2020 season opener


Mercedes-AMG Motorsport to start its anniversary season with new GT3 car.

MercedesAMGCustomerRacing_SeasonPreview_2020_Header.jpg

  • Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing is celebrating tenth anniversary in 2020
  • New Mercedes-AMG GT3 to make its official competition debut in Dubai
  • Worldwide Customer Racing programme in 30 countries 

 

For Mercedes-AMG, the 2020 season marks the tenth anniversary of its Customer Racing programme. After the impressive achievements in the previous years, the goal is for the success story from Affalterbach to be continued in the anniversary year. The Mercedes-AMG GT3, newly developed to this end, comes with numerous technical optimisations and will already be making its official competition debut during the season opener in Dubai (9-11 January). With the Rolex 24 At Daytona (22-26 January), the next endurance racing highlight already follows at the end of January, in which Mercedes-AMG intends to defend its title in the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, immediately followed by the Bathurst 12 Hours, the start of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. In the hands of the Customer Racing Teams, the GT3 and GT4 cars from Affalterbach will be doing everything to score titles and race wins all over the world in 2020 as well to crown the anniversary year.

The Customer Racing programme having been founded in 2010, the performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach is meanwhile taking on its tenth season of GT racing. The legendary gullwing, the SLS AMG GT3, already enjoyed early maiden success in its debut season and enthused teams, drivers and fans with its unmistakable design and sound in equal measure. From 2016 and 2018 onwards, the respective successors with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the Mercedes-AMG GT4 raised the bar for success even higher. In 2019, the Customer Racing teams seamlessly continued from the record season 2018 and celebrated over 40 championship wins. In the process, titles in renowned race series such as the Blancpain GT Series, VLN Langstreckenmeisterschaft Nürburgring and not least victory in the FIA GT World Cup at Macau once again underlined Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing’s ambition to dominate in the GT segment.*

This year, the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams will again be competing in high-class and internationally popular motorsport formats. With the Intercontinental GT Challenge, the GT World Challenge (formerly Blancpain GT Series), the North American IMSA race series, the Nürburgring Langstrecken-Serie (formerly VLN Langstreckenmeisterschaft Nürburgring), ADAC GT Masters and the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps, numerous renowned motorsport events are in the limelight again in 2020, next to many other race series in around 30 countries worldwide. Not least, the title defence in the FIA GT World Cup at Macau in November is at the top of the agenda. In 2020, the new Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the refreshed Mercedes-AMG GT4 will be present as well for the first time in 2020. The Dubai 24 Hours (9-11 January / 24H Series), the Rolex 24 At Daytona (22-26 January / IMSA) and the Bathurst 12 Hours in Australia (30 January-2 February / IGTC) mark the start of the season. 

Mercedes-AMG and BLACK FALCON aiming at fifth Dubai victory
The new Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be making its official competition debut for 2020 in the season opener at Dubai (9-11 January). Next to an overhauled design, the car also shines with numerous technical optimisations. Here, the teams SPS automotive performance (#10) and CP Racing (#85) that are also part of the wider circle of favourites for success in the 24-hour race in the desert metropolis will be running the evolution version. The same can be said for the BLACK FALCON team that has already scored four overall wins in the Dubai 24-hour race (2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018).  In the 15th running of the event, the team from Meuspath in Germany intends to add the fifth outright win with the #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 and drivers Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE), Ben Barker (GBR), Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED), Hubert Haupt (GER) and Manuel Metzger (GER). Five further Mercedes-AMG GT3s of the teams HTP WINWARD Motorsport (#84), MP Motorsports (#19), Team Hong Kong Craft-Bamboo Racing (#69) and Toksport WRT (#70 and #777) as well as four Mercedes-AMG GT4s of the teams Atlas BX Motorsports (#403), Ciceley Motorsport (#462), Leipert Motorsport (#410) and QSR Racing (#754) round out the line-up at the 5.39 kilometre long Dubai Autodrome. The race gets underway on Friday, 10 January, at 15.00 hrs local time (noon CET).

Mission title defence in North America
Hardly a fortnight later, the next 24-hour highlight for Mercedes-AMG beckons with the Rolex 24 At Daytona (22-26 January). Traditionally, the classic endurance race serves as the season opener of the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and therefore, it is here that the mission title defence is starting for Riley Motorsports and Mercedes-AMG Motorsport as well. In 2019, the triple of drivers’, teams’ and manufacturers’ title in the GTD class of the Michelin Endurance Cup was achieved with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the third consecutive year. With the quartet of Lawson Aschenbach (USA), Felipe Fraga (BRA), Ben Keating (USA) and Gar Robinson (USA) behind the wheel of the #74 Mercedes-AMG GT3, the foundation for further championship success is to be laid at the legendary Daytona International Speedway. The race starts on Saturday, 25 January, at 13.35 hrs local time (19.35 hrs CET). Teams already successfully completed initial test laps of the 5.7 kilometres long track during the three-day ‘Roar Before the Rolex 24’ test in early January.

