Mercedes-AMG secures overall win and two IGTC championship titles in Lenovo Gulf 12 Hours.

  • Overall win: Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM #99 wins season finale at Yas Marina Circuit
  • Drivers’ title: Jules Gounon is the 2023 Intercontinental GT Challenge champion, Luca Stolz becomes runner-up 
  • Manufacturers’ championship: successful title defence by Mercedes-AMG


The Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams concluded the 2023 motorsport season in a perfect way during the finale of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli (IGTC). For the first time in his career, Performance Driver Jules Gounon (AND) was crowned as the drivers’ champion of the intercontinental endurance race series at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Together with his teammates Maximilian Götz and Fabian Schiller (both GER), he raced the #14 Mercedes-AMG GT3 run by Mercedes-AMG Team 2 Seas to third place. After 348 laps, the overall win in the Lenovo Gulf 12 Hours went to the #99 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM entry with Maro Engel (GER), Mikaël Grenier (CAN) and Luca Stolz (GER). With this double podium result, Mercedes-AMG moved up into the top of the manufacturers’ standings and thus secured the trophy for the best manufacturer for the second consecutive time.

No less than four drivers had come to the United Arab Emirates with realistic chances of winning the IGTC drivers’ title. Jules Gounon was the favourite going into the race, eight and 14 points ahead of Philipp Eng (AUT) and Dries Vanthoor (BEL) respectively. Fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Luca Stolz also had mathematical chances of winning the title, 18 points down. In the manufacturers’ standings, Mercedes-AMG was in the hunter’s role, nine points in arrears.

Qualifying: Mercedes-AMG Teams get themselves into ideal grid positions
During the four-part qualifying on Saturday, twice interrupted by red flags, the Mercedes-AMG Teams got themselves the necessary confidence for this achievement. Maro Engel, Mikaël Grenier and Luca Stolz secured pole position with the #99 Mercedes-AMG GT3 in an action-packed session (average time: 1m 51.272s). Maximilian Götz, Jules Gounon and Fabian Schiller rounded out the front row of the grid for Mercedes-AMG Team 2 Seas. With the #77 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM car, the third Performance car also started in the top 5. The 7TSix Mercedes-AMG GT3 had incurred damage during an incident and was unable to take part in the Gulf 12 Hours on Sunday as planned. 

Race start: Performance cars come in early for pit stops
Strategic decisions by the favourites particularly made their mark on the opening third of the Gulf 12 Hours on Sunday. Within the first four laps, all five Pro cars completed a tactical stop and initially dropped to the back of the field. The advantage that the teams had hoped for subsequently disappeared due to a pair of yellow flag situations, requiring action from the teams as they now had to work their way up on track. The #99 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM car came into the pits once more during a full course yellow and temporarily was one lap down as a result.

Subsequently, it took a few hours for the field to sort itself out again. After a little over four fours, Maximilian Götz took the overall lead with the #14 Mercedes-AMG Team 2 Seas car and thus got his teammate Jules Gounon into the best possible position for the title battle. At the halfway point of the race, the #99 car was back on the lead lap again in third place overall.

Closing stages: Mercedes-AMG GT3s #99 and #14 in contention for victory
A safety car intervention bunched up the field once again for the final third of the race. The race-leading Mercedes-AMG Team 2 Seas used this situation to replace the brakes that were under particular load at the 5.281 kilometres long track. After that, the #14 Mercedes-AMG GT3 rejoined in third place. At this time, it transpired already that this position would be sufficient for Jules Gounon to secure the drivers’ championship he was aiming at. As the #99 car moved up into the race lead by virtue of a quick pit stop by Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM, Mercedes-AMG was in the lead of the manufacturers’ standings as well.

With a fautless performance in the remainder of the race, the drivers held on to their promising positions. Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM with Maro Engel, Mikaël Grenier and Luca Stolz brought the third overall success for Mercedes-AMG in the Gulf 12 Hours home in a commanding way. Classified third, Jules Gounon was crowned the Intercontinental GT Challenge drivers’ champion for the first time. After the success for Daniel Juncadella (ESP) last year, this is the second consecutive title as well as the third in the eight-year IGTC history for a Mercedes-AMG Driver. During the season, Jules Gounon particularly convinced with his consistency: he finished on the podium in all of the five endurance races. With the overall win at Yas Marina Circuit, Luca Stolz secured runner-up spot in the drivers’ standings. The #77 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM car with Lucas Auer (AUT) and young drivers Frank Bird (GBR) and Lorenzo Ferrari (ITA), who had qualified for their race participation in the AMG Young Driver Test, rounded out a strong result in fourth place. By virtue of the fantastic overall achievement in Abu Dhabi, Mercedes-AMG still concluded the year in first place of the manufacturers’ standings and, also for the second consecutive year, is allowed to bring the manufacturers’ trophy to Affalterbach.

