Thomas Jäger: We’re obviously very pleased to be making our debut outing in this well‑established high-calibre race, the 24-Hours of Daytona, with the new Mercedes-AMG GT3, marking the 50th anniversary of AMG. We were able to convince several North American teams of the new Mercedes-AMG GT3’s qualities, not least because of its outstanding success in 2016. Three Mercedes-AMG GT3s will be in the Daytona line-up, and another team will contest this season’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 will also make its debut in the Pirelli World Challenge. In conjunction with the expansion of support services in North America, we are able to offer teams there the same high and comprehensive standard of support as in Europe from the very outset.
What will be particularly important at the Daytona International Speedway?
Thomas Jäger: What’s special about the Daytona track is the large amount of time spent at top speed and the banked turns which put a lot of stress on running gear. We’ll be lining up in the GTD class. This means, unlike in Europe, that cars in the prototype class which are even faster than us will also be in the field. It’s important as a driver to adjust accordingly and also to make sure not to waste time when you’re being overtaken. Deploying the right tactics when positioning the vehicle will also play a role. You have to try not to drive down the straights in the slipstream of fellow competitors, and, at the same time, you have to use the slipstream of the prototype vehicles as best you can.
What are your chances in the race?
Thomas Jäger: I’m really looking forward to my first outing in Daytona and to working with Riley Motorsports. The team have prepared the vehicles really well, and all of their structures and procedures are excellent. Working with them is great fun. Also, we are able to field an excellent overall package of experienced and successful drivers on the grid. I hope to see a Mercedes-AMG GT3 on the podium at the end of the 24 hours. That would make it a very successful first outing for us.