the top ten: Fourth-place finishers OKINAWA-IMP RACING with SHIFT piloted by Hironori Takeuchi and Takeshi Tsuchiya of Japan, and sixth-place finishers LEON RACING with fellow Japanese Haruki Kurosawa and Masanobu Kato at the wheel. GAINER’s sister car driven by Tetsuya Tanaka (JAP) and Masayuki Ueda (JAP) rounded out the successful weekend in Japan with a 15th place finish.
The next round of the Super GT will be held on April 28-29 on the Fuji Speedway in Oyama.
Season debut in the DMV Touring Car Challenge (DMV TCC)
The first round of this year’s DMV TCC was held on April 5-6 at the Hockenheimring. With two races on the 4.574-km circuit, the AMG Customer Sports program’s “home game” in Baden-Württemberg featured five of its drivers in all – Christian Land (GER, Land Motorsport), Klaus Koch (GER, Car Collection Motorsport), the Swiss brothers Bruno and Edwin Stucky (both of ANTeam) and Josef Klüber (GER, Schütz Motorsport).
Christian Land celebrated a particularly successful debut in the first race of the new season: after 18 laps (32:23.765 mins.) the driver from North Rhine-Westphalia finished in a great fifth place. Bruno Stucky (sixth) and Klaus Koch (seventh) also delivered impressive performances. Josef Klüber, competing in his first race in the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, finished in 19th place. Edwin Stucky finished 25th.
In a dramatic second race, tire damage knocked out the lead car 22 seconds before the end of the race. The racing gullwings’ pilots made another strong showing. Peter Schmidt (GER), who raced for Car Collection Motorsport in place of Klaus Koch, drove to a strong fifth-place finish. With Bruno Stucky (6th) and Josef Klüber (8th), two more of the five racing gullwings also finished in the top ten. Edwin Stucky followed in a respectable eleventh position. Having been forced out of the race early due to a collision, Christian Land could do no better than 36th in the overall standings in the second race (classification: eighth rank out of ten).
The next round of the DMV Touring Car Challenge will be held on April 19-20 at the Nürburgring.
Another place on the podium in the season opener of the British GT
A successful debut for the new AMG Customer Sports team Fortec Motorsport with Benji Hetherington (ENG) and Ollie Hancock (ENG) at the wheel. Right from the outset in the season premiere of the British GT, they managed to position their racing gullwing in third place in the first race.
In the second race, the duo was able to finish 23rd.
The team’s sister car was driven by two other Englishmen: Jason Minshaw and James Walker. Due to an accident, however, they were forced to end the first race early.
In the second race on the 4.332-km-long track, the two pilots displayed very good performance in the SLS AMG GT3, earning a sixth place finish.
The next race of the British GT will be held at the “Rockingham International Long Circuit” in Northamptonshire on June 10, 2013.
Podium to start off the FIA GT Series
The first round of the newly established FIA-GT Championship was held from March 29 to April 1. The successor series to the FIA-GT1 World Championship celebrated its season opener on Easter weekend in Nogaro, France.
HTP Gravity Charouz entered a total of three vehicles and six drivers at the “Circuit Paul Armagnac”. The Czech team’s pilots competed for points in three different classes (PAM, PRO and GTR) on the 3.636-km-long track.
The team’s first car, which paired the German FIA GT3 European Champion Maximilian Buhk with the Israeli Alon Day, achieved a top result with a third place finish. Under extremely adverse conditions – among other things, the first two laps were run behind the Safety Car due to rain – the two motor sports pros managed to reach the podium and confirm their third rank in the qualifying round.
The duo Sergei Afanasiev (RUS) and Andreas Simonsen (SWE) – also racing for HTP Gravity Charouz – entered the race in car No. 2. At the finish line, they had every reason to be satisfied with their 16th place overall and seventh in their category.
Jan Stovicek (CZE) and Petr Charouz (CZE) rounded out a successful weekend for the team. The two Czechs drove to a second place in the special competition of the Gentleman’s Trophy (GTR). In the overall ranking they finished 21st.
Another gullwing was entered by the AMG Customer Sports team SMS Seyffarth Motorsport. At the wheel of their SLS AMG GT3, Jan Seyffarth (GER) and former Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok (IND) made a very good showing. With the car No. 28, the two experienced pilots took sixth place in the qualifying session. In the overall classification, they managed to finish the race in tenth position.
The next round of the FIA GT Series will be held on April 20-21 at the “Circuit Zolder” in Belgium.
Successful debut for the SLS AMG GT in the USA.
At the premiere of the Pirelli World Challenge, AMG Customer Sports teams Black Swan Racing and Green Hornet Racing were highly competitive on the “Streets of St. Petersburg” (USA) right from the start.
On this first outing in the racing gullwing, Black Swan posted two Top Ten finishes - a very respectable start in the new motor sports season for the AMG Customer Sports team with the 39-year-old pilot Tim Pappas (USA).
On the 2.890-kilometer street circuit, the team with the No. 54 started the first race out from eighth position. After a total of 34 laps, they confirmed their impressive performance potential with a ninth place finish.
