Customer Sports Programme of AMG vigourously starts the 2012 season. Altogether, more than 45 SLS AMG GT3s will be entered for more than 15 race series on four continents.
The German team ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport will enter two SLS AMG GT3 for the new FIA GT1 World Championship. Six gullwing cars are expected to fight for the overall win in the 24 Hours Nürburgring. Eight SLS AMG GT3s will be entered in the German ADAC GT Masters. The newly-formed French team, which the eight-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb is part of, will participate in the French GT Championship. The cooperation team and defending winner HEICO-GRAVITY CHAROUZ TEAM will face the competition in the FIA GT3 European Championship.
Commanding fights for the lead, top-class drivers and the who’s who among sports car brands – this is what national and international race series, in which customer teams enter the SLS AMG GT3 as racing car, have in common. Inspired by 26 race wins in 2011, the 1-2-3 in the Dubai 24-hours race (12th to 14th January 2012) and the second place in the Bathurst 12 Hour Race in Australia (26th February 2012), the gullwing car from Affalterbach has proved that it is a serious rival for competitors. In mid-March, many of the customer teams took advantage of the opportunity to optimally prepare for the season in test drives and setting drives on the race track of Paul Ricard in Le Castellet in Southern France.
Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board, Mercedes-AMG GmbH:
“Mercedes-AMG is proud of the fact that the SLS AMG GT3 is given such a positive feedback by customer teams. In the motorsport season of 2012, AMG takes part with a team of three: With the gullwing car in the customer sports programme, the new Mercedes-AMG C-Coupé in the popular DTM and the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS team in Formula 1 we are active all over the world. As AMG celebrates its 45th birthday, the best conditions for an exciting anniversary year are provided!”
Uli Fritz, head of AMG Customer Sports: “We want to thank the teams, which are already with us for the second year, for their confidence in us and we appreciate the new teams in the family of AMG Customer Sports. The fact that more than 45 SLS AMG GT3s are meanwhile taking part in races around the globe does not only show the great performance of the gullwing car but also proves our philosophy of using the SLS AMG GT3 merely for customer sports, not for factory entries.”
Thomas Jäger, coordinator of AMG Customer Sports: “The popularity of the SLS AMG GT3 is based on four factors: Performance, reliability, its uncomplex driveability and a good parts supply. We are working hard to continue improving all of those factors in the new 2012 season as well. The gullwing car is also appreciated for its exceptional safety level with the carbon safety cell for the driver, known from the DTM cars.”
Eight SLS AMG GT3s in the ADAC GT Masters
With the first ADAC GT Masters held in 2007, the racing series has meanwhile become very popular. Not only is the number of 44 inscripted sports cars from 13 brands impressing, but also the fact that eight SLS AMG GT3s will be fighting for the title in 2012. HEICO Motorsport will enter four cars (Alex Margaritis / Lance David Arnold, Kenneth Heyer / Christiaan Frankenhout, Harald Proczyk / Dominik Baumann and Andreas Simonsen / Maximilian Buhk). Thus HEICO Motorsport has the former Mercedes-Benz DTM driver Alex Margaritis, who is the current champion of the GT Masters, among their drivers.
In a cooperation, the teams HEICO Motorsport and Gravity-Charouz Racing will enter another gullwing car. The drivers for the HEICO-GRAVITY CHAROUZ TEAM will be Erik Janis / Jan Stovicek. MS Racing will enter two SLS AMG GT3s (Maximilian Götz / Sebastian Asch and Daniel Dobitsch / Florian Stoll). Seyffarth Motorsport (Jan Seyffarth / Maximilian Meyer) will enter one car. The ADAC GT Masters begins on 31st March in Oschersleben and comprises 16 races. Per racing weekend, two races are held and the private television station Kabel 1 will show live broadcasts of all races in full length.
VLN on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife with ten races
The Nürburgring VLN endurance championship came into existence more than 30 years ago. The race series is traditionally held on the legendary Nordschleife (“north loop”) and the short layout of the Grand Prix track. The teams of Black Falcon, HEICO Motorsport and ROWE RACING will each enter two cars for the VLN. Black Falcon Team Manager Sean Paul Breslin: “We have already known the SLS AMG GT3 since 2010. It is a fast, reliable car with a level of security which is currently unmatched by any other race car. The first of a total of ten VLN races will take place parallelly to the ADAC GT Masters on the 31st of March. About 200 cars are expected.
