With this weekend’s opening round at #monza in Italy, Mercedes-AMG is starting off the new Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup season. Following the multiple title wins in 2018, the performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach again has a strong line-up for the new season. Among others, the title-winning driver trio of #yelmerbuurman (NED), #maroengel (GER) and #lucastolz (GER) will be #racing together. In another one of the eight Mercedes-AMG GT3s that will be competing in the season opener, Raffaele Marciello (ITA) will be one of the drivers. For the Blancpain GT Series champion, the battle for the overall title defence gets underway at #monza.
Monza – The Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup will be starting its new season at the Autodromo Nazionale #monza. The prestigious endurance race series, in which Mercedes-AMG is both the defending champion and the most successful manufacturer of 2018, includes a total of five events, one of them being the legendary Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race. #yelmerbuurman, #maroengel and #lucastolz, who, like last year, will be #racing together for the Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON with starting number 4, have the title defence as their goal. The team’s sister car, the #6 Mercedes-AMG GT3, will have the runners-up in the Silver Cup classification, Abdulaziz Al Faisal (KSA) and Hubert Haupt (GER) as its drivers, supported by Patrick Assenheimer (GER).
The Blancpain GT Series champion, Raffele Marciello, will again be #racing for the Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP at #monza. His fellow drivers in the #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 are Vincent Abril (MON) and Michael Meadows (GBR). With two further cars, the AKKA ASP Team has the largest contingent from Affalterbach. With the #87, the trio of Jean-Luc Beaubelique, Jim Pla (both FRA) and Mauro Ricci (ITA) will be competing in the Pro-Am class. In the Silver Cup, the team is running the #90 car with Nico Bastian (GER), Timur Boguslavskiy (RUS) and Felipe Fraga (BRA). Last season, Bastian won both the overall and the sprint titles in the Silver Cup of the Blancpain GT Series.
Lewis Williamson (GBR), who won last year’s Pro-Am title in the Endurance Cup, will be #racing the #44 car of the STRAKKA #racing Team. He will be teaming up with American Dev Gore and Jack Hacksworth (GBR). In the season opener, the British RAM #racing Team will also be #racing in the Pro-Am class Tom Onslow-Cole (GBR) and Remon Vos (NED). Local heroes Marco Antonelli, Giuseppe Cipriani and Davide Roda (all ITA) on behalf of Antonelli MotorSport have been registered for the Am Cup for the first race of the season with the #110 Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON #4: “ The Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup ranks among the world’s hardest-fought GT race series. In the past years, there were many strong cars, teams and drivers on the grid. For us, winning this title last year was fantastic. Of course, the goal is to defend this success with Luca, Yelmer and the BLACK FALCON team. However, we are well aware that the competition in the Endurance Cup is extremely strong, everything really has to be spot-on. Still, I am confident that we have a super overall package with the team, the drivers and the Mercedes-AMG GT3 that is fast and above all reliable at all the circuits.”
Yelmer Buurman, Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON #4: “Monza is a great and legendary circuit. There are long straights, fast corners and slow chicanes. There is a very special atmosphere you notice every time when arriving at the circuit. I am delighted to be able to start our title defence here. With our set-up, we were very strong here last year with third place and now, we are also well prepared. We have the same driver line-up, the same team with BLACK FALCON and the engineers and mechanics are unchanged, too, so it is a strong and experienced team. Nevertheless, with the enormously strong competition, it will be very tough. Still, we are confident that we can be successful again this year.”
Luca Stolz, Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON #4: “ I am really delighted to be able to race in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with #maroengel and #yelmerbuurman again. Last year, we have shown that we are a trio that is capable of winning. And that is what we want to prove this year again, too.”
Raffaele Marciello, Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP #88: “I am really happy to be #racing with AKKA ASP again. My goal is defending the title in the overall standings. However, I also want to decide the battle for the Endurance Cup in my favour this year. It will be hard work because there are many fast drivers and cars. I will do my utmost and at the end of the year, we will see where we end up.”
Nico Bastian, AKKA ASP Team #90: “Finally, the action is starting again in #monza and it will surely be a thrilling season. Of course, I want to defend my title in the Silver Cup. In any case, we are considering ourselves as one of the favourites. However, it will not be easy. The Silver Cup is continuously expanding and competition is getting harder. At #monza, we will see where we are for the first time. I am also expecting changeable weather, which certainly will be playing a role in the outcome of the race. With Felipe Fraga, I have an experienced GT professional alongside me. Timur Boguslavskiy may be new to GT #racing, but he already has a lot of experience in LMP cars. I think that we can create some highlights, not just in the Silver Cup, but also in the overall classification.”
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer #racing: “The Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup is one of Europe’s, if not the world’s most demanding endurance race series. Competition is very close throughout the field. Defending our titles from last year will be very difficult, but I think that we have a very good overall package again to be one of the main contenders in the battle for the title.”
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