On the next day, they managed to turn the previous day’s result the other way around: They started out from ninth position and finished eighth.
The racing gullwing of the Green Hornet Racing team with Peter LeSaffre (USA) at the wheel improved from 14th grid position to eleventh place in the first race. In the second race an accident ended his race prematurely.
The next round of the Pirelli World Challenge will be held on April 19-21 in California on the “Streets of Long Beach.”
SLS AMG GT3 wins in Australia
The “Streets of Adelaide” have a new champion: Craig Baird (NZ). The 42-year-old won “Down Under” for the Australian team Erebus Motorsport GT in the SLS AMG GT3 - and not once, but twice.
Last weekend was a complete success for the AMG customer team. Both in the first race on Saturday and in the second race on Sunday, the team from Melbourne took first place with its New Zealand pilot Craig Baird. The Australians already triumphed in the gullwing in the opening round of the Australian GT Championship, the Bathurst 12-Hour Race.
The team’s outstanding success was completed by ex-Formula One driver Christian Klien (AUT). After starting out from the pole position in the first race, the Austrian was held back by a safety car phase and “only” able to finish fifth. But then things went much better for Klien in the second race on Sunday. The 30-year-old achieved excellent results, finishing in third place and setting a new record lap time (01:20.715 minutes).
Craig Baird: “What a wild weekend! It was a great honor for me to have achieved this fantastic result with the SLS AMG GT3. At first I was somewhat disappointed after Friday’s qualifying round. But that motivated me more than ever to win the two races. I would like to thank Erebus Motorsport GT, who really made these victories easy for me.”
The next round of the Australian GT will be held on May 24-26 on the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
Victory for the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 in Bathurst 12-hour race
Bathurst (AUS) – The Erebus Motorsport GT team put on an impressive display with its pair of Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 cars in the Bathurst 12-hour race. Having started sixth, German drivers Thomas Jäger (GER), Bernd Schneider (GER) and Alexander Roloff (GER) secured victory for the Australian racing team, competing with the SLS AMG GT3 with starting number 36. The sister car with number 63, driven by Tim Slade (AUS), Lee Holdsworth (AUS) and Peter Hackett (AUS) showed an equal performance. However, the gullwing competition car dropped back from second place following a collision in the closing stages of the race and eventually was classified sixth.
From the very beginning, spectators along the 6.213 kilometres long Mount Panorama Circuit got to see a high-class race, in which the two SLS AMG GT3 cars dominantly led the field of the 50 participating cars for long stages. Only 90 minutes before the end, heavy downpours mixed up positions. For instance, the SLS AMG GT3 with starting number 63 that had started from pole position had to turn into the pits for a 15 minutes’ repair following a collision and thus lost its second place. Back on track, Peter Hackett, who took the final turn behind the wheel, was still able to bring sixth place home.
Out in front, a thrilling tyre gamble emerged once the track dried out and rain set in again during the final hour. Final driver Alexander Roloff, who came in for another set of rain tyres while leading the race with 15 minutes remaining, showed his mental strength and defended his one-lap lead until the chequered flag was out. Thus, together with Thomas Jäger and Bernd Schneider, who both raced as members of AMG Customer Sports drivers’ support programme, Roloff secured the maiden victory for an SLS AMG GT3 in the prestigious Bathurst 12-hour race.
Alexander Roloff: “Being the final driver with the leading car is an honour, but also a great responsibility. However, more than anything else, today’s final stint in changeable conditions was hard work. Similarly to the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, it can be dry in one part and entirely wet only two corners later. Therefore, I am all the more happy to have brought victory home.”
Bernd Schneider: “I am overjoyed, this is a great success for all of us. The Mount Panorama Circuit is extremely demanding and doesn’t pardon any mistakes. However, our strategy totally worked out: at the end, we were able to concentrate on defending our lead and didn’t have to attack anymore. Alexander did a great job.”
Thomas Jäger: “Thanks to the entire Erebus Motorsport GT team. Co-operation prior to the race and during the event was really outstanding. Next to the speed, the consistency and reliability of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 once again was the key to our success.”
Ryan Maddison, CEO Erebus Motorsport GT: “Having finished second here last year, we were now really determined to win. Thanks to a great team performance, we managed to do so. Of course, missing out on the 1-2 that was on the cards for such a long time is slightly disappointing. Both cars had the potential and the performance to win the race. Thanks to the entire team and, of course, to Mercedes-AMG for the support.”
Ola Källenius, chairman of the board, Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “This is a great day for the Erebus Motorsport GT team and for our AMG Customer Sports programme. My sincere congratulations! After victory in the Dubai 24 Hours, this is already the second victory for an AMG Customer team this year – a promising start into a great 2013 motorsport season.”
Uli Fritz, head of AMG Customer Sports: “Congratulations to the winning Erebus Motorsport GT team. Everyone involved has shown an incredible effort to achieve this maiden victory in the Bathurst 12-hour race. A victory that would have been well-deserved by both cars, because the Australian drivers’ crew also harmonised perfectly and played its role in the outcome of the race, too.”