Mercedes-AMG concludes outstanding IGTC season with three championship titles

Mercedes-AMG concludes outstanding IGTC season with three championship titles

11.12.2022: • Dani Juncadella is the new Intercontinental GT Challenge champion • Kenny Habul and Martin Konrad celebrate Pro-Am drivers’ title • Two ei Mercedes-AMG GT3s in the top five in Gulf 12 Hours at Yas Marina Circuit


•    Dani Juncadella is the new Intercontinental GT Challenge champion

•    Kenny Habul and Martin Konrad celebrate Pro-Am drivers’ title

•    Two ei Mercedes-AMG GT3s in the top five in Gulf 12 Hours at Yas Marina Circuit

Mercedes-AMG Driver Daniel Juncadella (ESP) wins the 2022 Intercontinental GT Challenge. In the season finale, the Gulf 12 Hours at Yas Marina Circuit, the 31-year-old didn’t score any points, but was still able to maintain his leading position in the drivers’ standings.

The best-placed Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the season-ending IGTC round at Abu Dhabi was the #77 car of Customer Racing Team Al Manar Racing by GetSpeed: Al Faisal Al Zubair (OMA), Fabian Schiller (GER) and Luca Stolz (GER) finished the high-class GT3 race in fourth place.

Prior to the finale, Mercedes-AMG had already secured the IGTC manufacturers’ title, just like Kenny Habul (AUS) and Martin Konrad (AUT) for Customer Racing Team SunEnergy1 by SPS had been confirmed as the new and old champions in the Pro-Am classification.

For Mercedes-AMG Team Gruppe M in particular, the final IGTC weekend at Yas Marina Circuit became an emotional roller-coaster. In free practice on Friday, the #98 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Lucas Auer (AUT), Maro Engel and Maximilian Götz (both GER) had an accident.

The Performance Team put in a nightshift for repair works and got the car ready to run again in time for qualifying on Saturday. Here, the driver trio convinced with the fastest aggregate lap time and claimed pole position as a result. In the #89 Mercedes-AMG Team Gruppe M sister car, IGTC points’ leader Juncadella and his fellow drivers Jules Gounon (FRA) and Raffaele Marciello (SUI) ended up second in qualifying.

In the race on Sunday, joy about the front row of the grid didn’t last long: after only a few laps, Engel had to returned to the pits for an unscheduled stop with the #98 Mercedes-AMG GT3. A failure in the oil circuit, a belated consequence of the accident in free practice, caused an early retirement.

Just a little bit later, the #89 car also encountered bad luck: after 47 laps of the 5.281 kilometres long track, technical problems with the cooling water circuit and the subsequent loss of water forced the team to retire.

With Juncadella now absent from the race, Luca Stolz was now in focus for the decision in the title battle as he was in a position to win the IGTC drivers’ title with a victory at Yas Marina Circuit. Having started from P6, the #77 Al Manar Racing by GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG GT3 presented itself in an accordingly courageous manner.

As the race went on, Stolz, Al Zubair and Schiller established themselves at the front end of the 34-car GT3 field. In the process, the trio also racked up some laps in the lead. In the closing stages, title candidate Stolz got behind the wheel for the final stint while in fourth place.

However, the gap to the podium positions turned out to be too big. After 335 laps, the 27-year-old crossed the finish line in fourth place. That didn’t enable him to close up to Dani Juncadella in the overall standings, the latter coming out on top in the drivers’ standings as a result.

A class win and the drivers’ title in the Pro-Am class

In the Pro-Am class, Kenny Habul and Martin Konrad were able to take it easy going into the IGTC finale. After their victory at Bathurst and a pair of second places in class at Spa and Indianapolis, the duo had already secured the Pro-Am drivers’ championship title early.

In the season finale, Philip Ellis (SUI) supported Habul and Konrad behind the wheel of the #75 SunEnergy1 by SPS car. The trio confirmed its peak form and ranked among the front-running group in the overall classification for a large part of the race. In the closing stages, they controlled their class. After 334 laps, Ellis brought home the class win and fifth place overall.

The winners of the previous running of the Gulf 12 Hours, Isa Al Khalifa (BRN) and Martin Kodric (CRO), also had a successful race. The duo of Customer Racing Team 2 Seas Motorsport was joined by Hunter Abbott (GBR) and drove its #1 Mercedes-AMG to fourth place in Pro-Am (P10 overall).

The good performance of the Customer Racing Teams in the Abu Dhabi 12-hour race concludes an outstanding year in IGTC for Mercedes-AMG. In the four endurance races of the 2022 season, the teams with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 racked up three overall wins and three further podium results in total.

It started with a historic 1-2-3 in the Bathurst 12 Hour, followed by a 1-2 in the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa and another first place in the Indianapolis 8 Hour. Prior to the finale on the Arabian Peninsula, the performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach therefore had already been crowned as the new champion in the manufacturers’ standings.

Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing

“This was an extraordinarily successful year in IGTC for Mercedes-AMG. We have won the manufacturers’ championship and the drivers’ titles in the overall classification and the Pro-Am class. For the finale at the Gulf 12 Hours, our goal was to continue our streak of three consecutive wins. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out as our two Performance cars retired early.