24h race Nürburgring – highlight of the season
The motorsport scene is awaiting this year’s 24h race Nürburgring with much excitement. The event will already take place from 16th to 20st of May and is defined as the highlight of the 2012 season by many German motorsport fans. As in the VLN, the teams of Black Falcon, HEICO Motorsport and ROWE RACING will be facing the traditional Eifel marathon with two cars each. Bernd Schneider (HEICO Motorsport) and Thomas Jäger (ROWE RACING) will be supporting the customer teams as part of the AMG support programme and will actively take part in the race. More than 700 drivers and almost 200 race cars will be entered for the traditional endurance race.
FIA GT1 World Championship with two SLS AMG GT3s
None of the races of the new FIA GT1 World Championship will take place in Germany. However, there are many indicators that the World Championship will be offering exciting motorsport: Each car brand will have two cars in start positions and nine teams of the international sports car elite confirmed their participation with cars of different manufacturers. Due to the change in regulations from the GT1 to the GT3 category, even an increase in the number of excellent performances can be expected.
The German team ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport will participate with two SLS AMG GT3s. The gullwing cars will be driven by Marc Basseng / Markus Winkelhock and Thomas Jäger / Nicky Pastorelli. As part of the AMG support programme, Thomas Jäger will be supporting the team during the beginning of the season.
Team manager René Münnich: “We want to win the World Championship this year. We fought for the drivers’ and the team title for a long time in 2011. The new SLS AMG GT3 is a fast and reliable race car – the conditions for the new season could hardly be better.” The FIA GT1 Championship comprises ten races in nine countries, among which you can also find emerging markets such as China, India and Russia. The first race of the season will take place in the French location Nogaro on 8th April 2012 and the final is scheduled for 2nd December 2012 on Buddh International Circuit near New Delhi.
FIA GT3 European Championship with defending winner in start position
The FIA GT1 World Championship and the FIA GT3 European Championship will start at the same time. The first six of a total of 12 races will be held on the same tracks. Every weekend, two races will take place. The defending winner HEICO Motorsport will participate with two SLS AMG GT3s in cooperation with Gravity-Charouz Racing here as well. The cockpits of the HEICO-GRAVITY CHAROUZ TEAM will be shared by Dominik Baumann / Maxi-milian Bukh as well as Max Nilsson / Mika Vähämäki.
The team of the eight-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb forms a new part of the 2012 season. Sébastien Loeb Racing will face the competition in the French GT Championship with one gullwing car (Frédéric Gabillon / Gilles Vannelet).
Blancpain Endurance Championship with four teams from four countries
Four teams from four countries will participate in the Blancpain Endurance Championship: The Belgian team Viage KRK-Racing will enter two gullwing cars driven by the teams Karl Wendlinger / Anthony Kumpen / Koen Wauters und Raf Vanthoor / Dennis Retera / Marius Ritskes. Black Falcon will also enter two gullwing cars. As in 2011, the British team Preci-Spark with the twins David Jones, Godfrey Jones and Mike Jordan will also participate in the Championship. Premium Motorsports Poland will participate for the first time with one car.
In face of the Blancpain Endurance Championship’s starting field with 50 cars, it will definitely be an event with commiting motorsport. The first race will take place in Monza, Italy on 15th April 2012. The highlight of the season will be the 24-hour race of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on 28th July 2012. An endurance race from the Blancpain race series is also scheduled for Germany: The penultimate race out of a total of six races will be held on the Nürburgring on 23rd September.
From Malaysia to Brazil and as far as Australia
Besides the big Championships, which are mainly held on European tracks, customer teams will also be driving the SLS AMG GT3 on the continents of Asia, South America and Australia as well as in smaller national race series.
Malaysian Super GT International Series: Petronas Syntium Team
Brazilian GT Championship: AMattheis Motorsport, BVA Racing
Australian GT Championship: Erebus Racing
Spanish and Portugese GT Championship: Sports & You
British GT Championship: Preci-Spark, Eurotech Racing
French GT Championship: Graff Racing
Austrian GT Series and Touring Car Series: Lechner Racing
Super Touring Car Trophy: Land Motorsport
Italian Endurance Race Championship ECC: G-Private Racing
Source: Daimler AG