Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport embarks on a new Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup campaign this weekend in the season opener at Monza in Italy (12 – 14 April). After multiple title successes in 2018 – a grand total of eight – the performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach is back with a strong squad for the 2019 Blancpain GT Series. The driver line-up includes the victorious trio of Yelmer Buurman (NED), Maro Engel (GER) and Luca Stolz (GER). Also Nico Bastian (GER, overall and Sprint Silver Cup winner) and Lewis Williamson (GBR, winner of Endurance Cup Pro-Am Driver) will be aiming to add more trophies to their cabinets. Raffaele Marciello (ITA) takes his place in another of the eight Mercedes-AMG GT3 that will be competing in the season opener; at Monza, the reigning champion of the Blancpain GT Series will begin the defence of his title in the overall standings.
Three questions for Luca Stolz
Luca Stolz made his big breakthrough as a racing driver in 2018. Last year, he provided impressive evidence of his strength in endurance racing, securing class victory in the Suzuka 10 Hours and the driver and team titles in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. The 23-year-old is now aiming to get his title defence in the Blancpain GT Series off to a good start in the first fixture of the 2019 season at Monza next weekend (12th – 14th April).
Although you are only 23 years of age, you already have approximately six years of experience driving Mercedes-AMG cars, first in the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 and subsequently in the Mercedes-AMG GT3. Starting this season, you are under exclusive contract to Mercedes-AMG. How much does that mean to you?
Luca Stolz: It’s an honour to be competing all around the world for Mercedes-AMG. Between my stints in the SLS AMG GT3 and the Mercedes-AMG GT3, I had a brief spell driving for the opposition. But especially over the course of the last year, I think it’s become apparent which car suits me best. I’m really pleased that Mercedes-AMG have signed me up to drive exclusively for them. I hope I can live up to their expectations.
What are your personal objectives for this season?
Luca Stolz: In 2019, I definitely want to build on my success last year. The highlight of the season for me will be the ADAC TOTAL 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. On the one hand, it is my home track, and on the other, it is also by far the most challenging race on the calendar. Last year we ended up on the podium in P3, so a win there would mean a lot to me.
As defending champion in the Endurance Cup, you’ll be competing in all ten rounds of the Blancpain GT Series this year, including the sprint races of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe. What are your feelings ahead of the season opener at Monza next weekend?
Luca Stolz: I’m really happy that I’ll be contesting all ten rounds of the Blancpain GT Series with Maro Engel as co-driver. In the five Endurance races, we’ll be sharing the cockpit with Yelmer Buurman. We proved last year that we are a race-winning trio, and we intend to prove it again this year. The five sprint races are extremely competitive, going flat out for one hour on both the Saturday and the Sunday. You can’t afford to make a single error here; even the pit stop at the halfway stage, which calls for the fastest possible change of driver and tyres, can be decisive in the outcome of the race.