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The #imsa WeatherTech SportsCar Championship gets underway with the classic 24-hour #endurance race at #Daytona: three Mercedes-AMG GT3 are participating in the ‘Rolex 24 At Daytona’ (27-28 January) in order to build on the successful result with third place last year. The winning team in the 2017 Tequila Patrón North American #endurance Cup (NAEC), Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsport will again be taking on the full season in the North-American race series with a Mercedes-AMG GT3. Like in 2017, SunEnergy1 #racing has also opted for the reliability of the race car from Affalterbach. P1 Motorsports is rounding out the strong line-up at #Daytona International Speedway with another Mercedes-AMG GT3. On top of that, the new Mercedes-AMG GT4 is making its debut in the #imsa Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge at #Daytona. In the four-hour race on Friday (26 January), nine cars will be competing to make it a successful maiden outing.
Daytona Beach – As the reigning North American #endurance Cup (NAEC) champions, Ben Keating (USA) and Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED) again are #racing together for the Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorspiorts in the demanding #imsa season. Driving the car with starting number 33 at #Daytona and in the other #endurance races, they are alternating with Luca Stolz (GER). Like in 2017, Mercedes-AMG Driver Adam Christodoulou (GBR) is rounding out the line-up for the 24-hour race in Florida. SunEnergy1 #racing, that has Riley Motorsports run its operation this year, has also opted for continuity. With the #75 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Kenny Habul (AUS) and Mercedes-AMG Driver Maro Engel (GER) are taking on their second participation at #Daytona together. They are supported by Mikael Grenier (CAN) and Mercedes-AMG Driver Thomas Jäger (GER), who already knows the race series and the team from last year’s co-operation. The third Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the Mercedes AMG Customer #racing line-up for the GT #Daytona class is run by a new team: P1 Motorsports is competing with starting number 71 and drivers Juan “JC” Perez (COL), Kenton Koch, Robby Foley (both USA) and Loris Spinelli (ITA) in the race twice around the clock. Start of the 24-hour race is on Saturday, 27 January, at 2.40 pm EST (8.40 pm CET).
On the support package of the #rolex 24 At #Daytona, the #imsa Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge also has its season opener. In the four-hour race that already runs on Friday, 26 January, from 1.00 pm EST (7.00 pm CET), a total of nine Mercedes-AMG GT4 will start their debut season in North-America. The GS class field includes three cars from Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport (#3, #33, #57), two from Team TGM (#4, #46) and further entries from Stephen Cameron #racing (#19), Murillo #racing (#56), DXDT #racing (#63) and Ramsey #racing (#92).
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer #racing: “Two years ago, we started planning the operation and the comprehensive support of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in North-America. It is very nice to see how quickly the programme has grown and which achievements we were able to celebrate with race wins and the #endurance Cup title in our first year in #imsa already. The huge demand for our new Mercedes-AMG GT4 shows that our products and our philosophy have established themselves in the US. We are grateful for the confidence that the teams have in our brand and we are looking forward to the upcoming activities.”
Thomas Jäger, co-ordinator Mercedes-AMG Customer #racing Programme and Mercedes-AMG Driver SunEnergy1 #racing #75: “ The repeated huge presence by Mercedes-AMG and the efforts made by our colleagues from Mercedes-Benz USA at #Daytona strengthen us in our commitment to further expand our involvement in North-America. About the race at #Daytona: #racing in the US is always very special and I am really looking forward to the race with the SunEnergy1 #racing Team. After an intense and successful test at the beginning of January, we are delighted that we got a little less weight on board thanks to the revised BOP. Hopefully, that will help us with the tyre management throughout a stint, but also in terms of top speed and a faster lap time. The team already worked very well last season and the Mercedes-AMG GT3 has proven its performance in an impressive way. That is what we have pinned our hopes on and we will do our utmost to be still on the lead lap during the final our of #racing in order to be in with a chance of a podium finish or even victory.”
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Driver for the Team SunEnergy1 #racing #75: “The tests at the Roar went perfectly. Finally taking on the preparations for #Daytona together with Thomas, Kenny, Mikael and the SunEnergy1 #racing and Riley Motorsports team was a very good feeling. For me, driving for Mercedes-AMG is always an honour. Mercedes-AMG stands for performance and success, so therefore, it is also my duty to do my utmost at any time when I have the three-pointed star on my driver’s suit. #Daytona is one of the real highlights of the season with such a long heritage and tradition. I am very eager for the race to get underway, especially when looking at the entry which has become even stronger compared to last year.”
Adam Christodoulou, Mercedes-AMG Fahrer for the Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports #33: “Being at #Daytona with the boys from the Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports for the second consecutive year is great. With third place during last year’ � s #imsa debut at #Daytona, Mercedes-AMG and we had a great first outing. This year, we want to do even better and hopefully make it to the top step of the podium. Being a part of Mercedes-AMG as a team, a driver or a crew member is something special. The support from Mercedes-AMG Motorsport is the best in the business and the brand continues to grow, not only in North-America, but all over the world.”
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Teams and Drivers #rolex 24 At Daytona*:
Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports
Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED), Adam Christodoulou (GBR), Ben Keating (USA), Luca Stolz (GER)
Robby Foley (USA), Kenton Koch (USA), JC Perez (COL), Loris Spinelli (ITA)
Maro Engel (GER), Mikael Grenier (CAN), Kenny Habul (AUS), Thomas Jäger (GER)
* subject to confirmation by the organiser
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