Stefan Wendl: “We see ourselves well placed to compete for titles and individual race victories in all arenas”
The year has already started very promisingly for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport, with victories and podium finishes in Dubai, Daytona and Bathurst. Stefan Wendl also sees good prospects for a successful GT campaign in 2018. The head of the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Program takes a look at the upcoming highlights of the calendar.
- News from the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport teams
- Three questions for Stefan Wendl
- Social media news: What’s new online
EQ Power+: Last year, the Formula 1 Silver Arrow car was given a brand-new name. This has been carried over to its successor: the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+. But what does the name actually stand for? The EQ Power+ designation and the advanced hybrid power unit of this Formula 1 car put it right at the forefront of the future Mercedes-AMG model range. After all, Formula 1 is the perfect test bed for new technologies that will eventually be used in road-going cars as well. Formula 1 trials hybrid technology on the world’s toughest racetracks at tremendous speeds and under the most challenging conditions. An example of how Formula 1 technology is driving the future of motorsport and automotive technology in general.
More on this topic: f1.mb4.me/heq1FGrP
DTM testing: It’s that time of year again when the roar of the DTM engines can be heard on track. Following the fitness camp in La Manga, the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Team travel to Vallelunga in Italy for the first test drives of the year (1st - 3rd March). Lucas Auer, Gary Paffett and DTM returnee Pascal Wehrlein will be taking turns in the cockpit of a Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM.
Three questions for Stefan Wendl
Stefan, 2018 has got off to a promising start. But now the motorsport season is about to get underway in earnest. What are the calendar highlights from a Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Program perspective, and what are the objectives you have set yourselves?
Stefan Wendl: First of all, of course, I’m delighted by the successful start our Customer Racing teams have made to the new season. Winning in Dubai was absolutely great – a victory in the first 24-hour race of the year always sends out a clear statement of intent. At Daytona and Bathurst, our cars were in contention for victory and earned vital championship points towards the Intercontinental GT Challenge and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship respectively.
As far as 2018 is concerned, we have been using the past weeks and months to further perfect our products and the entire programme. We have had many constructive discussions and were able to persuade some strong newcomer teams of our merits. We will, of course, once again be challenging in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring this year with our Mercedes-AMG Performance teams. At the same time, we intend to compete in all the races of the North American Endurance Cup in the IMSA series. Another focus is on the Intercontinental GT Challenge, where we expect the best GT3 teams and manufacturers to come up against each other. So as you can see, we regard ourselves as well placed to compete for titles and individual race victories in all arenas.
2018 is the first year of action for the Mercedes-AMG GT4. What are your expectations for the debut season?
Stefan Wendl: First of all, we want to make sure that every customer receives their Mercedes-AMG GT4 in time for the start of their respective season. This is not such an easy task, as there is a very wide range of racing series and optional specifications for this vehicle, and our customer portfolio is currently becoming more internationalised. In order to meet growing demand, we have expanded our spare parts and engineering support network in the USA and Australia during the winter and we will also have a trackside presence with spare parts and engineers in Asia for customers in selected race series tracks starting in 2018. The high demand for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 shows that the SRO were right with their concept. Moreover, it is a gratifying endorsement of the hard work that our development team put into this project. The final stage in the homologation will be the official BoP tests of the SRO soon to be held at Paul Ricard. After that, the customer teams will be driving our vehicles in all GT4 series worldwide, competing for success in their respective classes.
What changes are there in the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport driver squad?
Stefan Wendl: I don’t want to give too much away, because we won’ t be holding our official kick-off event with the drivers until the end of March. But I can tell you this much: once again, we have not been idle during the winter, and we have consolidated in a targeted fashion. After his strong showing in 2017 at Spa and in Macau, we have recruited Raffaele Marciello as our new Mercedes-AMG Performance driver. This is a role in which he has already performed successfully in Bathurst, and he is currently in second position in the Intercontinental GT Challenge.
Social Media News
#HelloHalo: As testing got underway, everyone will have been wondering what it’s like to drive a 2018 Formula 1 car with the new protective halo. This is what the view from the cockpit of the new Silver Arrow looks like ...
Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdH_-KKP7JE
#FirstLaps: Valtteri Bottas had the privilege of being the first driver to go out on track in the new F1 W09 EQ Power+. These were his first few minutes in the new car.
Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdrqAy0l0L4
#Paintjob: How does a Formula 1 car get its distinctive livery? How long does it take from the first conceptual design to the finished product? And what about all the designs that are discarded along the way?
Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2JLc63P7pw
#DrivenByEachOther: The launch of a new F1 car is never a straightforward matter. This is how we did it in eleven stages.
Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=uM30wvd1SwI