Founded ten years ago, the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Programme also remains on course for success in its anniversary season. In spite of various races being cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation, the international AMG Customer Racing Teams were again able to rack up numerous victories and titles, seamlessly continuing their successful streak from the record years 2018 and 2019. In 320 races with participation of Customer Racing cars from Affalterbach this year, there were 69 overall wins and 169 class wins. In the course of the season, a total of 97 customer teams ran the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the Mercedes-AMG GT4 all over the world – more than ever before in the ten-year history of the programme. With their achievements at the race track, the teams and drivers collected more than 25 championship titles for the Mercedes-Benz performance and sports car brand.
Drivers’ and manufacturers’ title in GT World Challenge crowns anniversary year
Successful debut season for the new Mercedes-AMG GT3
69 race wins and over 25 championship wins in national and international series
For Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing, 2020 was a special motorsport year in several ways. The Customer Racing Programme had its tenth anniversary and many teams took on the season with a new GT3 car from Affalterbach – a consequent further development of the successful predecessor. A longer break from racing in spring and numerous race cancellations and date changes made a particular mark on the anniversary year. Only detailed safety and hygiene concepts made it possible for the GT racing season to resume at the end of July. In the process, the majority of the races had to held without spectators being present. As a result, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport is looking back upon a season that was certainly extraordinary, but nevertheless had one thing in common with previous years: numerous victories and titles by the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the Mercedes-AMG GT4 in national and international race series.
Title wins in the GT World Challenge
In the renowned GT World Challenge Europe, the world’s best GT drivers are up against each other at the most demanding race tracks year after year. This season, the most successful of them raced a Mercedes-AMG GT3. Driving for the AKKA ASP team, 20-year-old Timur Boguslavskiy (RUS) secured the drivers’ championship after eight podium finishes from the 14 sprint and endurance races and also was crowned as the youngest overall winner in history of the series. In their debut season, Madpanda Motorsport and Ezequiel Perez Companc (ARG) added two further titles by claiming the double of drivers’ and teams’ titles in the Silver Cup. Moreover, Mercedes-AMG again won the combined manufacturers’ title across GT World Challenge Europe and GT World Challenge America. This championship also reflects the successful concept of the customer sport programme that is based on being competitive all over the world. Among others, DXDT Racing contributed to this prestigious title win in the 8-hour race at Indianapolis. Driving for the American team, Colin Braun, Ben Keating, George Kurtz (all USA), secured the class win in the Pro-Am category at the famous speedway.
Strong achievements in ADAC GT Masters and at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife
Mercedes-AMG Motorsport also achieved top results in the two best-known German race series for GT cars. In ADAC GT Masters, the four participating Customer Racing Teams DLV-Team Schütz Motorsport, HTP WINWARD Motorsport, Toksport WRT and Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing each managed to score one race win with the Mercedes-AMG GT3. No other manufacturer of the seven that were represented in ADAC GT Masters managed to rack up more race wins this season.
In the Nürburgring Endurance Series (formerly known as VLN Langstreckenmeisterschaft Nürburgring), the teams also built on their achievements in the Eifel from the previous year. Next to the two race wins for the newly-founded Mercedes-AMG Team HRT and four further overall podium results by Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed and Mercedes-AMG Team HRT AutoArena, there was also a clean sweep for BLACK FALCON Team TEXTAR: with the maximum outcome of five class victories from as many races, Stephan Rösler (GER) and Tristan Viidas (EST) secured the top position in the final SP8T class standings with the #155 Mercedes-AMG GT4.
In the highlight at the Nordschleife, the ADAC TOTAL 24h-Rennen, the teams with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 also present themselves in strong form, although it eventually remained unrewarded. After pole position for Maro Engel (GER), commanding laps in the lead during the first hours of the race and various cars being on course for the podium, the AMG teams didn’t have luck on their side in chaotic weather conditions. Nevertheless, Mercedes-AMG became runner-up, just one point down, in the combined manufacturers’ standings of the Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS) and ADAC TOTAL 24h-Rennen, in place for the first time this year.
