For Mercedes-AMG Motorsport, the 2021 TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa 2021 (29th July – 1st August) mark an extraordinary anniversary. Exactly 50 years ago, the long-standing brand from Affalterbach achieved its first major success in the Belgian endurance racing classic. In 1971, the Mercedes 300 SEL 6.8 AMG finished in second place overall and secured victory in its class. In this year’s edition, 13 Mercedes-AMG GT3s will be on the grid for the world’s biggest race exclusively for GT3 cars, two of them with extended support from Mercedes-AMG. As an homage to the “rote Sau”, as the Mercedes 300 SEL 6.8 AMG is colloquially known as well, the Mercedes-AMG Team HubAuto car with starting number 50 will be racing in the historic livery from the year 1971.
The 73rd running of the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa will be a special occasion for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport. 50 years ago, Hans Heyer and Clemens Schickentanz sensationally drove the Mercedes 300 SEL 6.8 AMG to second place overall in the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps and secured victory in their class in the process. That laid the basis for the AMG story. Five decades later, the classic event in the Ardennes ranks among the most important elements on the international calendar of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport. With 13 GT3 race cars, the performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach will be one of the brands with the strongest representation.
A total of four Mercedes-AMG GT3s will be competing in the Pro class of the 60-car field. Visually, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 with starting number 50 will be standing out. The HubAuto team will be racing with the retro livery of the Mercedes 300 SEL 6.8 AMG, recalling the memorable race from the year 1971. With Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Götz (both GER), two of the drivers who scored the last win for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport in the Spa 24-hour race to date in 2013 will be alternating behind the wheel. The duo will receive support from Yelmer Buurman (NED).
With one car each with extended works support, Haupt Racing Team and AKKA ASP Team will be present for the endurance racing highlight. The #4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT entry will have seasoned GT regulars Vincent Abril (MCO), Maro Engel and Luca Stolz (both GER) as its drivers. Jules Gounon (FRA), Daniel Juncadella (ESP) and Raffaele Marciello (ITA) will be sharing driving duties in the #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP car. With the #89, AKKA ASP Team is running a second Pro car. Last year’s GT World Challenge Europe title winner Timur Boguslavskiy (RUS) will be supported by Lucas Auer (AUT) and Felipe Fraga (BRA).
In the classes, the Customer Racing Teams will also be aiming at podium results with a strong line-up. Six Mercedes-AMG GT3s will be racing in Silver Cup including last year’s class winners, Haupt Racing Team (#5). AKKA ASP Team (#87), Madpanda Motorsport (#90), SPS automotive performance (#40), Toksport WRT (#57) and WINWARD Racing (#57) are also running one car each in the Silver Cup category. With the Mercedes-AMG GT3s from GetSpeed Performance (#2) and RAM Racing (#69) as well as the SPS automotive performance car with starting number 20, three further cars are part of the field in the Pro-Am class.
The TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa are part of two race series at the same time. For the GT World Challenge Europe, in which Raffaele Marciello has good prospects in second place of the drivers’ standings, the intermediate results are also playing a role. Moreover, the four Pro cars from Mercedes-AMG Motorsport are eligible to score points for the Intercontinental GT Challenge that will be continued in the course of the season with rounds at Indianapolis (USA) and Kyalami (South Africa).
In qualifying on Thursday, 29th July, the 20 cars will be determined that will be battling for the positions at the front of the starting grid on Friday from 8.30pm. The start of the 73rd Spa 24-hour race is on Saturday, 31st July, at 4.30pm.
Christoph Sagemüller, head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport: “This year, the Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race is a very special event for all of us. With the class win for the legendary 300 SEL 6.8 AMG, colloquially also known as “rote Sau”, half a century ago, the AMG name became immediately known all over the world. This 50-year anniversary is making the race at Spa an emotional highlight on the calendar. As an homage, a Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be racing with the historic livery and with starting number 50 this year.”
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “The 24-hour race at Spa is always one of the undisputed highlights of the season for us. With a total of 13 cars, Mercedes-AMG will be one of the brands with the strongest representation in the field. This strong line-up underlines the significance this race has always had for us. This year, again, we have set ourselves the goal to be a strong contender for the overall win. The 50-year anniversary is giving us some additional motivation for this goal. In the various classes, we are also counting ourselves in with chances of podium results. One of the most challenging endurance races of them all is awaiting us, but we are in a very good position for it.”