Mercedes-AMG with the best title chances in Laguna Seca season finale

By October 19, 2018IGTC, Series News

Overall drivers’ standings, Bronze drivers and GT3 manufacturers – in all three championship categories of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, Mercedes-AMG has very good title chances. Prior to the season finale at Laguna Seca Raceway (26-28 October), Raffaele Marciello and Tristan Vautier are leading the overall standings while Kenny Habul is on course for the Bronze drivers’ title. Thanks to the achievements of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 run by Strakka Racing and SunEnergy1 Racing in the three Intercontinental GT Challenge races that have been completed thus far, Mercedes-AMG is also ahead of the opposition in the battle for the manufacturers’ crown.

Mercedes-AMG is heading into the California 8 Hours race, the grand finale of the Intercontinental GT Challenge at Laguna Seca Raceway, with a strong initial position and a powerful driver line-up. The hottest candidates for the title are joint points’ leaders Raffaele Marciello and Tristan Vautier. The duo that, together with Maro Engel managed to win the most recent Intercontinental GT Challenge round at Suzuka, will be split among two different Mercedes-AMG GT3 cars at Laguna Seca: Marciello, the freshly-crowned Blancpain GT Series champion, will be driving the #43 of Mercedes-AMG Team Strakka Racing and will be supported by Maximilian Götz and Lewis Williamson in the process. In the #175 of Mercedes-AMG Team SunEnergy1, Vautier will be racing together with Engel and Maximilian Buhk. Marciello and Vautier each have a total of 58 points, 15 points more than Maro Engel and 18 points more than the next driver pairing.

With 20 points, Kenny Habul’s margin in the classification for Bronze drivers is even slightly clearer. In the course of the season, the Australian has racked up a pair of victories (Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and Suzuka 10 Hours) and a third place (Total 24 Hours of Spa). In the season finale at the Pacific coast, he will be driving the #75 of SunEnergy1 Racing together with Luca Stolz and Mikaël Grenier, just like at Suzuka. Nick Leventis also has a good perspective in the bronze category: the Strakka Racing driver is currently in third place and with a good result in the season finale could be in a position to complete 1-2 in the Bronze standings for Mercedes-AMG.

In total, four Mercedes-AMG GT3s are eligible to score points for the manufacturers’ standings at Laguna Seca: the #43 and the #44 Strakka Racing cars with Marciello, Götz, Williamson and Christian Vietoris, Jack Hawksworth andAdrien Tambay respectively as well as the #75 and the #175 SunEnergy1 Racing entries with Habul, Stolz, Grenier and Buhk, Engel, Vautier as the respective drivers. Prior to the finale, Mercedes-AMG is nine points clear in the lead of the GT3 manufacturers’ standings.

Two further GT3 cars from Affalterbach will be on the grid for the finale: next to the #42 Strakka Racing car with Leventis, Felipe Fraga and David Fumanelli, the DXDT Racing team will be making its Intercontinental GT Challenge debut with David Askew, Mike Hedlund and Ryan Dalziel. In addition, two Mercedes-AMG GT4s will be run by Customer Racing Team Murillo Racing.

Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing:“This year, the Intercontinental GT Challenge rounds really are showing motorsport at the highest level. The fact that we have such a good perspective in all the three categories of the series is a nice confirmation for our cars and the hard work by the drivers and the teams. But the road hasn’t ended yet: we have huge ambitions for the finale at Laguna Seca and we are excellently prepared. Even though unexpected things can always happen during an 8-hour race. To minimise this risk, we have decided to split our title candidates Raffaele and Tristan among two different cars. Meanwhile, I am also looking forward to the participation of the other Mercedes-AMG GT3s. All the cars have a very strong line-up and we will surely get to see a thrilling finale.”