Tales from the paddock: Top results in the USA, start of testing in Bahrain and a red safety car

Mar 10, 2021

The 2021 motorsport season is gathering pace: From success in Round 1 of the title defence campaign in the GT World Challenge to the start of pre-season Formula One testing.

  • 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

  • GT World Challenge America: Top Three result for a Mercedes-AMG GT3 in Race 2 at Sonoma Raceway
  • GT4 America: Two podium finishes for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the two races at Sonoma Raceway
  • GT Winter Series: Victory for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 at Motorland Aragón

News snippets

Final preparations: The F1 season opener at the Bahrain Grand Prix (26 - 28 March) is fast approaching. Next weekend (12 - 14 March), the Bahrain International Circuit will host the only test sessions of the winter. It will be a first opportunity for Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to put the new Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance through its paces on an actual race track. The number of days available for the teams to make their final adjustments ahead of the upcoming season has this year been reduced from six to three. While the engineers at the Brackley and Brixworth factories were putting the final touches to the new F1 W12, Valtteri and Lewis have spent the weeks and months since the season finale in Abu Dhabi undergoing their own intensive training programmes. Now they are itching to get back on the track.

New look: The Mercedes-AMG Safety and Medical Cars go into the 2021 F1 season with a new paintjob: the rich red not only reflects the Mercedes-AMG signature colour but also that of Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team partner CrowdStrike. The market leader in cybersecurity will become the Official Mercedes Safety Car Partner with effect from this season. As in previous years, the safety car is a 430 kW (585 hp) Mercedes-AMG GT R (fuel consumption combined 12.4 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined 284 g/km). The Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Estate (fuel consumption combined 10.0 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined 229 g/km) is used as the medical car. Bernd Mayländer will once again be manning the cockpit of the safety car this season. For the first time since 1996, Mercedes-AMG share the vital role of FIA Safety Car and FIA Medical Car provider with a second automotive manufacturer, Aston Martin. The British sports car brand will be on duty at the season opener in Bahrain, and the red AMG cars will get their first outing of the year on the second weekend of the campaign at Imola.

Strong start to title defence in the GT World Challenge: Customer Racing team DXDT Racing ensured a successful start to the 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS with a class victory at the first event of the GT World Challenge America season at Sonoma Raceway in California. Colin Braun and George Kurtz (both USA) in the number 04 Mercedes-AMG GT3 took third place overall in the second race of the weekend, which was enough for the win in the Pro-Am class. The day before, David Askew (USA) and Ryan Dalziel (GBR) had driven the number 63 sister car to second place in class. In both 90-minute races, three Mercedes-AMG GT3s finished in the general classification Top 10.

GT World Challenge America is one of four continental race series that constitute the Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS. As defending champions in the global manufacturers’ championship, Mercedes-AMG is aiming for a third consecutive triumph in the combined classification of the series (America, Asia, Australia and Europe). The brand faces stiff competition from five other renowned manufacturers. The best-placed car in each class in the individual races scores points towards the manufacturers’ standings. A total of 29 race events are planned for this season. A new feature on the 2021 calendar is the GT World Challenge Australia, which will hold its first races next weekend (12 - 14 March) on Phillip Island. The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza (16 - 18 April) will host the season opener in Europe. The GT World Challenge Asia begins on 29/30 May in Sepang, Malaysia. The destination of the title will be decided in Bathurst at the grand finale of the GT World Challenge Australia on the weekend of 26 - 28 November.

Double victory in GT America: The first ever GT America Sprint Series weekend, also held at Sonoma Raceway, went perfectly for DXDT Racing, with George Kurtz (USA) in the number 04 Mercedes-AMG GT3 posting a lights-to-flag victory in both 40-minute races.

Murillo Racing fielding a Mercedes-AMG GT4 also made a couple of podium appearances in the Pirelli GT4 America. Kenny Murillo and Christian Szymczak (both USA) in the number 72 car finished in third place on Saturday and as runners-up on Sunday. In Sunday’s race, the duo also took the class win in the Silver category. John Allen and Kris Wilson (both USA) in the number 16 Capstone Motorsports car finished second in the Am class.

Race win on the virtual Nürburgring: At the finale of the Digital Nürburgring Endurance Series presented by Goodyear, MANN-FILTER Team HTP WINWARD claimed a first win of the season for a virtual Mercedes-AMG GT3. Aleksi Elomaa (FIN), Jack Sedgwick (GBR) and Teemu Suninen (FIN) finished first in the three-hour race contested on the iRacing track simulation. They were ‘driving’ the number 48 car which sported the team’s familiar yellow-green livery. The number 101 of Haupt Racing Team Heusinkveld also finished on the virtual podium in third place with Adam Christodoulou (GBR), Mats-Thorge Huthsfeldt (GER) and Jan Sentkowski (GER) at the wheel. The team thus finished the season in third place in the final overall standings of the SP9 class. 

After the finale in the virtual world, real-world racing continues at the Nürburgring on 27 March, when the 2021 Nürburgring Endurance Series gets underway with the 66th ADAC Westfalenfahrt. 

Social Media News

#Q&A: Winter training, dream race track, pineapple pizza and much more besides: Valtteri Bottas answers fans’ questions before the start of the new 2021 F1 season.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6rzbOL5cdI

#F1Explained: The power unit is the heart of every F1 car. We explain how a modern power unit works and what makes it so unique.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBZZ9lOsj9Y

#F1W12: The new F1 season is just around the corner. Take a look at our new Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance, and hear what Toto Wolff, James Allison, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton have to say about it.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuJgZUDPX-U

#SilverArrowsStory: Just as F1 winter testing is about to commence in Bahrain, our look back at the modern Silver Arrows era comes to an end. Here are our favourite facts, memories and minor revelations about the W08, W09 and W10.

Watch video - W08: www.youtube.com/watch?v=F85wI4znTug

Watch video - W09: www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY94BHx6q9Q

Watch video - W10: www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1QQa4aEi_I

Formula One: Launch of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance Lewis Hamilton
Formula One: Launch of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance Lewis Hamilton
Formula One: Launch of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance Valtteri Bottas
Formula One: Launch of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance Valtteri Bottas
Formula One: Launch of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance
Formula One: Launch of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance
Formula One: Launch of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance
Formula One: Launch of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance
Formula One: Launch of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance
Formula One: Launch of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance
Formula One: Launch of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance
Alec Udell, Bryce Ward, Indy Dontje, Russell Ward (from left), WINWARD Racing, at the podium ceremony
#74 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Team 777 By ClimaxRacing
#101 Mercedes-AMG E-Sports Team Heusinkveld
#72 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Murillo Racing
#56 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Murillo Racing
#04 Mercedes-AMG GT3, DXDT Racing
Kenny Murillo (left) and Christian Szymczak, Murillo Racing
Colin Braun (left) and George Kurtz, DXDT Racing at the podium ceremony
#19 Mercedes-AMG GT3, DXDT Racing and #33 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Winward Racing
#63 Mercedes-AMG GT3, DXDT Racing