Affalterbach – The customer sports program of Mercedes-AMG will take an active part in the 2013 racing year all over the globe. The SLS AMG GT3 will moreover start in the US for the first time. In the 2013 motorsports season, the race version of the gullwing car will take part in more than 22 race series on five continents. The German team H.T.P. Motorsport will enter three SLS AMG GT3 into the new FIA GT World. Seyffarth Motorsport will participate in the race series as well. The gullwings will fight for the overall victory in the 24-hour races of Nürburgring and in Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium). Three SLS AMG GT3 are expected to participate in the German ADAC GT Masters. Three teams will be facing the competition in the Japanese Super GT Series. Two SLS AMG GT3 were recently entered into the US American Pirelli World Challenge by the teams Black Swan and Green Hornet Racing.
In preparation for the season at the end of February 2013, a great number of AMG customer teams took advantage of the perfect conditions in the test and setting drives on „Autódromo Internacional do Algarve“ in Portimão (Portugal). All support units of the AMG customer sports program gathered on-site, providing professional support. With Bernd Schneider, Thomas Jäger and Lance David Arnold (all GER), the teams were provided advice and assistance by experienced race professionals.
Ola Källenius, chairman of the board, Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “Our customer sports program is in its third year now, and this is the first time that the SLS AMG GT3 will also participate in races in the United States. This is one indicator pointing out to an exciting 2013 motorsports season. Racing is an essential part of AMG and its DNA. In 2013, AMG again is based upon three pillars: With the SLS AMG GT3 customer sports program, the Mercedes AMG C-Coupé in the popular DTM and with the team MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS in Formula 1, AMG is based very broadly.“
Uli Fritz, head of AMG Customer Sports: “In the 2013 motorsports season we also hold on to our philosophy of merely using the SLS AMG GT3 for customer sports and not for factory entries. We continue to focus on providing the AMG customer teams with the best assistance possible. Not only the victories of the previous years, but also our impressive number of sold cars, which has in the meantime risen to 63 race gullwings, have shown the success of this strategy. We want to thank the teams, which are facing the third year of competition with us, for their confidence – moreover we are looking forward to receiving the new teams in the family of AMG customer sports. “
AMG starts in US American Pirelli World Challenge
For the first time in the history of AMG customer sports, two SLS AMG GT3 started in a race on the North American continent. In the first race of the new US American Pirelli World Challenge on the race track „Streets of St. Petersburg“ in Florida, Peter LeSaffre (USA) of Green Hornet Racing as well as Tim Pappas (USA) of Black Swan were behind the wheel. The Pirelli World Challenge comprises nine races, almost 30 vehicles will be competing in the GT class. Black Swan were among the top ten twice already in the first weekend, winning places 8 and 9. Green Hornet achieved solid results winning position 11 in the first race, in the second race, however, Peter LeSaffre had to retire from the race prior to end.
Successful start of the 2013 motorsports season
The customer teams Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon and Erebus Motorsport GT celebrated a successful start of the season in winter 2013. In both the Dubai 24 Hours (UAE) as well as the Bathurst 12 Hour race (Australia) it was a SLS AMG GT3 to cross the finish line first. The GT3 prelude in Europe will take place the coming weekend. In Nogaro, France, the new FIA GT World will celebrate its premiere (29th March to 1st April 2013). 26 cars, 16 teams and eight brands will be facing the competition in the successor series of the FIA GT World Championship, which existed for many years. H.T.P.-Gravity Charouz will enter three SLS AMG GT3 in the categories Pro Cup, Pro-Am and Gentlemen’s Trophy. Seyffarth Motorsport is also going to participate in the new FIA GT World.
The first race of the German VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring had to be cancelled due to difficult weather conditions. The prelude of the VLN on the legendary Nordschleife (“north loop“) and the short circuit of the Grand-Prix course will take place on 13th April 2013. ROWE RACING and Car Collection will take part in the first VLN race, Black Falcon will have to skip the race because of an overlapping race.
Highlight of the season – 24 Hours Nürburgring
One of the traditional highlights of the German motorsports season is the 24 Hours Nürburgring – this year it will take place from the 17th to the 20st of May 2013. Black Falcon, ROWE RACING and Car Collection will be facing their strong competitors. Bernd Schneider (team Black Falcon), Lance David Arnold and Thomas Jäger (both team ROWE RACING) will support the customer teams as part of the AMG support program and take an active part in the endurance classic in the Eifel themselves.
In 2013, three SLS AMG GT3 will participate in the fight for the title in the ADAC GT Masters. H.T.P. Motorsport enters two cars into the race while Seyffarth Motorsport enters one. The ADAC GT Masters starts on 26th of April in Oschersleben and comprises 16 races. Two races take place every race weekend. The private TV station Kabel 1 again broadcasts all races live and in full length.
Blancpain Endurance Series – three teams in competition
In the Blancpain Endurance Series, three teams are facing the competition: Black Falcon from Germany enters two gullwing race cars. As in the previous years, the British team Preci-Spark will join the race. Fortec Motorsport from Great Britain is a new participant in this year’s race. The starting field of the Blancpain Endurance Series with about 60 cars is certainly going to show committing motorsports. The race in Monza, Italy on 14th April 2013 will be the prelude while the highlight of the season will be the 24-hour race of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on 27th and 28th July 2013. The final of the endurance championship takes place on Nürburgring on 22nd September 2013.
Five AMG customer teams starting in Asia
The SLS AMG GT3 will also play a great role in Japan. With RQ‘s Motorsport, Leon Racing, Gainer and Shift, four teams will participate in the Japanese Super GT. The PETRONAS Syntium Team will show its best performance in the Super Taikyu Series, in order to build on their success of 2012 and achieve a confident victory. Also in the Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race lasting 12 hours, the PETRONAS Syntium Team wants to continue to be as successful as last year.
From Australia to Brazil
Besides the big championships, which are mainly held on European tracks, customer teams with the SLS AMG GT3 will also take part in races on the continents of South America and Australia as well as in smaller national race series:
• Australian GT-Championship: Erebus Racing
• Brazilian GT-Championship: AMattheis Motorsport
• British GT-Championship: Fortec Motorsport
• DMV TCC: ANTeam, Land Motorsport, Schütz Motorsport
• FIA CEZ: Premium Poland Motorsport
• French GT-Championship: Autosport Promotion
• GT Open: Seyffarth Motorsport
• Slovakia GT: TopCar Machének
• Spanish and Portuguese GT-Championship: Sports & You
• Supercar International Series: Sports & You
The new Walk of Fame is a tribute to the numerous successes of AMG customer teams and their drivers: As in Hollywood, the names of all AMG team and driver champions as well as the AMG endurance champions of 12- and 24-hour races are being perpetuated on engraved stone flags. A statement by Ola Källenius, chairman of the board, Mercedes-AMG GmbH: „Through the Walk of Fame in Affalterbach we want to give thanks to our customer teams and their drivers for their encouragement. We are very proud that, around the world, we have managed to achieve such a great number of victories with the race gullwing car in the course of just a few years. I am looking forward to a successful season 2013 and a Walk of Fame that will be ever growing.“