In the 2018 season, Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing has its focus on the Intercontinental GT Challenge and will be competing with at least one Mercedes-AMG GT3 in every round of the endurance championship. The championship, organised by SRO Motorsports Group, gets underway with the season opener, the twelve-hour race in Bathurst, Australia (2-4 February). Five Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be racing down under at the demanding Mount Panorama Circuit. The Mercedes-AMG Team STRAKKA Racing will be running two cars (#55, #56) while Mercedes-AMG Team SunEnergy1 (#75), Scott Taylor Motorsport (#8) and Nineteen Corp P/L (#19) will have one car each.
- Mercedes-AMG takes on Intercontinental GT Challenge
- A high-class line-up for the twelve-hour race at Bathurst
- Five Mercedes-AMG GT3 on the grid
- Official Safety Car: Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+
Bathurst – Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing has committed to the Intercontinental GT Challenge and after the season opener at Bathurst will also be present with its Customer Racing Teams in the other endurance races, the Spa 24 Hours (26-29 July), the Suzuka 10 Hours (24-26 August) and the season finale, the eight-hour race at Mazda Raceway in California (26-28 October). With five Mercedes-AMG GT3, each with excellent driver combinations, there is a strong line-up for the season opener at the 6.2 kilometres long Mount Panorama Circuit in Australia, where Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing already claimed victory with the SLS AMG GT3 in 2013 and has scored three further podium finishes since 2012.
The Mercedes-AMG Team STRAKKA Racing car with starting number 56 and the Mercedes-AMG Team SunEnergy1 entry with starting number 75 are competing in the PRO class. STRAKKA Racing will be making its competition debut with Mercedes-AMG at Bathurst and will be supported by the two Mercedes-AMG Drivers Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Götz (both GER). Portuguese Alvaro Parente, winner of the race in 2016, rounds out the line-up. Newly-appointed Mercedes-AMG Driver Raffaele Marciello (ITA), who earned his graduation into the ranks of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing drivers with outstanding achievements last season will be alternating behind the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG Team SunEnergy1 car with Kenny Habul (AUS), Tristan Vautier (FRA) and last year’s race winner Jamie Whincup (AUS).
In the PRO-AM class, Scott Taylor Motorsport (#8) is running a car for drivers Max Twigg (AUS), Craig Baird (NZL) and Tony D’A lberto (AUS). Nineteen Corp P/L (#19) with the Australian quartet of Mark Griffith, John Martin, David Reynolds and Liam Talbot (all AUS) and the second STRAKKA Racing car with David Fumanelli (ITA), Nick Leventis (GBR), Cameron Waters (AUS) and Lewis Williamson (GBR) round out the strong line-up at Bathurst.
For the fourth consecutive year, Mercedes-Benz Cars Australia is providing the official Safety Car for the Bathurst 12 Hour. This year, a Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4Matic+ will be leading the field safely around Mount Panorama whenever this is required during practice, qualifying or the twelve-hour race.
The first practice sessions get underway on Friday, 2 February, at 8.25 am local time (1 February, 10.25 pm CET), followed by qualifying (11.55 am local time / 1.55 am CET) and the Top 10 Shootout (4.15 pm local time / 6.15 am CET) on Saturday. The twelve-hour race starts at Mount Panorama in the early hours of Sunday morning (5.45 am local time), which means a start on Saturday evening at 7.45 pm CET.
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “It is our goal to be represented in every round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge in the 2018 season and to be in contention for the overall title at the end. We want to increase our involvement in this championship significantly after unfortunately not having been able to field a car for last year’s final round in the US. Bathurst is a first important step towards this goal. Compared to last year, we have managed to strengthen our presence and we will have five Mercedes-AMG GT3 with a high-class driver line-up on the grid. I am particularly happy to be able to welcome a new member of the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing family with STRAKKA Racing that will have the three-pointed star on the bonnet for the first time in a race.”
Maximilian Buhk, Mercedes-AMG Driver for the Mercedes-AMG Team STRAKKA Racing #56: “I am really looking forward to another season with Mercedes-AMG that already gets underway with a highlight at Bathurst. I love the race track and I enjoy racing there. It is like a short version of the Nordschleife that doesn’t allow for any mistakes because you will end up in the wall immediately. I already raced the SLS AMG GT3 at Bathurst in 2014 and we were so close to victory. It would be great to be in a similar situation this year and to be able to fight for victory.”& amp; amp; amp; lt; /p>
Maximilian Götz, Mercedes-AMG Driver for the Mercedes-AMG Team STRAKKA Racing #56: “For me, 2018 is starting with a huge adventure during the twelve-hour race at Bathurst. Not only will it be my first time racing at Bathurst, it will also be my first race for the new Mercedes-AMG Team STRAKKA Racing. In the past weeks, I prepared as well as I could and I spent many hours at Mount Panorama in the simulator. On site, it will be a different affair, of course, but now, I am really delighted to take on our race debut together with the team and to get the new season underway. With the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and my team-mates Maximilian and Alvaro, we have a really strong package for this classic endurance race.”