Class results: podium success for 2 Seas Motorsport in the Am class
The race also brought success in the Am class. Isa Al Khalifa (BHR), Al Faisal Al Zubair (OMA) and Ian Loggie (GBR) drove the #3 Mercedes-AMG GT3 run by 2 Seas Motorsport to second place in their category.  Dominik Baumann (AUT), Philip Ellis (SUI), Kenny Habul (AUS) and Martin Konrad (AUT) were also on course for a Pro-Am class podium result for a long time with the #75 SunEnergy1 Racing entry. Due to an engine issue, however, they had to park their car for safety reasons with five minutes remaining in the race.

The new Intercontinental GT Challenge season gets underway with the Bathurst 12 Hour at Mount Panorama Circuit (Australia) on 18th February 2024. After that, on 1st June, the Nürburgring 24-hour race will be part of the series’ calendar for the first time. Two further races will follow at Spa-Francorchamps (29th June) and Indianapolis (6th October). Next year, the Gulf 12 Hours will again be held as a single event.

“After the successful start at Bathurst, we sometimes had difficulties in the course of the season in showing the required performance. Now, of course, we are very happy that we are able to celebrate the drivers’ championship for Jules Gounon and the manufacturers’ championship for Mercedes-AMG on top after a thrilling 12-hour race here in Abu Dhabi. All in all, it was an intense and demanding year for everyone, so therefore, I am very proud of everyone involved, they have absolutely deserved this success with their relentless efforts.”
Christoph Sagemüller, head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport

“It was an unpredictable race today. With two cars on the front row of the grid, we were in a promising initial position. We had opted to run the cars on split strategies. For Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM, that was connected with a big risk. At the same time, Mercedes-AMG Team 2 Seas had the strategy of the opposition covered. Eventually, we managed to move back up into the lead. Congratulations to GruppeM on this fantastic victory and of course to 2 Seas that have secured the championship for Jules upon the first outing as a Performance Team. Fourth place for our junior car deserves to be mentioned as well. Frank and Lorenzo fought hard, together with Lucas, and brought fourth place home. All in all a super result for Mercedes-AMG.”
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing

“An unbelievable end to this season. The championship title in the Intercontinental GT Challenge feels like the unofficial world championship. I would like to thank Mercedes-AMG. The past three years were unbelievable. We have won so much together, it is just crazy. I am already looking forward to the upcoming years in which we hopefully will celebrate a similar number of achievements. Thanks also to my teammates this year. In this high-class, worldwide series, we were successful with many different driver line-ups and teams throughout the season. That shows that everybody at this brand is working at the highest level.”
Jules Gounon, Mercedes-AMG Team 2 Seas #14

“We are overjoyed to have secured this victory in the final race of the year. With Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM, we have shown good achievements all year long, but it was never enough for victory. Therefore, it is even more beautiful that it now worked out in the final race. Many thanks to the team. The fact that we have won the manufacturers’ title for Mercedes-AMG as a result and that Jules is the drivers’ champion is making it unforgettable.”
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM #99

“Ending the season with a highlight is always good. Initially, we had some bad luck with a longer pit stop. As a result, we had to get back onto the lead lap, which is never easy. Then, however, we also were lucky by being able to close up again thanks to the safety car. Especially at daytime, our pace was very good. We are happy to pick up this win prior to going into the winter break.”
Mikaël Grenier, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM #99

“First of all, I am happy that we have won and that I still became runner-up, of course. I am particularly happy for the team that has worked hard all year long. We were fast throughout the weekend, and we opted for the right strategy. The season already got off to a good start with victory at Bathurst. After that, it wasn’t always easy. Therefore, it is even more beautiful to conclude the year with a win.”
Luca Stolz, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM #99

“All in all, I am very happy with the weekend. Thanks to the team for the hard work and, of course, also to Lucas and Lorenzo. I would also like to thank Mercedes-AMG for getting the opportunity to put myself into the limelight during the Young Driver Test at Valencia. I hope that I have made a slight impression with my race and that I get a chance again in the future as well.”
Frank Bird, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM #77


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