Customer Racing: Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup: Mercedes-AMG with octuple title win the most successful brand in Blancpain GT Series

30.
September 2018
Montmeló (ESP)

Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing scores a 1-2 in a frenetic Blancpain GT Series finale. Moreover, teams and drivers with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 claimed a total of six championship titles in the final round of the season at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. With two further titles from the Sprint Cup finale a fortnight ago, the performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach can be acknowledged as the most successful manufacturer in the biggest sports car series. Raffaele Marciello (ITA) came out on top in the drivers’ standings after finishing second in the three-hour season finale together with Tristan Vautier (FRA) and Daniel Juncadella (ESP). The drivers’ title in the separate Endurance Cup went to Yelmer Buurman (NED), Maro Engel (GER) and Luca Stolz (GER), who claimed the race win in the Blancpain finale with the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON entry. In the Silver Cup, Nico Bastian (GER) and Jack Manchester (GBR) of the AKKA ASP Team secured thetitle. The Pro-Am drivers’ title in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup went to drivers Lewis Williamson, Chris Buncombe und Nick Leventis (all GBR).  In the thrilling concluding race of the season, the AKKA ASP Team came out on top in the final teams’ standings. With their 1-2 at Barcelona, BLACK FALCON and the AKKA ASP Team also ended up first and second in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.

  • Mercedes-AMG Driver Marciello is the new Blancpain GT Series champion
  • Title wins in the overall standings (drivers, teams and Silver Cup) as well as in the Endurance Cup (teams, drivers Silver Cup, drivers Pro-AM Cup)
  • A 1-2 in the season finale for the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON and #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP #88

Montmeló (ESP) – At the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, fans got to see a high-class finale of the Blancpain GT Series in ideal outside conditions. In qualifying already, a strong performance by the cars from Affalterbach looked on the cards: Maro Engel posted the fastest time with the #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3. With starting numbers #43, 44 and 88, three further Mercedes-AMG GT3 lined up on the first three rows of the grid. Pace-setter Maro Engel led the way in the opening stages of the race, controlled the field in his usual experienced manner and established a lead that temporarily increased to 23 seconds. Multiple full course yellows and safety car interventions enabled the rest of the field to close up and reduce the gap. However, teammate Luca Stolz also controlled the race after the driver change and held on to the lead. Final driver Yelmer Buurman then drove victory home for the Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON after 92 laps. With first place in the final race of the season, the trio Engel/Stolz/Buurman also secured the Endurance Cup drivers’ title with a margin of seven points. BLACK FALCON also won the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup teams’ title.

Behind the trio, further Mercedes-AMG GT3 were battling for podium positions and valuable championship points. The #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP car with overall points’ leader Raffaele Marciello as well as Tristan Vautier and Daniel Juncadella in particular had a clever race strategy having started sixth on the grid and having avoided any unnecessary risks at the start. The race having settled down a bit, the trio increased the pressure on the teams in front and drove the car with starting number 88 up to third place. With 45 minutes remaining, final driver Vautier even claimed second position and then brought it home to secure the double podium finish for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport. With this second place, the team also sealed Marciello’s maiden Blancpain GT Series overall title. Moreover, the result was enough to win the overall teams’ title and second place in the Endurance Cup standings for French team AKKA ASP.

In the Silver Cup class, the #90 AKKA ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Nico Bastian, Jack Manchester and Jules Szymkowiak (NED) came out on top. In Barcelona, the trio finished third in class and thus, Bastian and Manchester, who were already leading the standings prior to the finale, sealed the Silver Cup title. In spite of bad luck during the final race, Abdulaziz Al Faisal (KSA), Hubert Haupt (GER) and Gabriele Piana (ITA) ended up third in the Endurance Cup Silver Cup standings with the #6 BLACK FALCON entry.

Combined with the two titles scored in the Sprint Cup season finale at the Nürburgring a fortnight ago, Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing thus celebrates a total of eight title wins in the 2018 Blancpain GT Series.

Raffaele Marciello, Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP #88: “Of course, I am happy. I have won the overall drivers’ title even thought it didn’t work out with the Endurance Cup title. We can be proud of our performance and of the season. Now, we are concentrating on the IGTC as we are still in a position to win the title there as well. For myself and for Mercedes-AMG, it has already been a very good year.”

Daniel Juncadella, Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP #88: “I knew that winning the race from sixth on the grid was going to be very difficult. However, we did our utmost and worked our way up really well to enable Raffaele to win the title after this strong season. BLACK FALCON have done a very good job, too, and at the end of the day, we can be very happy with second place.”

Tristan Vautier, Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP #88: “Obviously, I am delighted with having won the teams’ title, a super team effort from all of us. It is a bit sad that we haven’t been able to win the Endurance Cup title as well. I reckon that, together with BLACK FALCON, we were the two strongest teams of the season, therefore also congratulations to the BLACK FALCON team on winning the Endurance Cup.”

