Customer Racing: Suzuka 10 Hours: Mercedes-AMG intends to repeat last year’s win and extend championship lead at Suzuka

06.
August 2019
Affalterbach

After the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the next endurance racing classic already beckons in the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC): in the 10-hour race at Suzuka (23-25 August), it is about valuable points for the championship in which Mercedes-AMG is leading both the drivers’ and the manufacturers’ standings. Accordingly, the goal is clear: after last year’s 1-2 with GruppeM Racing and Strakka Racing, the next race success is to be brought to Affalterbach. To do so, the performance and sports car brand is entering seven Mercedes-AMG GT3s at the 5.8 kilometres long Suzuka Circuit including four cars with extended works support that all rank among the favourites.

  • Seven Mercedes-AMG GT3s to take the start in Suzuka 10 Hours
  • Four cars with extended works support from Mercedes-AMG

Affalterbach –The race weekend at the Suzuka Circuit, a venue with a long heritage, marks the start of the hotly contested final part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge season. After rounds at Bathurst, Laguna Seca and Spa, the 10-hour race in Japan could already bring an early decision in the battle for the title. Mercedes-AMG’s track record from the races completed so far is an impressive one. For instance, the performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach has been leading the manufacturers’ standings without interruption since the opening round and with Maximilian Buhk, Maximilian Götz (both GER, 40 points each) and Raffaele Marciello (ITA, 37 points), it also has the currently three best-placed drivers from the drivers’ standings in its line-up.

To extend the lead, four Mercedes-AMG GT3s will be eligible for points and will be racing with extended works support. The high-class driver line-up also includes the three winning drivers at Suzuka from last year: Marciello, Tristan Vautier (FRA) and Maro Engel (GER) – albeit all in different teams. While reigning IGTC champion Vautier is sharing the #44 Mercedes-AMG Team Strakka car with Gary Paffett and Lewis Williamson (both GBR), Engel and Marciello will be supported by Buhk in the #999 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing entry. Götz, runner-up at Suzuka last year, is alternating with Yelmer Buurman (NED) and Luca Stolz (GER) in the #77 (Mercedes-AMG Team Craft Bamboo Racing). The #00 (Mercedes-AMG Team Goodsmile Racing) with Tatsuya Kataoka, Kamui Kobayashi and Nobuteru Taniguchi (all JPN) rounds out the quartet of works supported cars.

Additionally, three strong Customer Racing cars will also be racing at Suzuka Circuit. For its #43 car, Team Strakka Racing is relying on Dominik Baumann (AUT), Adrian Henry D’Silva (MAS) and Christina Nielsen (DEN). Nico Bastian (GER), Mikaël Grenier (CAN) and Kenny Habul (AUS) will be racing the #75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. The SATO-SS SPORTS entry (#112) with Norio Kubo, Atsushi Sato, Ryosei Yamashita (all JPN) completes the line-up.

Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “For us, Asia is a very interesting market and we are doing very well in the various series with our GT3 and GT4 cars. Quality of the races is improving, the involvement by the manufacturers is increasing, competition is getting harder and the upcoming round at Suzuka certainly is one of the highlights in the Asian region. As a result, building on our success in the 10-hour race from last year will not be easy. The 1-2 was a clear signal and was the decisive success on our way to securing the 2018 IGTC titles. This year, we again have very good perspectives in the championship standings. We are in an excellent position to win at Suzuka and then head to Kyalami for the finale in the lead of the points’ standings.”

Driver/team allocation Mercedes-AMG GT3, Suzuka 10 Hours*:

Nr.

 

Team

Drivers (in alphabetical order)

00

Mercedes-AMG Team Goodsmile Racing

Tatsuya Kataoka (JPN), Kamui Kobayashi (JPN), Nobuteru Taniguchi (JPN)

43

Team Strakka Racing

Dominik Baumann (AUT), Adrian Henry D’Silva (MAS), Christina Nielsen (DEN)

44

Mercedes-AMG Team Strakka Racing

Gary Paffett (GBR), Tristan Vautier (FRA), Lewis Williamson (GBR)

75

SunEnergy1 Racing

Nico Bastian (GER), Mikaël Grenier (CAN), Kenny Habul (AUS)

77

Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing

Yelmer Buurman (NED), Maximilian Götz (GER), Luca Stolz (GER)

112

SATO-SS SPORTS

Norio Kubo (JPN), Atsushi Sato (JPN), Ryosei Yamashita (JPN)

999

Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing

Maximilian Buhk (GER), Maro Engel (GER), Raffaele Marciello (ITA)

* subject to last-minute changes

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