Also at Daytona Beach, the four-hour season opening race of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge will be held. Thanks to invariably strong achievements by the Customer Racing Teams, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport was able to secure its maiden manufacturers’ title win in the series last year and therefore will be starting the 2020 season as the defending champion here as well. During the season opener, there will be a total of eight GT4 cars from the teams Bluff City Racing / Autometrics Motorsports (#14), Winward Racing (#33 and #57), Riley Motorsports (#35), Murillo Racing (#56 and #65), RENNtech Motorsports (#90) and Scuderia 111 (tba) on the grid.

Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “Ten years of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing, that is something really special to us. In the past decade, we have had extraordinary achievements and worked hard to secure a leading position in the international customer racing segment. For our anniversary year, our aim is to defend this position and to reinforce it with further achievements. Like in the previous years, this season again includes many important races in high-class series around the globe, and in the odd series in which we just missed out on winning the title in 2019, we want to get the title back to Affalterbach in the new year. Traditionally, the classic endurance races at Dubai and Daytona are the start, with even more anticipation from us because of the participation of the new Mercedes-AMG GT3. We wish all teams and drivers good luck in the new 2020 season.”

*Review: Detailed information about the 2019 season can be found in the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Press Kit 2019.

Mercedes-AMG GT3 and GT4 in the Dubai 24 Hours*:

Nr.

Class

Car
 

Team
 

Drivers

4

GT3-PRO

Mercedes-AMG GT3

BLACK FALCON

Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE)
Ben Barker (GBR)
Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED)
Hubert Haupt (GER)
Manuel Metzger (GER)

10

GT3-PRO

Mercedes-AMG GT3

SPS automotive performance

Lance David Arnold (GER)
Dominik Baumann (AUT)
Tom Onslow-Cole (GBR)
Valentin Pierburg (GER)

19

GT3-AM

Mercedes-AMG GT3

MP Motorsport

Bert de Heus (NED,
Daniel de Jong (NED)
Henk de Jong (NED)
Jaap van Lagen (NED)

69

GT3-AM

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Team Hong Kong Craft-Bamboo Racing

Antares Au (HKG)
Jonathan Hui (HKG)
Kevin Tse (MAC)
Frank Yu (HKG)

70

GT3-AM

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Toksport WRT

Axcil Jefferies (ZIM)
Alexander Hrachowina (AUT)
George Kurtz (USA)

84

GT3-PRO

Mercedes-AMG GT3

HTP WINWARD Motorsport

Al Faisal Al Zubair (OMA)
Maximilian Buhk (GER)
Christopher Brück (GER)
Maximilian Götz (GER)

85

GT3-AM

Mercedes-AMG GT3

CP Racing

Charles Espenlaub (USA)
Joe Foster (USA)
Mike Hedlund (USA)
Shane Lewis (USA)
Charles Putman (USA)

777

GT3-PRO

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Toksport WRT

Patrick Assenheimer (GER)
Philip Ellis (GER)
Maro Engel (GER)
Martin Konrad (AUT)
Luca Stolz (GER)

403

GT4

Mercedes-AMG GT4

Atlas BX Motorsports

Steven Cho (CAN)
Jongkyum Kim (KOR)
Jaesung Park (KOR)
Masataka Yanagida (JPN)

410

GT4

Mercedes-AMG GT4

Leipert Motorsport

Kenneth Heyer (GER)
Fidel Leib (GER)
Ronny Lethmate (GER)
Melvin Moh (MAS)
Han Songting (CHN)

462

GT4

Mercedes-AMG GT4

Ciceley Motorsport

Jake Giddings (GBR)
Katarina Kyvalova (SVK)
Jon Minshaw (GBR)

754

GTX

Mercedes-AMG GT4

QSR Racing

Olivier Bertels (BEL)
Jimmy de Breucker (BEL)
Michiel Verhaeren (BEL)

Mercedes-AMG GT3 and GT4 in the Rolex 24 At Daytona*:

Nr.

Class

Car
 

Team
 

Drivers
 

74

GTD

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Riley Motorsports

Lawson Aschenbach (USA)
Felipe Fraga (BRA)
Ben Keating (USA)
Gar Robinson (USA)

14

GS

Mercedes-AMG GT4

Bluff City Racing / Autometrics Motorsports

Dan Clarke (USA)
Cory Friedman (USA)
Anton Dias Perera (USA)

33

GS

Mercedes-AMG GT4

Winward Racing

Indy Dontje (NED)
Russel Ward (USA)

35

GS

Mercedes-AMG GT4

Riley Motorsports

Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED)
Jim Cox (USA)
Dylan Murry (USA)

56

GS

Mercedes-AMG GT4

Murillo Racing

Eric Foss (USA)
Jeff Mosing (USA)

57

GS

Mercedes-AMG GT4

Winward Racing

Philip Ellis (GER)
Bryce Ward (USA)

65

GS

Mercedes-AMG GT4

Murillo Racing

Justin Piscitell (USA)
Tim Probert (USA)

90

GS

Mercedes-AMG GT4

RENNtech Motorsports

Corey Lewis (USA)
Sheena Monk (USA)

tba

GS

Mercedes-AMG GT4

Scuderia 111

Atila Abreu (BRA)
Leonardo Sanchez (BRA)

* subject to last-minute changes