F1 news

Tales from the paddock: One thousand horsepower onto the test track; F1 classic at Spa-Francorchamps

This is what happened: Results and facts

  • GT Cup Open Europe: Podium for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 at Circuit Paul Ricard
  • IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: Lawson Aschenbach and Gar Robinson finish third at Alton
  • IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge: Jim Cox and Dylan Murry are race runners-up
  • GTC Race: Maximilian Götz wins two of the races at the Lausitzring and takes P2 in the third
  • DTM Trophy: Two victories and two P3 finishes for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 at the Lausitzring

Belgium, here we come: After a two-week break, Formula One goes into the seventh fixture of the season next weekend on the legendary circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes Forest. In recent years, Mercedes has experienced a mixed bag of triumph and disappointment on the 7.004 km rollercoaster track. Since the start of the hybrid era in 2014, the team has recorded three victories (two for Lewis Hamilton in 2015 and 2017, one for Nico Rosberg in 2016). Red Bull took the win in 2014, while the last two seasons saw a Ferrari driver lift the trophy. The Mercedes works team celebrated its first Grand Prix victory on the tradition-steeped circuit in 1955 with the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio at the wheel of a W 196. In addition to their four victories, the Silver Arrows have so far written their name in the annals of the Belgian Grand Prix with six pole positions and five fastest race laps.

Next phase: The development of the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE 'hypercar' has passed a further milestone: several prototypes with final power units embarked on dynamic testing at the Group’s own test and technology centre in Immendingen. This was the first occasion on which the hybrid power unit was able to reach its target output of more than 735 kW (1,000 hp). Development meanwhile continues on the test bench and in the simulator. The next phase of the test and development program includes trials on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. In the framework of this unique project, the engineers adapted a complete Formula One power unit for a street-legal ‘hypercar’ that can also be driven purely electrically.

Class victories in the International GT Open: In the second round of the International GT Open at Circuit Paul Ricard, the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing teams chalked up no fewer than three class victories. Jens Liebhauser and Florian Scholze (both GER) in the number 44 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of GetSpeed Performance secured their third AM class victory in a row in Saturday’s 70‑minute race, finishing eighth overall. The AKM Motorsport duo of Alexander Moiseev and Alexey Nesov (both RUS) in the number 13 car crossed the line just behind to make it a class one-two for the brand.

The best-placed pairing in the general classification on Saturday were Christian Klien (AUT) and Patryk Krupinski (POL) in the number 88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of JP Motorsport - their P6 overall was enough for third place in the PRO-AM class. The Austrian-Polish partnership went one better on Sunday in the second of the two races with a P5 overall, which resulted in the second of the class wins for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport at Le Castellet. Class victory number three was achieved by the AM drivers Christian Hook and Valentin Pierburg (both GER) of SPS automotive performance. After Liebhauser and Scholze were forced to retire prematurely from Sunday’s race, Hook and Pierburg in the number 20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 took up the baton to secure the class victory as eighth overall. Moiseev and Nesov of AKM Motorsport were again runners-up in the class to ensure another one-two for Mercedes.

There were also podium appearances for Mercedes-AMG GT4 crews in the GT Cup Open Europe races contested at the same venue. On Saturday, Jesús A De Martin Muñoz and Rafael Villanueva (both ESP) of NM Racing Team took third place overall and second place in their class. An overall P4 for António Coimbra and Luis Silva of Sports & You was enough to put them second in their class.

Season’s best performance in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: Lawson Aschenbach and Gar Robinson (both USA) in the number 74 Mercedes-AMG GT3 fielded by Riley Motorsports posted their best result of the current IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with a P3 finish at the VIRginia International Raceway. At the end of the two hours and 40 minutes, Aschenbach crossed the finish line in fourth place, just eight tenths of a second outside the Top Three, but following the disqualification of the third-placed car, he and his team-mate subsequently made it onto the podium after all.

Riley Motorsports also achieved a podium in the Michelin Pilot Challenge race, courtesy of Jim Cox and Dylan Murry (both USA) in the number 35 Mercedes-AMG GT4. By finishing second in the two-hour race, the pairing moved up to take over the lead in both the drivers’ and team standings. At the same time, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport also heads the manufacturers’ championship by a margin of two points. Two more Customer Racing teams made it into the Top Ten, namely the number 57 of Winward Racing and the number 56 of Murillo Racing in P7 and P9 respectively.

GTC Race brings 200th victory for the Mercedes-AMG GT3: The Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing teams got off to a magnificent start in the new season of the GTC Race series (formerly DMV GTC) at the Lausitzring. In Friday’s Goodyear 60 race, Maximilian Götz in the number 31 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Team Space Drive Racing operated by HWA delivered the 199th overall victory in the history of the Mercedes-AMG GT3. Two more Top Five results for équipe vitesse (Mario Hirsch / Dominik Schraml) in fourth and Car Collection Motorsport (Kenneth Heyer / Wim Spinoy) in fifth contributed to a successful day for the brand. After finishing second in the first of the two 30-minute contests in the GTC Race, Götz crowned the weekend on Sunday afternoon with another victory - a landmark 200th for the Mercedes-AMG GT3. He was joined on the podium by Kenneth Heyer (GER) in third place.

Double triumph in the DTM Trophy: Tim Heinemann (GER) in the number 46 Mercedes-AMG GT4 of HP Racing International enjoyed a perfect weekend in the DTM Trophy at the Lausitzring. In both 30-minute races, he crossed the finish line first. After two second places in the opening fixture of the series, Heinemann and HP Racing International have now opened up a significant lead in the drivers’ and team championships. Jan Kisiel (POL) in the number 4 Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Leipert Motorsport also had a really good weekend, contributing two more podiums to the cause with a P3 in both races.

Impressive start to the season in GT4 France: One lights-to-flag victory and two further podiums made it a successful weekend for the Customer Racing teams in the season opener of GT4 France hosted by Circuit Paul Armagnac at Nogaro. Thomas Drouet and Paul Petit (both FRA) in the number 88 car of AKKA ASP Team got the weekend off to a good start with third place overall and P2 in the Silver class. In Race 2, their team-mates Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Jim Pla (both FRA) in the number 87 cruised to victory from pole position. In the third and last race of the weekend, a Mercedes-AMG GT4 also finished in third place, courtesy of Edouard Cauhaupé and Fabien Lavergne (CD Sport, both FRA).

Further victories, podium finishes and Top Ten results from around the world: A Mercedes-AMG GT4 took the honours in each of the two races of the Russian GT4 Championship in Moscow. Denis Remenyako (RUS) of Capital Racing Team won the first race over 13 laps. Victory in Race 2 went to Sergei Stolyarov (RUS) of UMMC Motorsport.

Buggyra Zero Millage Racing scored class victories in the three rounds of the Eset V4 Cup at the Slovakiaring. David Vrsecký and Tomas Enge (both CZE) in the number 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 took first place in their class in the two sprint races (25 minutes each) as well as in the Endurance race over 60 minutes.

In the Super GT event at Suzuka, Japan, the two Mercedes-AMG GT3s of LEON RACING (#65) and GOODSMILE RACING & TeamUKYO (#4) finished sixth and eighth respectively at the end of the two-hour race.

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