Affalterbach (GER). Two months after the historic quadruple victory by Mercedes-AMG in the Nürburgring 24-hour race, the next endurance racing classic beckons: from 26-31 July, eight Mercedes-AMG GT3 with a top class driver line-up will be taking on the Spa 24-hour race. The teams to run the cars are BLACK FALCON, HTP Motorsport and AKKA ASP. A special highlight at the roller-coaster circuit in the Ardennes will be the participation of a Mercedes-AMG GT3 sporting a livery designed by Californian rock band, Linkin Park. Band members will be on site to root for ‘their’ race car.
For Mercedes-AMG, the Spa 24-hour race is a historic fixture: in 1971, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.8 AMG won its class here and thus achieved the first major success in motorsport in the company’s history. 45 years on, Mercedes-AMG again has good chances to shine: boosted by the recent quadruple victory in the Nürburgring 24-hour race, a total of eight Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be racing at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps – first and foremost four cars with extended AMG support. Two of these will be run by AMG-Team HTP Motorsport while AMG-Team Black Falcon and AMG-Team AKKA ASP both will be running one car.
For the driver line-up, AMG-Team Black Falcon is counting on Maro Engel and Bernd Schneider, two AMG drivers who also raced the Mercedes-AMG GT3 to 24h victory at the Nürburgring. AMG driver Yelmer Buurman, who significantly contributed to the team’s fourth place in the Eifel, will complete the line-up. AMG-Team HTP Motorsport is also ready to battle for the top positions. Having finished second in the Nürburgring marathon, the team has drafted in two drivers from the ranks of the Mercedes-AMG DTM Team: next to Maximilian Götz, DTM stalwart Gary Paffett will be behind the wheel of a Mercedes-AMG GT3 during a 24-hour race for the first time. The third driver of the #86 car is AMG Driver and ex DTM racer Thomas Jäger (GER). Drivers of the #84 entry, the second AMG-Team HTP Motorsport car, are AMG drivers Dominik Baumann and Maximilian Buhk. The duo will be complemented by Malaysian race driver, Jazeman Jaafar. AMG-Team AKKA ASP will be taking on its maiden 24-hour race with the #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3. For its debut, the French team is running Renger van der Zande, who came second at the Nürburgring. He will be alternating with Mercedes-AMG DTM replacement and test driver, Felix Rosenqvist, and former French IndyCar driver Tristan Vautier.
Next to the four cars of the AMG Performance Teams, four additional Mercedes-AMG GT3 run by AMG Customer Sport Teams will be competing in the Spa marathon. The #56 BLACK FALCON car will have Abdulaziz Al Faisal, Oliver Morley and Miguel Toril as its drivers, plus Daniel Juncadella as another member of the Mercedes-AMG DTM Team. The #57 BLACK FALCON Customer Sport sister car will see 24-hour race winner, Adam Christodoulou, racing together with Hubert Haupt and Andreas Simonsen. Drivers of the #85 HTP Motorsport entry are Luciano Bacheta, Indy Dontje and Clemens Schmid. The #89 AKKA ASP Customer Sports car will be raced at Spa by Laurent Cazenave, Michael Lyons, Daniele Perfetti and Morgan Moullin-Traffort.
Debut of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Linkin Park livery
From the eight Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the field of the Spa 24-hour race, one car in particular is in the best situation to ‘rock’ the race, in the real sense of the word: the ‘Linkin Park’ Mercedes-AMG GT3, run by AMG-Team BLACK FALCON. Fascinated by the Nürburgring 24h victory, the car and AMG enthusiasts of the Californian rock band took up the chance to become designers themselves and came up with a Mercedes-AMG GT3 sporting a Linkin Park livery for Spa. Band members will personally present the car to the public at the occasion of the 24-hour race, but the car can already be seen on the official event poster for the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “The Spa 24-hour race is not just one of the major classic events in motorsport, but also has a historic aspect for the AMG brand. This heritage deserves to be built upon and after our great success at the Nürburgring, there is no doubt that we also want to use the race at Spa to underline our abilities as a sports car and performance brand. We are wishing all the teams the best of luck and we are looking forward to a thrilling 24-hour race.”
Maro Engel, AMG-Team BLACK FALCON #00: “Even though there probably is no way to top the result from the Nürburgring 24-hour race, we will do our utmost to put in a maximum performance again at Spa and to challenge for victory. It certainly will be anything but a walk in the park, because the world’s strongest teams and the best GT3 drivers will be on the grid at Spa.”
Gary Paffett, AMG-Team HTP Motorsport #86: “I am looking forward to my debut in GT racing, and in such a classic race, no less. The Spa 24-hour race is one of the undisputed highlights in GT racing and a fantastic challenge for every racing driver. I have already been able to test the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and I felt at easy straight away. Now, I am eager to find out what it will be like in the race.”