Customer Racing: season review 2019: Titles all over the world: a season of success for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing

10.
December 2019
Affalterbach

The Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams have built on the record season in the previous year: in motorsport series all over the world, they racked up over 40 championship titles in 2019. With the recently secured FIA GT World Cup drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles, the most coveted trophies in GT racing also went to Affalterbach. In total, 93 active customer teams scored 247 class wins from 489 races and racked up 625 podium finishes. This year, the trophies for the brand-internal Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Championship went to Nico Bastian (Pro Driver) and Jeffrey Lee (Driver), as well as to the AKKA ASP Team (GT3 Team) and Leipert Motorsport (GT4 Team).

  • Titles in FIA GT World Cup crown successful Customer Racing season
  • Race wins and championship titles all over the world with Mercedes-AMG GT3 and GT4
  • New Mercedes-AMG GT3 ready to race in 2020
  • Winners in Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Championship honoured

Affalterbach – Victory in the FIA GT World Cup at Macau was the undisputed masterpiece of the season for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport. At one of the world’s most demanding race tracks, Raffaele Marciello (ITA) drove his Mercedes-AMG GT3 to victory against the full GT3 elite. From qualifying onwards, he dominated proceedings with the performance car of Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing and also secured the manufacturers’ title for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport to crown a highly successful season. For Marciello, victory at Macau also marked the highlight of his career to date. For him and Mercedes-AMG, however, this wasn’t the only success in 2019.

Successful Blancpain GT Series

In the fiercely contested Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe, Marciello and his AKKA ASP teammates managed to seal the teams’ title. In total, the French team and its drivers secured no less than seven titles in the Blancpain GT Series. In the process, Nico Bastian (GER) achieved a special feat with his triple double in the Silver Cup. In all three championship classifications (Endurance, Sprint and overall), he was on top in both the drivers’ and teams’ end-of-season standings. Tied on points in second place of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe drivers’ standings, BLACK FALCON duo Maro Engel and Luca Stolz (both GER) only just missed out on an eighth title for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport. In the Asia counterpart of the series, there was a title win to celebrate as well: Roelof Bruins (NED) won the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia drivers’ championship. In the seven race events of the Blancpain GT World Challenge America, DXDT Racing secured four podium finishes in its class. Finally, the combined results of all the three continental sprint series (Europe, Asia and America) accumulated into a prestigious title: the manufacturers’ championship in the inaugural season of the worldwide sprint competition Blancpain GT World Challenge.

Record and dominance in endurance racing

With the various achievements in the Blancpain GT World Challenge, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 underlined its strength in sprint racing. Meanwhile, the performance of the GT3 race car from Affalterbach in endurance racing was at least just as impressive. Mercedes-AMG’s record season in the VLN Langstreckenmeisterschaft Nürburgring serves as an example: in the popular series at the Nordschleife, the performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach secured six consecutive overall wins. Two titles at the end of the season were the logical consequence of this domination. With four race wins to his name, Patrick Assenheimer (GER) sealed the drivers’ title in the SP9 Pro class while the BLACK FALCON Team AutoArena Motorsport won the ROWE Speed Trophy. This classification with a separate points’ scheme rewards the team with the best overall results in all the rounds of the VLN season.

In North America, there were two further prestigious endurance racing achievements: for the third consecutive time, Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports secured the Michelin Endurance Cup in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The winning trio of Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED), Felipe Fraga (BRA) and Ben Keating (USA), together with Cooper MacNeil (USA), was also first across the line in the 24-hour race at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) with a car run by BLACK FALCON. The two major European 24-hour races also had podium results in store: in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON finished second overall while the team from Meuspath in Germany came third in the classic race at Spa-Francorchamps. Efforts in Asia were successful, too: in the China Endurance Championship, Eric Zang (CHN) and Customer Racing Team Toro Racing had already secured the drivers’ and teams’ titles in the GT3 category after four of the five endurance races with durations of 140 or 280 minutes.

