Tales from the paddock – Perfect season opener and historic victory

May 2019

Successful race weekend for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the Mercedes-AMG GT4 all around the world

  • This is what happened: Results and facts
  • News from the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport teams
  • Social media news: What’s new online?

This is what happened: Results and facts

  • Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe: Nico Bastian and Thomas Neubauer are followed across the line by Luca Stolz and Maro Engel to make it a Mercedes one‑two in Race 1 at Brands Hatch
  • Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe: Luca Stolz and Maro Engel register victory number two for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the second race of the season at Brands Hatch
  • China GT Championship (GT4): Two wins for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 at the Ningbo International Circuit

News snippets

Barcelona, here we come: The Spanish Grand Prix traditionally launches the European leg of the Formula 1 season. The race transporters and team motorhomes will therefore feature prominently in the F1 paddock this coming weekend. Memories from recent years at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for Mercedes are mixed. The team has indeed won four of the last five races on Spanish soil (three times with Lewis Hamilton, once with Nico Rosberg) and three of them were one-twos, including 2018 with Lewis and Valtteri Bottas. In the 2016 season, however, the team experienced an extremely hard weekend when Lewis and Nico both went out of the race after a collision on the first lap. On the other hand, Mercedes’ qualifying record at the track just outside Barcelona is unblemished: a Silver Arrows car has been on pole position every year since 2013 – twice Nico, four times Lewis.

Perfect start to the season in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport got its 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe campaign off to an excellent start at Brands Hatch, with victories in both sprint races. The performance of the Silver Cup duo Nico Bastian (GER) and Thomas Neubauer (FRA) in the number 89 AKKA ASP car was outstanding, as they left the entire Pro field trailing in their wake. Maro Engel and Luca Stolz (GER) in the number 4 BLACK FALCON Mercedes-AMG GT3 made it a perfect one-two result. Stolz started from pole position, but Bastian leapfrogged him with a superior pit stop strategy and his 19-year-old team-mate then defended the lead to the finish. Vincent Abril (MON) and Raffaele Marciello (ITA) in the number 88 AKKA ASP sister car took fourth place to wrap up an impressive team result.

In the second race, Engel and Stolz cruised home in first place by a twelve-second margin. Meanwhile, pole-sitters Fabian Schiller (GER) and Timur Boguslavskiy (RUS) in the number 90 AKKA ASP car were out of luck, having to park their car after it developed a technical fault. The partnership of Abril and Marciello were also forced to retire after being on course for the runner-up spot on the podium. Despite being handed a drive-through penalty, Bastian and Neubauer still managed to finish eighth, which was enough for them to once again lift the Silver Cup. In the Pro-Am class, Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Jim Pla (both FRA) in the number 87 car likewise looked to have the win sewn up but frustratingly saw the opposition sail past on the final straight. Engel and Stolz top the championship standings in both the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe (29.5 points) and the Blancpain GT Series (44.5 points). Bastian and Neubauer lead the Silver Cup classification on 34 points. The next sprint race weekend is 28th - 30th June at Misano. The teams contesting the Blancpain GT Series will be back in action again as early as next weekend when Silverstone hosts its three-hour endurance race.

Leipert Motorsport register a historic success in the GT4 European Series: The victory in the general classification secured by Max Koebolt (NED) and Jasiek Kisiel (POL) in the second race on Sunday was the first for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport in this series. Their team-mates Marcus Paverud (NOR) and Luca-Sandro Trefz (GER) finished seventh overall on Saturday and were winners in their class.

Three podium finishes in the Australian GT Championship: The second weekend of the Australian GT Championship at the Barbagallo Raceway also turned out to be a highly successful one for the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing teams. It started with Peter Hackett (AUS) of Eggleston Motorsport finishing Race 1 on Friday in P3. In the third of the three 40-minute races on Saturday, Max Twigg (AUS) of WM Waste Management / Scott Taylor Motorsport and Mark Griffith (AUS) of Nineteen Corporation / Griffith Corporation shared the podium as second and third respectively. Max Twigg retains his lead in the Australian GT Championship after the first two events.