After that, however, the Customer Racing Teams kept up their commanding performance and secured two top-five results and victory in the Pro-Am class. I congratulate Dani Juncadella on the deserved drivers’ title in the overall standings as well as Kenny Habul and Martin Konrad on the Pro-Am championship. My congratulations also to Ferrari and AF Corse who were the deserving winners today.”

Daniel Juncadella, Mercedes-AMG Team Gruppe M #89

“I had a great season and now being the new IGTC champion is a feeling I can’t describe. Endurance races are always a huge team effort, you never win on your own. My fellow drivers Jules Gounon, Raffaele Marciello, Kevin Tse, Daniel Morad and Maro Engel with whom I raced together in various combinations this season have also contributed to my championship win.

They all deserve a large part of the honour. Of course, we would have loved to bow out of the season with another win today. That was the dream, but at the end of the day, I am also overjoyed with the championship like this.”

Luca Stolz, Al Manar Racing by GetSpeed #77

“Our race weekend wasn’t easy. We weren’t entirely satisfied with the set-up. Qualifying didn’t quite meet our ambitions. In the race, we were then able to keep up nicely and even were battling for the lead at times. Eventually, we were very close to the podium. P4 is sad, but we have given it our utmost and we were pushing throughout the race.”

Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team Gruppe M #98

“It is disappointing that we had to retire from the race that early today, particularly after the mega day we had yesterday, on which the team did an incredible job in getting our car ready again. But that is what motorsport is like after all. We can only express our thanks for the great support this season. All in all, it was a tremendous season for Mercedes-AMG. Here in IGTC, but also in the other series, there were many achievements by the Customer Racing Teams. That is a slight consolation for our retirement today.”

Kenny Habul, SunEnergy1 by SPS #75

“What a great feeling. In total, I am Pro-Am champion in IGTC for the third time together with my team. Thanks to everyone responsible at Mercedes-AMG: Stefan Wendl, Thomas Jäger, everyone! And, of course, to all my fellow drivers who have supported me. Martin and I were a really strong Pro-Am duo this year. I am already looking forward to a continuation next year.”

Martin Konrad, SunEnergy1 by SPS #75

“We had a super season and a great team. We have won at Bathurst and came second in our class at Spa and Indianapolis. Today’s class win is a perfect conclusion for is. A super performance by everyone, especially by Kenny. He had a mega start and laid the foundation for Philip and me as a result. We could hardly be any happier.”

Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the Gulf 12 Hours*:

1.    1.
Pro    71    Ferrari 488 GT3    AF Corse    Antonio Fuoco (ITA), James Calado (GBR), Alessandro Pier Guidi (ITA)    335

2.    2.
Pro    50    Ferrari 488 GT3    AF Corse - Francorchamps Motors    Davide Rigon (ITA), Alessio Rovera (ITA), Nicklas Nielsen (DEN)    335

3.    3.
Pro    25    Audi R8 LMS GT3    Audi Sport Team Sainteloc    Erwan Bastard (FRA), Christopher Haase (GER), Patric Niederhauser (SUI)    335

4.    4.
Pro    77    Mercedes-AMG GT3    Al Manar Racing by GetSpeed    Al Faisal Al Zubair (OMA), Fabian Schiller (GER), Luca Stolz (GER)    335

5.    1.
Pro-Am    75    Mercedes-AMG GT3    SunEnergy1 by SPS    Philip Ellis (SUI), Kenny Habul (AUS), Martin Konrad (AUT)    334

10.    4.
Pro-Am    1    Mercedes-AMG GT3    2 Seas Motorsport    Hunter Abbott (GBR), Isa Al Khalifa (BRN), Martin Kodric (CRO)    332

15.    4.
Am    8    Mercedes-AMG GT3    RAM Racing    Mikaël Grenier (CAN), Ian Loggie (GBR), Morgan Tillbrook (GBR)    320

24.    8
Pro-Am    51    Mercedes-AMG GT3    2 Seas Motorsport    Aaron Walker (GBR), Lewis Williamson (GBR), James Cottingham (GBR)    282

26    7.
Am    58    Mercedes-AMG GT3    MP Racing    Corinna Gostner (ITA), David Gostner (ITA), Manuela Gostner (ITA), Thomas Gostner (ITA)    205

Pro-Am    20    Mercedes-AMG GT3    SPS automotive performance    Dominik Baumann (AUT), Martin Berry (AUS), Valentin Pierburg (GER)    196

Pro    89    Mercedes-AMG GT3    Mercedes-AMG Team Gruppe M    Jules Gounon (FRA), Daniel Juncadella (ESP), Raffaele Marciello (SUI)    47

Pro    98    Mercedes-AMG GT3    Mercedes-AMG Team Gruppe M    Lucas Auer (AUT), Maro Engel (GER), Maximilian Götz (GER)    24

* excerpt subject to confirmation by the organiser

Jochen Übler,  photos Mercedes


11.12.2022 / MaP

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