Mercedes-AMG GT4 globally successful  

In only its second season, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 also racked up prestigious victories and titles all over the world. In the process, class victory (SP10) in the Nürburgring 24-hour race for BLACK FALCON Team IDENTICA was a particular highlight. In the VLN season, the AMG GT4 also wrapped up two titles at the Nordschleife with victories in the SP10 and SP8T classes. With Leipert Motorsport’s class win (SPX) at Portimão, the GT4 race car from Affalterbach racked up another 24-hour race success. The German team also secured the GT4 European Series teams’ title as well as the Pro-Am drivers’ title with Luca-Sandro Trefz (GER) and Marcus Paverud (NOR).

In Asia, the team iRace.Win won the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia GT4 title while the team TRC and its driver trio of Terence Tse (HKG), James Tang (HKG) and Naomi Zhang (CHN) came out on top in the GT4 standings of the China Endurance Championship. In the China GT Championship, the Phantom Pro Racing team and drivers Alex Fontana (SUI) and Chris Chia (CHN) secured the teams’ and drivers’ titles. In North America, the Customer Racing Teams with the Mercedes-AMG GT4 achieved an impressive track record with three overall wins and four further podium results and secured the maiden manufacturers’ title in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge for Mercedes-AMG.

Brand-internal champions honoured

Traditionally, Mercedes-AMG’s successful motorsport year ended with the according prize-giving ceremony for the brand-internal Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Championship 2019. Nico Bastian (Pro Driver) and Jeffrey Lee (Driver) were presented with the trophies for their victories in the drivers’ standings. Meanwhile, AKKA ASP Team from France sealed the trophy for the GT3 teams’ title for the fourth consecutive year already. German team Leipert Motorsport came out on top among the GT4 teams.

The new Mercedes-AMG GT3

In the year 2019, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport also had its eyes set on the start of a new era. On 21 June, the new Mercedes-AMG GT3 was shown in public for the first time at the occasion of the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. The new customer race car is a consequent further development of the predecessor model in many details, with even more spectacular looks. And of course, the new AMG GT3 underwent a comprehensive and successful test and development process in 2019: during the 24-hour race at Portimão, the new performance car completed an initial test in race conditions equally successful as its baptism of fire at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in the eighth VLN season round as well as further endurance tests such as a 35-hour test at the Slovakia Ring. Therefore, it is certain: the new Mercedes-AMG GT3 is ready to race in 2020.

Passion for Good successfully continued

Like in previous years, the racing activities of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport’s Performance Teams took place under the ‘Passion for Good’ banner again in 2019. For every kilometre completed in a race, a donation of one Euro was made to the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation that supports disadvantaged children and youngsters worldwide. As a result, an amount of 57,790 Euros was reached, rounded out by Mercedes-AMG to a total donation of 65,000 Euros.

Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH:

“2018 already was an unbelievably successful year for our Customer Racing programme, impressively underlining the performance and our strive for quality in GT racing. That we were able to secure a similar number of titles in 2019 is making me really happy and is yet another proof of the very special spirit of AMG. In the process, we deliver the best possible support for our customers in nearly every GT3 and GT4 racing format while they allow us to celebrate race wins and titles all over the world in return. This scope of success, as well as our most recent victory in the FIA GT World Cup and our series of four Macau wins since 2014 underline our claim to a leading role in the GT segment. The further developments in the vehicle portfolio are raising our Customer Racing programme that is already entering its tenth year in 2020 to the next level. We are all looking forward to the new season. The course has been set for success!”

Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing:

“This year, the unique character of our Customer Racing programme became clear once again. On all continents, our teams have scored titles, race wins and podium results with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the Mercedes-AMG GT4. Of course, we also have experienced setbacks, that is part of the game in the course of a season. However, I was impressed by the way these were dealt with and eventually turned into success with the largest possible team effort. That is what I would like to thank all the drivers, teams and colleagues at Mercedes-AMG and HWA for. Every single one can be rightfully proud of him- or herself after this motorsport year.”