Magnificent pursuit in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge: In North America, a Mercedes-AMG driver pairing likewise made it onto the podium. James Cox and Dylan Murry (both USA) in the number 35 Mercedes-AMG GT4 fielded by Riley Motorsports battled their way through from 13th on the grid to finish second in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge at the Mid-Ohio circuit. The number 65 Murillo Racing car driven by Tim Probert and Brent Mosing (both USA) was fourth.

Mercedes-AMG GT3 sister car fielded by Riley Motorsports out of luck: In the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED) and Ben Keating (USA) of Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports started the race well in second place but were subsequently forced to retire after a collision with one of the prototype cars. The number 74 Lone Star Racing driven by Lawson Aschenbach and Gar Robinson (both USA) finished eleventh.

Two wins and a double podium in the China GT Championship: There were two victories for Affalterbach-built cars in both GT4 races of the China GT Championship last weekend at the Ningbo International Circuit. Will Bamber (NZL) and Peter Yang Liao (TWN) of D2 RACING SPORT crossed the finish line first in Race 1. Alex Fontana (SUI) and Christian Chia (CHN) of Phantom Pro Racing then won the second race of the weekend. In the GT3 class, there were two double podiums for Mercedes‑AMG Motorsport. In the first race, Jazeman Jaafar (MAS) and Frank Yu (HKG) of EWS Craft-Bamboo Racing made spectacular progress through the field to take second place ahead of the Toro Racing Mercedes-AMG driven by Adam Christodoulou (GBR) and Eric Zang (CHN) in third. In the second race, the two pairings swapped positions on the podium.

Further successes in Italy, Sweden and Japan: Antonelli MotorSport stamped their authority on the Italian GT Championship with a lights-to-flag victory at the Autodromo Vallelunga. After a P2 finish on Saturday, Alessio Rovera and Riccardo Agostini (both ITA) went one better on Sunday, nailing the win from pole position. Meanwhile in the GT4 Scandinavia season opener at Ring Knutstorp, Mats Ek Tidstrand and Victor Bouveng (both SWE) driving a Mercedes-AMG GT4 fielded by Eken Motorsport took the P3 podium spot in both races. The best-placed of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 contingent in the Super GT 500km race at Fuji in Japan was the LEON RACING car in fifth place. Nayoa Gamou and Haruki Kurosawa (both JPN) mounted an impressive charge from 13th on the grid.

Social Media News

#PurePitWall: Our Motorsport Strategy Director James Vowles answers fan questions about the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. These include the practice starts at the beginning of Q3 and whether our first stop was in response to Ferrari.

Watch videowww.youtube.com/watch?v=WDIePnJEcTA

#TripoliGP: 80 years ago... The story of the one-off Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix car, the W 165, that triumphed in the deserts of Tripoli!

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOOgLEb2ilY

Press Contact

  • Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Communications Director / F1-Communications
  • Tel: +44 1280 844484


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  • 2_mercedesamgcustomerracing_bgtwceurope_brandshatch_2019_02
    Winner race 2, BLACK FALCON, #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 3_mercedesamgcustomerracing_bgtwceurope_brandhatch_2019_03
    2nd place Pro-Am in race 2, AKKA ASP Team, #87 Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 1_mercedesamgcustomerracing_bgtwceurope_brandshatch_2019_01
    Winner race 1, AKKA ASP Team, #89 Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 4_mercedesamgcustomerracing_bgtwceurope_brandshatch_2019_04
    Podium ceremony race 1 (from left): Jérôme Policand (AKKA ASP Team), Luca Stolz and Maro Engel (BLACK FALCON, 2nd place), Nico Bastian and Thomas Neubauer (AKKA ASP Team, 1st place)
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    Lone Star Racing, #74 Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 6_mercedesamgcustomeracing_imsawtsc_mid-ohio_2019_02
    Start of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports, #33 Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 7_mercedesamgcustomerracing_imsampc_mid-ohio_2019_03
    2nd place in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Riley Motorsports, #35 Mercedes-AMG GT4
  • 8_mercedesamgcustomeracing_imsawtsc_mid-ohio_2019_04
    4th place in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Murillo Racing, #65 Mercedes-AMG GT4