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Mercedes-AMG scores first points in Blancpain GT World Challenge America

Thursday 7th March, 2019 - 10:13am

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An exciting opportunity for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing has been added with immediate effect. Last weekend, four Mercedes-AMG GT3s competed in the Blancpain GT World Challenge America at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) and got the new international platform of the Blancpain GT World Challenge with additional championships in Asia and Europe underway. During the season opener in Austin, Mercedes-AMG announced its drivers who are eligible to score points, namely David Askew (USA), Maximilian Buhk (GER), George Kurtz (USA) and JC Perez (COL). With a pair of fourth-place finishes in the Pro-Am class, the teams had a solid start of the North American campaign.

  • A pair of fourth places in class in season opener at Circuit of The Americas
  • Title win in the new worldwide GT3 format is the goal
  • David Askew, Maximilian Buhk, George Kurtz and JC Perez eligible to score points for Mercedes-AMG in North America

The fans in Austin, Texas got to see a thrilling season opener of the new Blancpain GT World Challenge America last weekend. In the two races of 90 minutes each, the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing teams scored valuable points in the battle for the title in the intercontinental sprint championship with a pair of fourth places in the Pro-Am class.

In the first race on Saturday, the #71 P1 Motorsports team with JC Perez and Maximilian Buhk scored the best result of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 by finishing fourth in class (P8 overall). The second race on Sunday even saw the duo in the lead. However, in a turbulent finale, Perez got involved in a collision following a safety car intervention and was subsequently given a 30-second time penalty. Eventually, Perez/Buhk were classified sixth in Pro-Am (P12 overall). The best-placed Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the second race was the #04 DXDT Racing entry with George Kurtz and Colin Braun (USA), fourth in class (ninth place overall). Steven Aghakhani and Richard Antinucci (both USA, US RaceTronics), who also incurred a 30-second penalty, followed in fifth place of the Pro-Am class (P11 overall). For the #63 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, the weekend was already over following an early retirement from the first race. David Askew and Ryan Dalziel (GBR) had to park their car after an accident.

On the support package of the Blancpain GT World Challenge, the Pirelli GT4 America also got its season underway at Austin last weekend. With a class win (P3 overall) in the second 60-minute race on Sunday, Murillo Racing got their campaign in the North American series off to a successful start with the #34 Mercedes-AMG GT4 and drivers Matt Fassnacht and Christian Szymczak (both USA). Reinhold Renger (GER) and Parker Chase (USA) rounded out the good performance by the GT4 cars from Affalterbach with a pair of second places in class, including an overall podium finish with third place for the RENNtech Motorsports team.

Global manufacturers’ championship with focus on customer drivers
The Blancpain GT World Challenge America is part of the new Blancpain GT World Challenge platform with sprint championships on three continents. Next to North America (7 events), manufacturers are also competing in Europe (5 events) and Asia (6 events). The format replaces the separate championships of the Pirelli World Challenge, Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup and Blancpain GT Series Asia. To compete for the overall title in all three series, every manufacturer nominates four drivers per continent who are eligible to score points, three of them with a valid passport of the respective country. For the American series, Mercedes-AMG has selected a competitive quartet that has already scored the first points: David Askew, George Kurtz and JC Perez rank among the most renowned GT drivers with plenty of sprint racing experience at North American race tracks. Mercedes-AMG Driver Maximilian Buhk is well-known in GT racing and has numerous achievements in the Blancpain GT Series and other GT series to his name.

The next round of the Blancpain GT World Challenge America will be held at Virginia International Raceway from 26-28 April. The Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia season opener is scheduled to take place at Sepang in Malaysia, 6-7 April. The Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe season gets underway at Brands Hatch in Great Britain, 4-5 May.

Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “For us, the Blancpain GT World Challenge is a very attractive new platform. In this global competition, our Customer Racing programme can compete with the GT3 programmes of the other manufacturers. For the races in North America, we have found a perfect mix of drivers that makes us hope for very good results in the Pro-Am class. Of course, we will be in full attack mode in Asia and Europe as well. The title win in the Blancpain GT World Challenge is our goal. The concept of the new format gives us all the possibilities as the class results will be playing an important role in the battle for the title as well.”

Result race 1, Blancpain GT World Challenge America, COTA*:

Pos. Pos.

class

Nr.

class

Car Team Drivers
1.

 

1.

 

3

Pro

Bentley Continental GT3 K-PAX Racing R. Baptista, M. Soulet
2. 2. 9

Pro

Bentley Continental GT3 K-PAX Racing A. Soucek, A. Parente
3. 3. 58
Pro
Porsche 911 GT3 R Wright Motorsports P. Long, S. Hargrove
       
8. 4. 71

Pro-Am

Mercedes-AMG GT3 P1 Motorsports JC Perez (COL), Maximilian Buhk (GER)
10. 6. 6

Pro-Am

Mercedes-AMG GT3 US RaceTronics Steven Aghakhani (USA), Richard Antinucci (USA)
15. 9. 04

Pro-Am

Mercedes-AMG GT3 DXDT Racing George Kurtz (USA), Colin Braun (USA)
DNF DNF 63

Pro-Am

Mercedes-AMG GT3 DXDT Racing David Askew (USA), Ryan Dalziel (GBR)

Result race 2, Blancpain GT World Challenge America, COTA*:

Pos. Pos.

class

Nr.

class

Car Team Drivers
1.

 

1.

 

61

Pro

Ferrari 488 GT3 R. Ferri Motorsport M. Molina, T. Vilander
2. 2. 9

Pro

Bentley Continental GT3 K-PAX Racing A. Soucek, A. Parente
3. 3. 58

Pro

Porsche 911 GT3 R Wright Motorsports P. Long, S. Hargrove
       
9. 4. 04

Pro-Am

Mercedes-AMG GT3 DXDT Racing George Kurtz (USA), Colin Braun (USA)
11. 5. 6

Pro-Am

Mercedes-AMG GT3 US RaceTronics Steven Aghakhani (USA), Richard Antinucci (USA)
12. 6. 71

Pro-Am

Mercedes-AMG GT3 P1 Motorsports JC Perez (COL), Maximilian Buhk (GER)
DNS DNS 63

Pro-Am

Mercedes-AMG GT3 DXDT Racing David Askew (USA), Ryan Dalziel (GBR)

* excerpt subject to confirmation by the organisers

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