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Mercedes-AMG Planning 2017 GTD Program

AMG confirms plans for Mercedes-AMG GT3 for IMSA in 2017…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is set to add at least one new manufacturer to the GT Daytona grid next year, with AMG confirming plans to make its Mercedes-AMG GT3 available to teams, potentially as a factory supported effort.

The German manufacturer, which has increased its GT3 involvement in European competition this year, is in the process of establishing a North American support base and customer teams, according to AMG Customer Sports coordinator Thomas Jaeger.

“We tried to have this working this year but unfortunately due to our production capacities, we had to serve our other worldwide customers first,” Jaeger told Sportscar365.

“Now we’ve sold more than 40 cars until now, so now we’re trying to bring some cars here.

“There’s a lot of interest, from Nürburgring [24], Blancpain Sprint and Endurance, also in Japan, the cars are very successful.

“We’re in touch with several teams and we hope to have a few cars on the grid next season.”

Jaeger, who is also one of several factory AMG drivers, said there’s been no specific target on car count for its first season in the North American market but is hopeful of having a strong presence in the WeatherTech Championship.

It’s understood a number of existing IMSA teams have already been in discussions with AMG, including Riley Motorsports and TRG, among others.

Jaeger said the possibility even exists for factory supported teams, similar to AMG’s new initiative seen this year in the Blancpain GT Series and at the Nürburgring 24, where it scored a historic 1-2-3-4 sweep.

“We have ‘Performance’ teams in Blancpain and also for Nurburgring and Spa,” he said. “It’s more-or-less the basic customer support with a little bit more technical help and driver support.

‘We’re checking out possibilities here but nothing has been decided yet.”

Jaeger said they hope to finalize their U.S.-based spares and technical support partner in the next four weeks. It will be a separate entity and not a team that will run the car in competition, he said.

“We want to build this up step by step and have good parts support here,” Jaeger said.

“We also have to manage the technical support so everything should be a high level. That’s why we won’t be able to manage ten or more cars from the beginning.

“In the mid-term, we’ll see where it all develops.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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