Historic victories in Asia
Like in previous years, Asian Customer Racing Teams also convinced with strong achievements. Once again, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport was victorious at the legendary street circuit of Macau. In the Macau GT Cup, held as a substitute for the FIA GT World Cup due to the reduced travel opportunities this year, Toro Racing’s Ye Hongli (CHN) secured the fifth victory in Macau for a GT3 from Affalterbach since 2014. Toro Racing also shone in the China Endurance Championship, in which the Customer Racing Team managed to seal the title. In the Japanese Super Taikyu series, HIRIX Racing achieved a historic feat: in the race at Fuji, the team celebrated the maiden win in a 24-hour race for the evolution version of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 that has been available since 2020.
Customer Racing Teams compete in sim racing
Numerous Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams used the racing break of several months in spring 2020 to participate in the virtual events of the major race series. Among others, they competed in the Digital Nürburgring Endurance Series, SRO E-Sport GT Series as well as in the GT World Challenge Asia Esports Championship and the GT World Challenge America Esports Championship. Next to professional sim racers, they also relied on drivers from real-world motorsport who were provided with an additional training opportunity in the simulator as a result. Professionals like Raffaele Marciello (ITA) and Ezequiel Perez Companc mastered the e-sports challenge with decent results. After the real-world races had resumed, the e-sports series continued and many Customer Racing Teams kept their involvement in sim racing up.
Extended classification time frame for the Customer Racing Championship
As a result of the changed conditions for the 2020 season, Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing’s end-of-season celebration with the prize-giving ceremony of the Customer Racing Championship had to be cancelled as well. For the first time since this brand-internal competition was created, no winners were honoured due to the insufficient number of racing opportunities. To give all the teams and drivers sufficient possibilities to score points with their race participations, the classification time frame of the championship season has been extended by one year to the end of 2021.
Passion for Good successfully continued in the anniversary year
Since 2017, the race participations by the Performance Teams have also generated contributions for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Under the ‘Passion for Good’ banner, a donation of one Euro for every kilometre completed in the races is made to the foundation that is making an effort for children and youngsters at a disadvantage all over the world. Thus, the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport family has already collected over 240.000 Euros since 2017, 40.769 Euros of which were generated this season. At the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Laureus Sport for God, Mercedes-AMG congratulated as a partner of many years during the Nürburgring 24-hour race with a special anniversary branding on the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of the 10Q Racing Team.
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “Of course, we all would have wanted a slightly less challenging anniversary season for our programme. But this is making me even more proud of our Customer Racing Teams that have made the best of this situation and racked up so many strong achievements again in spite of all the adversities. During their activities, they were again able to rely on top-notch cars and our maximum support. That is what makes Mercedes-AMG’s Customer Racing Programme unique in the world. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all those responsible in GT racing who have made it possible for races to be run in a safe way with their commitment and good concepts. For 2021, we have again set ourselves ambitious goals. We have high expectations going into the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and at Spa-Francorchamps. In the major international sprint and endurance series we want to be in contention for the title again. Moreover, together with our Customer Racing Teams, we will put our strategic focus on a national level in the various markets. And then, we are also looking forward with excitement and anticipation to the realigned DTM.”
Remarkable facts and figures of the 2020 season
On course for success: 69 race wins and over 25 championship titles by the Customer Racing Teams in national and international race series.
In action: in total, 218 drivers and 97 teams competed at 86 race tracks in 23 countries all over the world with Mercedes-AMG GT3 and GT4 cars.
Very busy I: in spite of the racing break, Maro Engel competed in a total of 35 races during the 2020 season, 33 of them within 20 weeks. For the Mercedes-AMG brand ambassador, the packed schedule paid off: 13 overall podium results were the best outcome for any driver with a Mercedes-AMG GT3 or GT4 car.
Very busy II: The AKKA ASP team had one of its cars in action in a race for 75 times in total. On 15 occasions, the French team managed to finish on the overall podium.
Serial winner: Tim Heinemann (HP Racing International) scored seven race wins in the DTM Trophy, 6 of them in a row. The championship title in this new race series on the support package of the DTM was the logical consequence of this dominance.
A collection of titles: For Mercedes-AMG Motorsport, the GTC Race was a highly successful affair, too. Drivers and teams racked up five titles in the national race series.