GT World Challenge Europe: Third place for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing in season-opening race.

  • Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed on the podium after strong recovery
  • #57, #10 and #90 achieve an impressive 1-2-3 in SILVER Cup
  • Stefan Wendl: “It was an intense season opener at Paul Ricard for our Customer Racing Teams”

Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing has started the new Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS season with an overall podium result. The #2 Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed car finished third overall as the best-placed Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the three-hour race at Circuit Paul Ricard. Defending champion Jules Gounon (AND), Fabian Schiller and Luca Stolz (both GER) initially dropped from third to seventh place in a turbulent opening part with several interruptions. Subsequently, however, the trio managed to prove its comeback qualities and to reestablish the contact to the front-running group. At the finish, the team was around 18 seconds down on the overall winners. The #48 Mercedes-AMG Team MANN-FILTER car, raced by Lucas Auer (AUT), Maro Engel (GER) and Daniel Morad (CAN), also was able to make up some positions during the race. With five minutes remaining, however, the Performance team was forced to retire while on course for a top 10 result as a consequence of damage on the front right part of the car, incurred during the middle stint.

Individual classifications: a commanding 1-2-3 in SILVER Cup
The Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams got off to a perfect start in the SILVER Cup with ten participants. Following Madpanda Motorsport's class pole position ahead of fellow Mercedes-AMG teams Winward Racing and Boutsen VDS, the race cars from Affalterbach also locked out the first three positions in their category in the race. The #57 from Winward Racing with Daan Arrow, Colin Caresani (both NED) and Tanart Sathienthirakul (THA) secured the class win. The #10 Boutsen VDS entry with Cesar Gazeau (FRA), Roee Meyuhas (USA) and Aurélien Panis (FRA) followed in second place. The #90 of Madpanda Motorsport with Patrick Assenheimer (GER) and Ezequiel Perez Companc (ARG) rounded out the podium. AlManar Racing by GetSpeed was also delighted with a podium finish: Al Faisal Al Zubair (OMA), Dominik Baumann (AUT) and Mikaël Grenier (CAN) finished second in GOLD Cup with the #777 car. 

Support categories: AM class win by AKKODIS ASP Team in GT2 European Series
Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing celebrated further class achievements in the first two races of the Fanatec GT2 European Series powered by Pirelli on Saturday. In Race 1, Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Gilles Vannelet (both FRA) were rewarded for their strong performance in the #87 GT2 run by the AKKODIS ASP Team with victory in the AM classification. In the second one-hour race, the French duo finished second in class. The Fanatec GT4 European Series powered by Rafa Racing Club also got its new season underway with a pair of races in the south of France. In the first race on Saturday, Lluc Ibañez (ESP) and Alexandre Papadopulos (USA) finished third overall in the #15 Mercedes-AMG GT4 of the NM Racing Team.

The next venue for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS is Brands Hatch. The long-standing British circuit will be hosting the first two Sprint Cup races on 4 and 5 May. The endurance racing calendar continues with the famous CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa, held at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps from 28 till 30 June.

Race Facts: 
- Participants: 54 cars (19 PRO, 6 GOLD, 10 SILVER, 19 BRONZE)
- Race distance winner: 85 laps / 490.53 kilometres / 3h 00m 25s 
- Yellow flag phases: 4 (each with safety car intervention)
- Racing time under green: 2h 28m 31s 
- Fastest qualifying lap: 1m 52.752s (Fabian Schiller, Mercedes-AMG GT3 #2, Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed, Qualifying 2)
- Fastest practice lap: 1m 53.912s (Jules Gounon, Mercedes-AMG GT3 #2, Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed)
- Mercedes-AMG record Paul Ricard: 8 wins (1 OVERALL, 4 SILVER, 3 PRO-AM)
- Mercedes-AMG Teams with GT World Challenge debut: Boutsen VDS, 2 Seas Motorsport
-Miscellaneous: Mercedes-AMG Junior Driver Jusuf Owega (GER) celebrated his 22nd birthday on Saturday


“It was an intense season opener at Paul Ricard for our customer sports teams. Having been able to position ourselves favourably across all classes in qualifying, we lacked a bit of pace in the battle for the overall win this time. Therefore we are very happy with third place overall. Second place for AlManar Racing by Getspeed in GOLD Cup and the first three positions in SILVER Cup as well as an overall podium in the GT4 European Series and further achievements in the GT2 European Series round off a successful weekend.”
Stefan Wendl, Head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing

“We had a difficult weekend because we lacked some top speed in traffic. Still, we delivered a faultless race, chose the right strategy and worked well together as a team. In my opinion, it's a well-deserved podium because we did a good job together. That's also important from a mental perspective. We wanted to avoid traffic with the strategy and that worked out quite well.”
Fabian Schiller, Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed #2 

“From our point of view, it was an unfortunate race today. It started in qualifying when we sold ourselves short because of traffic. Therefore, the race strategy was to attack to the full in order to get to the front. The pace was also very strong at times indeed and we were able to work our way back up into the top 10. Unfortunately, we had slight damage, which is why we didn't bring the car home.”
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team MANN-FILTER #48

“The first race with a new team, so we can be satisfied with 16th place. Our team-mates even made it onto the podium in Silver Cup. We started from a long way back, moved up to twelfth place and then dropped back again. We now have to sit down, take what we have learnt from the weekend and improve. Boutsen VDS is a big name in motorsport, you can see that from their professional approach. That's why I'm confident for the next races.”
Maximilian Götz, Boutsen VDS #9

“Actually, the race went well. We lost some time during the pit stop, which is probably why we missed out on the class win. We now have to look at that again. The entire team and my fellow drivers all did a good job. We want to build on this and come back even better at the next race, the 24 Hours of Spa.”
Mikaël Grenier, AlManar Racing by GetSpeed #777

“This was my maiden race in GT World Challenge Europe. Negotiations with Winward Racing were still ongoing in January. The fact that I can be here now and win the first race in class straight away is a great feeling. Competition in the series is really close. Here I can compete with the greatest racing drivers in GT racing. And that is also my goal: I want to use this year to improve further and take the next step.”
Colin Caresani, Winward Racing #57


>> Full results GT World Challenge Europe at Le Castellet