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A three-hour endurance race at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza with its long heritage marks the start of the new Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS season on 23rd April. For the season-opening event in the north of Italy, the seven customer sport teams have set themselves high goals and want to confirm the successful achievement of the past year. In 2022, Mercedes-AMG Team AKKODIS ASP won the teams’ title in the Endurance and overall standings during the season finale in Barcelona. Already having won the overall championship, Raffaele Marciello (SUI) also secured the trophy for the best endurance racing driver.

AKKODIS ASP Team and Raffaele Marciello hope for joint title defence

Both the AKKODIS ASP Team with a pair of PRO class cars and Marciello are again part of the high-class GT World Challenge Europe field. The defending champion is sharing driving duties in the #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Timur Boguslavskiy (FIA) and Jules Gounon (AND). The #87 Performance sister car, running under the Mercedes-AMG Team AKKODIS ASP entry, will have Thomas Drouet (FRA), Lorenzo Ferrari (ITA) and Maximilian Götz (GER) as its drivers. Eight further Mercedes-AMG GT3s have been entered for the Endurance Cup. Mercedes-AMG Team AlManar has registered the third car in the PRO category. Running of the Performance car with starting number #777 that has Maro Engel, Fabian Schiller and Luca Stolz (all GER) as its drivers, is handled by GetSpeed this year. The team was already responsible for the performance entry of a Mercedes-AMG GT3 in 2022.

Winward Racing has expanded its involvement with another car and has entered two Mercedes-AMG GT3s for 2023, both running in the GOLD category. The GT3-experienced trio of Indy Dontje (NED), Philip Ellis (SUI) and Russell Ward (USA) will drive the #57 car. Miklas Born (SUI), David Schumacher and Marius Zug (both GER) are to rack up more experience at the highest level behind the wheel of the #157 Mercedes-AMG GT3.

Like last year already, Madpanda Motorsport is competing in the Silver Cup with the #90 Mercedes-AMG GT3. In the five Endurance Cup events, team owner Ezequiel Perez Companc (ARG) will be supported by Magnus Gustavsen (NOR) and 19-year-old Alexey Nesov (BUL). GetSpeed is also competing in this category with one Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Lance Bergstein (USA), Andrzej Lewandowski (POL) and Aaron Walker (GBR) sharing the wheel of the #2 car.

Both teams have also entered one car each for the BRONZE category. With the #3 GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG GT3,  Patrick Assenheimer (GER), Alex Peroni (AUS) and Florian Scholze (GER) are taking on the challenges of the Endurance Cup. Sébastien Baud (FRA), Hubert Haupt (GER) and Arjun Maini (IND) hope for regular class successes with the #79 of Haupt Racing Team that is competing in the GT World Challenge Europe for the fourth year in a row. New for this year in the GT World Challenge Europe is Theeba Motorsport. The team has also submitted its entry for the BRONTE category with its #81 Mercedes-AMG GT3. The line-up for the inaugural season consists of Ralf Aron (EST), Reema Juffali (KSA) and Alain Valente (SUI).

CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa highlight of the Endurance Cup race calendar

With this high-quality line-up, Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing is taking on the five rounds of the Endurance Cup. After the season opener at Monza, the series heads to the south of France where the Circuit Paul Ricard 1000km will be held on 3rd June. The subsequent CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa (27th June – 2nd July) is the undisputed highlight of the GT World Challenge Europe season again this year. After the three-hour race at the Nürburgring (30th July), the battle for the championship will again be decided at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (1st October).

Six Mercedes-AMG GT3s on the Sprint Cup entry list

The separate Sprint Cup gets its new season underway with a pair of one-hour races at Brands Hatch on 13th and 14th May. Here, AKKODIS ASP Team is running the #88 car as the only PRO entry for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing and again relies on Timur Boguslavskiy and Raffaele Marciello for this year. The duo concluded the previous season as runners-up. Moreover, the French team is running another Mercedes-AMG GT3. Eric Debard and Jim Pla (both FRA) are racing the #87 Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the BRONZE Cup.

Madpanda Motorsport has Ezequiel Perez Companc and Jesse Salmenautio (FIN) as the drivers of its #90 Mercedes-AMG GT3 entered in the Silver Cup. Haupt Racing Team is also competing in the Silver Cup with drivers Frank Bird and Jordan Love. On top of that, HRT also participates in the BRONZE category with the #79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 raced by Sébastien Baud and Hubert Haupt. Theeba Motorsport, running the #81 Mercedes-AMG GT3 for Ralf Aron and Reema Juffali, rounds out the BRONZE line-up.

Like the Endurance Cup, the Sprint competition also has a calendar of five race events. Each weekend is a double-header with a pair of one-hour races. After the season opener at Brands Hatch, further events are held at Misano (15th and 16th July), Hockenheim (2nd and 3rd September), Valencia (16th and 17th September) and Zandvoort (14th and 15th October).

Mercedes-AMG customer sports teams intend to confirm their achievements of the previous season

After last year‘s successful achievements, the Mercedes-AMG customer sport teams have accordingly high goals going into the 2023 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe season. Next to the teams’ and drivers’ championships in the overall standings and the Endurance Cup, another title is waiting to be defended as well: SPS automotive performance, focusing on its involvement in other race series this year, was crowned the PRO-AM Teams’ champion in 2022. For this season, the PRO-AM category was renamed as BRONZE Cup. Moreover, Mercedes-AMG is the reigning champion in the intercontinental manufacturers’ competition that, next to the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe, also includes the GT World Challenge America, GT World Challenge Asia and GT World Challenge Australia.

“Together with our teams, we have enjoyed some wonderful moments in the 2022 GT World Challenge Europe. Anticipation for the season opener at Monza is accordingly high. This year, we have a great line-up once again and we absolutely have the potential to repeat the achievements from the past season. In the various classes, we want to be in contention for victories in every race. And who knows? When everything runs well, perhaps we can reward ourselves with the overall manufacturers’ title again. But of course, to do so, we must deliver top achievements continuously on the other continents, too.”

Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing

Source. Mercedes


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