Luca Stolz, Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON #4: “ We had an outstanding race weekend. We were already very competitive in practice. Eventually, it was still a bit close, there were some safety car interventions, but we were in a good position to control the race. We are super happy to have won and to have secured the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup title here.”

Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON #4: “ Many thanks to BLACK FALCON for a perfect car. Driving the Mercedes-AMG GT3 was sheer pleasure. At the end, it still got pretty thrilling, but we are mega happy with this victory and the Endurance Championship title.”

Yelmer Buurman, Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON #4: “It was a huge effort. Every restart after the safety car was a new challenge. The BLACK FALCON team and Mercedes-AMG have provided us with an outstanding car and both Maro and Luca have done a great job. The pit stops were spot-on. Every one has done his job perfectly and we had a tremendous weekend.”

Nico Bastian, AKKA ASP #90: “That is a super end of the season, a year with many highs and lows, and now, we are the Silver Cup champions in the Sprint Cup and the overall standings. Now, we have two championship titles to our name and we are delighted that the hard work put in by all of us has paid off in such a way.”

Result Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, Barcelona*: 

POS

overall

POS

class

Nr.

Car

Team

Drivers

1

1

(Pro)

4

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON

Yelmer Buurman (NED), Maro Engel (GER), Luca Stolz (GER)

2

2

(Pro)

88

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP

Raffaele Marciello (ITA), Daniel Juncadella (ESP), Tristan Vautier (FRA)

3

3

(Pro)

73

Ferrari 488 GT3

SMP Racing

Mikhail Aleshin (RUS), Miguel Molina (ESP), Davide Rigon (ITA)

 

 

 

 

 

7

6

(Pro)

44

Mercedes-AMG GT3

STRAKKA Racing

Felipe Fraga (BRA), Christian Vietoris (GER), Oliver Rowland (GBR)

14

12

(Pro)

35

Mercedes-AMG GT3

SMP Racing by AKKA ASP

Denis Bulatov (RUS), Michael Meadows (GBR), Vitaly Petrov (RUS)

16

3

(Silver)

90

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Nico Bastian (GER), Jack Manchester (GBR), Jules Szymkowiak (NED)

17

14

(Pro)

43

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team STRAKKA Racing

Maximilian Buhk (GER), Maximilian Götz (GER), Álvaro Parente (POR)

33

3

(Am)

89

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Fabien Barthez (FRA), Eric Debard (FRA)

35

7

(Pro-Am)

5

Mercedes-AMG GT3

BLACK FALCON

Rui Aguas (POR), Saud Turki Al Faisal (KSA), Kriton Lendoudis (GRE)

39

8

(Pro-Am)

42

Mercedes-AMG GT3

STRAKKA Racing

Chris Buncombe (GBR), Nick Leventis (GBR), Lewis Williamson (GBR)

41

9

(Pro-Am)

49

Mercedes-AMG GT3

RAM Racing

Tom Onslow-Cole (GBR), Remon Leonard Vos (FRA)

44

9

(Silver)

6

Mercedes-AMG GT3

BLACK FALCON

Abdulaziz Al Faisal (KSA), Hubert Haupt (GER), Gabriele Piana (ITA)

48

11

(Pro-Am)

87

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Jean-Luc Beaubelique (FRA), Nicolas Jamin (FRA), Mauro Ricci (ITA)

* excerpt, subject to confirmation by the organiser

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  • 18C0841_001
    Blancpain GT Series Champion Fahrerwertung, Blancpain GT Series Champions Teamwertung: Raffaele Marciello (ITA), AKKA ASP Team // Blancpain GT Series Champion, Blancpain GT Series Teams‘ Champions: Raffaele Marciello (ITA), AKKA ASP Team
  • 18C0841_002
    Blancpain GT Series Champion Raffaele Marciello (ITA, l.)  &  Jerome Policand (FRA), Teamchef AKKA ASP Team
  • 18C0841_003
    Podium, Blancpain GT Series Encurance Cup Barcelona (#4 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON/#88 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP)
  • 18C0841_004
    Nico Bastian (GER, l.)  &  Jack Manchester , #90 Mercedes-AMG, AKKA ASP Team, Blancpain GT Series Silver Cup Champions
  • 18C0841_005
    Maro Engel (GER, l.), Yelmer Buurman (NED, m.), Luca Stolz (GER, r.), #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON, Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Champions
  • 18C0841_006
    Grid walk, #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON
  • 18C0841_007
    Start Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Barcelona
  • 18C0841_008
    Maro Engel (GER), Yelmer Buurman (NED), Luca Stolz (GER), #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON
  • 18C0841_009
    Daniel Juncadella (ESP), Raffaele Marciello (ITA), Tristan Vautier (FRA), #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP
  • 18C0841_010
    Chris Buncombe, Nick Leventis, Lewis Williamson (all GBR), #42 Mercedes-AMG GT3, STRAKKA Racing
  • 18C0841_011
    Nico Bastian (GER), Jack Manchester (GBR), Jules Szymkowiak (NED), #90 Mercedes-AMG, AKKA ASP
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