The Mercedes-AMG GT3 led its first IMSA race laps in the opening quarter of the Rolex 24 At Daytona Saturday, where three Mercedes-AMG Customer Sports teams have run competitively through the midnight hour. Shane Van Gisbergen drove the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 into the GT Daytona (GTD) class lead just under six hours into the race Saturday evening, leading the first seven laps for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in its IMSA and Rolex 24 debut.
The No. 33 AMG-Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 twice raced in the top three, running second with Jeroen Bleekemolen and then in third place during co- driver Ben Keating’s second driving shift of the race. The No. 33 has been on the race’s lead lap since the start.
The No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 was the first of the three Mercedes Customer Sports entries to race into the top 10. Boris Said improved five positions from 18th starting place on the first lap of the race and then ran a race-high seventh early in the second hour.
The SunEnergy1 team later lost over a dozen laps in hour four after a pit stop miscue damaged the No. 75’s refueling system.
The Rolex 24 is being streamed live on IMSA.tv to international audiences.
Jeroen Bleekemolen, Driver – No. 33 AMG-Team Riley Motorsports-Mercedes-AMG GT3: “We do miss some top speed as expected. In the fight in traffic, it is sometimes a little hard. The only way to make it work is really to take risks, which I haven’t so far, but in the end I am going to have to take some risks in traffic to get the job done. If we are there at the end for sure we can fight for it.”
Gunnar Jeannette, Driver – No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. “So far our Mercedes-AMG GT3 is running great. Everyone on the crew is giving us good pit stops and we’re moving forward. Our car is strong, but about half of the GTD field pulls away from us in a straight line. It’s kind of frustrating because you can actually get stuck behind cars that you are faster than, but you can’t do anything because they pull out 10 lengths on you on the straights. We sort of knew that coming in with the change in the regulations.”
Maro Engel, Driver – No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “[With the pit miscue,] It was really unfortunate what happened but you have to accept that, take it on the chin. The car is handling really, really well. Out there in the wet we are consistently the fastest car. We managed to make up four laps, which is great, but there are another 11 laps we have to make up. We definitely need a lot of yellows and some luck to come our way, but we will keep pushing. Nothing is impossible, definitely not at this race.”