- Mercedes-AMG starts hunt for the Intercontinental GT Challenge title
- New Mercedes-AMG GT3 to make its IGTC debut at Bathurst
- A total of six Mercedes-AMG GT3s in IGTC season opener
For the 18th running of the prestigious Bathurst 12-hour race (31 January-2 February), Mercedes-AMG Motorsport is entering a total of six Mercedes-AMG GT3s. Next to four Customer Racing cars, there will also be three GT3s with extended works support in action at the 6.213 km long Mount Panorama Circuit. In the process, the Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Black Falcon (#77), Triple Eight Race Engineering (#888) and GruppeM Racing (#999) will all be running the new Mercedes-AMG GT3 that already made its successful competition debut at Dubai and will also be racing at Daytona. The goal for the race is clear: following second- and third-place finishes in 2018 and 2019 respectively, the performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach intends to claim victory and thus get itself into a promising position for the remaining races of the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli (IGTC). Having just missed out on the drivers’ and manufacturers’ title last year, the double title win is the goal for 2020.
With its pair of podium finishes in 2018 and 2019, Mercedes-AMG can look back upon a successful track record in the Bathurst 12-hour race. Now, this success story is to be continued in the 18th running of the endurance race event, Mercedes-AMG aiming at laying the foundation for yet another successful season in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. After becoming runner-up in the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships last year, Mercedes-AMG will now be attacking again to claim back the IGTC crown that last went to Affalterbach in 2018 by virtue of the title wins in both drivers’ championships (overall and bronze standings).
In this year’s record field at Bathurst (eleven manufacturers, 40 cars), Mercedes-AMG is competing with six GT3 cars – no other manufacturer has a higher number of participants this year. Having made its Bathurst debut with third place right away last year, the Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing is again part of the field. Maximilian Buhk (GER) and Raffaele Marciello (ITA), who already drove the #999 car last year and became third and fourth in the drivers’ standings at the end of the season respectively, will get support from Felipe Fraga (BRA) at Mount Panorama. The Brazilian is joining the team as the reigning GTD endurance champion of the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Another GT3 car with extended works support will be run by Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Black Falcon. With Yelmer Buurman (NED), Maro Engel (GER) and Luca Stolz (GER), three further highly decorated drivers will be sharing driving duties in the #77 entry. The line-up of the Performance cars, all of them with the new Mercedes-AMG GT3, will be completed by the #888 Mercedes-AMG Team Triple Eight Race Engineering car with Shane Van Gisbergen (NZL), Jamie Whincup (AUS) and Maximilian Götz (GER), the runner-up from the 2019 IGTC.
On top of that, there will be three Customer Racing cars in action at Bathurst with justified hopes of good class results in the Pro-Am category and the Silver Cup. For the team Triple Eight Race Engineering, Nick Foster (AUS), Anton de Pasquale (AUS), Sam Shahin (AUS) and Yasser Shahin (AUS) will be driving the #777 Mercedes-AMG GT3. The team SunEnergy1 Racing led by 2018 IGTC Bronze title winner Kenny Habul (AUS), runs another Mercedes-AMG GT3. In the #75 car, Habul will be alternating with Dominik Baumann (AUT), Martin Konrad (AUT) and David Reynolds (AUS). Moreover, Patrick Assenheimer (GER), Sergej Afanasiev (RUS) and a further driver (tba) will be racing the #46 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3.
The race start of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour is on Sunday, 2 February, 5.45 hrs local time. For the sixth time in a row, Mercedes-AMG will also be providing the official Safety Car for the event. Like in previous years, a Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ (combined fuel consumption: 10.8 l/100 km, combined CO2 emission: 245 g/km)1 will provide on-track safety and will be supported by additional Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC Course Cars (combined fuel consumption: 9.3-9.1 l/100 km, combined CO2 emission: 213-208 g/km)1. Moreover, Mercedes-AMG Australia is staging a support programme with an exclusive Rooftop Lounge at the Hotel Rydges Mount Panorama with an impressive view of the track section ‘The Chase’ for its around 200 guests on site.
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “We are looking forward to Bathurst and the start of the IGTC season full of anticipation. The circuit at Mount Panorama is tailor-made for a spectacular season opener and the record field is giving the event even more prestige than it has already anyway. Having scored impressive achievements in the IGTC in 2019 and eventually having managed to secure runner-up spot in the drivers’ and manufacturers’ standings, it is obvious that we want to be on the top step this year. To do so, we have a top line-up of teams and drivers. Of course, at the same time, we are well aware that the IGTC is attracting the world’s best drivers and manufacturers every year and that, therefore, we will be faced with huge competition in the battle for the championship, but that is exactly what we are looking forward to! I wish all drivers and teams a successful and thrilling season!”
Driver/team allocation Mercedes-AMG, Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour*:
Mercedes-AMG GT3 2016
Patrick Assenheimer (GER)
Sergej Afanasiev (RUS)
Mercedes-AMG GT3 2016
Dominik Baumann (AUT)
Kenny Habul (AUS)
Martin Konrad (AUT)
David Reynolds (AUS)
Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Black Falcon
Maro Engel (GER)
Yelmer Buurman (NED)
Luca Stolz (GER)
Mercedes-AMG GT3 2016
Triple Eight Race Engineering
Nick Foster (AUS)
Anton de Pasquale (AUS)
Sam Shahin (AUS)
Yasser Shahin (AUS)
Mercedes-AMG Team Triple Eight Race Engineering
Shane van Gisbergen (NZL)
Maximilian Götz (GER)
Jamie Whincup (AUS)
Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing
Maximilian Buhk (GER)
Felipe Fraga (BRA)
Raffaele Marciello (ITA)
* subject to last-minute changes