Mercedes-AMG in Laguna Seca IGTC finale with the best title chances and a successful history.

Prior to the finale, Mercedes-AMG is leading all three IGTC championships. A total of six Mercedes-AMG GT3s and two Mercedes-AMG GT4s on the grid for the 8-hour race. Historic success a good omen for Mercedes-AMG.

Overall drivers’ standings, bronze drivers and GT3 manufacturers – in all three championship categories of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, Mercedes-AMG has very good title chances. Prior to the IGTC finale at Laguna Seca Raceway (26-28 October), Raffaele Marciello (ITA) and Tristan Vautier (FRA) are leading the overall standings while Kenny Habul (AUS) is on course for the bronze drivers’ title. Thanks to the achievements of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 run by STRAKKA Racing and SunEnergy1 Racing in the three IGTC races that have been completed thus far, Mercedes-AMG is also ahead of the opposition in the battle for the manufacturers’ crown. Moreover, the race at Laguna Seca is linked with a historic success: it was here that, exactly 20 years ago, race cars made in Affalterbach secured the title and runner-up spot in the FIA GT Championship in a showdown that remains unforgotten.

 

Mercedes-AMG is heading into the California 8 Hours race, the grand finale of the Intercontinental GT Challenge at Laguna Seca Raceway, with a strong initial position and a powerful driver line-up. The hottest candidates for the title are joint points’ leaders Raffaele Marciello and Tristan Vautier. The duo that, together with Maro Engel (GER) managed to win the most recent IGTC round at Suzuka, will be split among two different Mercedes-AMG GT3 cars at Laguna Seca: Marciello, the freshly-crowned Blancpain GT Series champion, will be driving the #43 of Mercedes-AMG Team STRAKKA Racing and will be supported by Maximilian Götz (GER) and Lewis Williamson (GBR) in the process. In the #175 of Mercedes-AMG Team SunEnergy1, Vautier will be racing together with Engel and Maximilian Buhk (GER). Marciello and Vautier each have a total of 58 points, 15 points more than Maro Engel and 18 points more than the next driver pairing.

 

With 20 points, Kenny Habul’s margin in the classification for bronze drivers is even slightly clearer. In the course of the season, the Australian has racked up a pair of victories (12h Bathurst, 10h Suzuka) and a third place (24h Spa). In the season finale at the Pacific coast, he will be driving the #75 of SunEnergy1 Racing together with Luca Stolz (GER) and Mikaël Grenier (CAN), just like at Suzuka. Nick Leventis (GBR) also has a good perspective in the bronze category: the STRAKKA Racing driver is currently in third place and with a good result in the season finale could be in a position to complete 1-2 in the bronze standings for Mercedes-AMG.

 

In total, four Mercedes-AMG GT3s are eligible to score points for the manufacturers’ standings at Laguna Seca: the #43 and the #44 STRAKKA Racing cars with Marciello, Götz, Williamson and Christian Vietoris (GER), Jack Hawksworth (GBR), Adrien Tambay (FRA) respectively as well as the #75 and the #175 SunEnergy1 Racing entries with Habul, Stolz, Grenier and Buhk, Engel, Vautier as the respective drivers. Prior to the finale, Mercedes-AMG is nine points clear in the lead of the GT3 manufacturers’ standings. Two further GT3 cars from Affalterbach will be on the grid for the finale: next to the #42 STRAKKA Racing car with Leventis, Felipe Fraga (BRA) and David Fumanelli (ITA), the DXDT Racing team will be making its IGTC debut with David Askew, Mike Hedlund (both USA) and Ryan Dalziel (GBR). In addition, two Mercedes-AMG GT4s will be run by Customer Racing Team Murillo Racing.

 

A glance in the history books shows a good omen for the race at the circuit with its long history and its (in)famous Corkscrew corner sequence: 20 years ago to the day, the duo of Klaus Ludwig (GER) and Ricardo Zonta (BRA) had a brand-internal duel with Bernd Schneider (GER) and Mark Webber (AUS) with the FIA GT Championship title at stake. In an entertaining heart-stopping finale, the Mercedes-Benz CLK-LM with Ludwig/Zonta crossed the line a mere 10.8 seconds ahead of Schneider/Webber and thus sealed the title.

 

Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “This year, the Intercontinental GT Challenge rounds really are showing motorsport at the highest level. The fact that we have such a good perspective in all the three categories of the series is a nice confirmation for our cars and the hard work by the drivers and the teams. But the road hasn’t ended yet: we have huge ambitions for the finale at Laguna Seca and we are excellently prepared. Even though unexpected things can always happen during an 8-hour race. To minimise this risk, we have decided to split our title candidates Raffaele and Tristan among two different cars. Meanwhile, I am also looking forward to the participation of the other Mercedes-AMG GT3s. All the cars have a very strong line-up and we will surely get to see a thrilling finale.”

Driver-team allocation Mercedes-AMG GT3s and GT4s, Laguna Seca*:

No.
 class

Team

Car

Drivers
 (in alphabetical order)

42
Pro-Am

STRAKKA Racing

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Felipe Fraga (BRA), David Fumanelli (ITA), Nick Leventis (GBR)

43
Pro

Mercedes-AMG Team STRAKKA Racing

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Maximilian Götz (GER), Raffaele Marciello (ITA), Lewis Williamson (GBR)

44
Pro-Am

STRAKKA Racing

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Jack Hawksworth (GBR), Adrien Tambay (FRA), Christian Vietoris (GER)

75
Pro-Am

SunEnergy1 Racing

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mikaël Grenier (CAN), Kenny Habul (AUS), Luca Stolz (GER)

175
Pro

Mercedes-AMG Team SunEnergy1

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Maximilian Buhk (GER), Maro Engel (GER), Tristan Vautier (FRA)

63
Pro-Am

DXDT Racing

Mercedes-AMG GT3

David Askew (USA), Ryan Dalziel (GBR), Mike Hedlund (USA)

35
GT4

Murillo Racing

Mercedes-AMG GT4

Matt Fassnacht (USA), Christian Szymczak (USA)

65
GT4

Murillo Racing

Mercedes-AMG GT4

Tim Probert (USA), Justin Piscitell (USA), Jeff Mosing (USA)

* subject to changes at short notice