Remarkable facts & figures for the 2019 season:

  • In action: in total, 392 drivers and 93 teams were racing with Mercedes-AMG GT3 and GT4 cars at 98 tracks in 30 countries all over the world.
  • Dominance in the Green Hell: six consecutive overall wins in the 2019 VLN Langstreckenmeisterschaft Nürburgring are a new record for the Mercedes-AMG GT3.
  • USA triple: after 2017 and 2018, the Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 again secured the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup (previously known as Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup).
  • A strong performance in Asia: in the Asian race series, Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams scored a total of 23 overall wins and 48 class victories with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and GT4 from 73 races.
  • Leipert Motorsport saw its two cars make it to the finish in all the races of the GT4 European Series, always scoring points in their respective classes.
  • Busy I: with 34 race participations in nine different race series, Kenneth Heyer had the highest number of races in 2019.
  • Busy II: in 2019, the AKKA ASP Team brought it to a total of 112 race starts with Mercedes-AMG GT3 and GT4 cars.

GT3 achievements in the 2019 season:

Race series

Title

Class

Team

Driver(s)

24h Dubai

Winner

A6-AM

HTP Motorsport

Indy Dontje, Alexander Hrachowina, Martin Konrad, Bernd Schneider

24h Spa

Manufacturer Trophy

Overall

Mercedes-AMG

 

10h Suzuka

Winner

Silver Cup

SunEnergy1 Racing

Nico Bastian, Mikael Grenier, Kenny Habul

10h Suzuka

Winner

Pro-AM

Strakka Racing

Dominik Baumann, Adrian Henry D'Silva, Christina Nielsen

10h Suzuka

Winner

Super GT Award

Mercedes-AMG Team Goodsmile Racing

Tatsuya Kataoka, Kamui Kobayashi, Nobuteru Taniguchi

10h Suzuka

Winner

AM & Super Taikyu Award

SATO-SS SPORTS

Norio Kubo, Atsushi Sato, Ryosei Yamashita

12h Mugello

Winner

A6-AM

Hofor Racing

Christiaan Frankenhout, Kenneth Heyer, Michael Kroll, Alexander Prinz

24h COTA

Winner

Overall

BLACK FALCON

Jeroen Bleekemolen, Felipe Fraga, Ben Keating, Cooper MacNeil

Blancpain GT World Challenge

Manufacturer Champion

Overall

Mercedes-AMG

 

Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia

Driver Champion

Overall & GT3 Silver

Solite Indigo Racing

Roelof Bruins

Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe

Team Champion

Overall

AKKA ASP Team

 

Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe

Driver Champion

 

Silver Cup

AKKA ASP Team

Nico Bastian, Thomas Neubauer

Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe

Team Champion

 

Silver Cup

AKKA ASP Team

 

Blancpain GT Series

Driver Champion

Silver Cup

AKKA ASP Team

Nico Bastian

Blancpain GT Series

Team Champion

Silver Cup

AKKA ASP Team

 

Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup

Driver & Team Champion

Silver Cup

AKKA ASP Team

Nico Bastian, Timur Boguslavskiy, Felipe Fraga

China Endurance Championship

Driver & Team Champion

GT3

Toro Racing

Eric Zang

China GT Championship

Driver Champion

AM

YC-RACING MOTORSPORT

Min Heng, Lin Nan

DMV GTC – DUNLOP 60

Driver Champion

Overall & Class 1

 

Kenneth Heyer

FIA GT World Cup Macau

Winner

Overall

Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing

Raffaele Marciello

FIA GT World Cup Macau

Manufacturer Champion

Overall

Mercedes-AMG

 

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

Driver &Team Champion

Michelin Endurance Cup

Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports

Jeroen Bleekemolen, Felipe Fraga, Ben Keating

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

Manufacturer Champion

Michelin Endurance Cup

Mercedes-AMG

 

International GT Open

Driver Champion

Pro-AM

SPS automotive performance

Tom Onslow-Cole, Valentin Pierburg

International GT Open

Driver Champion

AM

Antonelli MotorSport

Giuseppe Cipriani

Italian GT Championship (Endurance)

Driver Champion

Pro-AM

Antonelli MotorSport

Stefano Colombo, Francesca Linossi

Italian GT Championship (Sprint)

Driver Champion

Overall

Antonelli MotorSport

Riccardo Agostini, Alessio Rovera

Kyalami 9 Hour

Winner

Pro-AM

Strakka Racing

Dominik Baumann, Adrian Henry D'Silva, Christina Nielsen

VLN

Driver Champion

SP9-Pro

BLACK FALCON Team AutoArena Motorsport

Patrick Assenheimer

VLN

Team Champion

ROWE Speed Trophy

BLACK FALCON Team AutoArena Motorsport

 

VLN 6h race

Winner

Overall

BLACK FALCON Team AutoArena Motorsport

Patrick Assenheimer, Maro Engel

GT4 achievements in the 2019 season:

Race series

Title

Class

Team

Driver(s)

24h Portimao

Winner

SPX

Leipert Motorsport

Dominik Baumann, Ilmari Korpivaara, Marcus Paverud, Harald Schlotter, Yuri Wagner

24h Zolder

Winner

Class 3

VEIDEC Silver Eagle Racing by GetSpeed

Michael Cool, Johan Vannerum, Sven van Laere, Bart van Samang

ADAC GT4 Germany

Driver Champion

Trophy

Bremotion

Oliver Mayer

ADAC TOTAL 24h-Rennen Qualifikationsrennen

Winner

SP8T

BLACK FALCON

Yannick Mettler, Maik Rosenberg, Stephan Rösler, Mike Stursberg

ADAC TOTAL 24h-Rennen Nürburgring

Winner

SP10

BLACK FALCON Team IDENTICA

Marek Böckmann, Yannick Mettler, Tobias Müller, Tristan Viidas

Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia

Team Champion

GT4

iRace.Win

 

Belcar Endurance Series

Driver & Team Champion

Belcar 4

VEIDEC Silver Eagle Racing by GetSpeed

Michael Cool

China GT Championship

Driver Champion

GT4

Phantom Pro Racing

Alex Fontana, Chris Chia

China GT Championship

Team Champion

GT4

Phantom Pro Racing

 

China Endurance Championship

Driver & Team Champion

GT4

TRC

James Tang, Terence Tse, Naomi Zhang

GT4 European Series

Driver Champion

Pro-Am

Leipert Motorsport

Marcus Paverud, Luca-Sandro Trefz

GT4 European Series

Team Champion

Overall

Leipert Motorsport

 

GT4 South European Series

Driver Champion

Pro-Am

Veloso Motorsport

Francisco Abreu, Miguel Cristóvão

GT4 South European Series

Team Champion

Overall

Veloso Motorsport

 

Gulf Sportscar Championship

Driver Champion

GT Cup 2

Dragon Racing

Gonçalo Gomes, Ali Kamyab

IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge

Manufacturer Champion

GS

Mercedes-AMG

 

Pirelli GT4 America

Driver Champion

SprintX - EastAM

Murillo Racing

Matthew Fassnacht, Christian Szymczak

Super Taikyu Series

Team Champion

ST-Z

ENDLESS SPORTS

Tsubasa Takahashi, Yudai Uchida, Shinnosuke Yamada, Hideki Yamauchi

VLN 6h race

Winner

SP8T

BLACK FALCON Team KNUFFI

Mustafa Mehmet Kaya, Gabriele Piana, Reinhold Renger, Stephan Rösler

VLN

Driver Champion

SP10

BLACK FALCON Team IDENTICA

Tobias Müller, Tim Scheerbarth, Tristan Viidas

VLN

Driver Champion

SP8T

BLACK FALCON Team KNUFFI

Mustafa Mehmet Kaya

 

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