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Former Bentley Driver Gounon Joins Mercedes-AMG

Mercedes-AMG signs former Bentley boy Gounon and the returning Juncadella for 2021…

Photo: Daniel Kalisz/SRO

Mercedes-AMG has recruited former Bentley driver Jules Gounon and the returning Daniel Juncadella to its factory lineup for the coming GT racing season.

Gounon, who is a reigning Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour winner, will join seven other drivers in representing the German manufacturer’s assortment of customer teams.

The 26-year-old Frenchman signed for Bentley Motorsport at the end of 2017 but was recently impacted by the British marque’s decision to withdraw funding from its GT3 racing program, which included a call not to renew any factory driver contracts.

Gounon has since found a place with Mercedes-AMG, which is the defending global Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS manufacturers’ champion.

Prior to his signing with Bentley, Gounon drove for Mercedes-AMG stalwart AKKA-ASP in the Blancpain GT Series (now GTWC Europe).

“I’m very proud and honored to announce that I’ve been signed for the next two years as an exclusive factory driver for Mercedes-Benz AMG,” Gounon tweeted.

“I’m very happy to be part of the very successful AMG family and ready to take part in this next chapter in my career.”

Mercedes-AMG has also confirmed that Juncadella will be returning to the brand a factory driver.

The Spaniard raced with Mercedes in the DTM from 2013-18 before switching to the R-Motorsport Aston Martin squad for the 2019 season, and has also driven the team’s GT3 cars in various events around the world.

Last year Juncadella piloted a 10Q Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo in the Nürburgring 24.

Maximilian Buhk, Maro Engel, Maximilian Goetz, Thomas Jaeger, Raffaele Marciello and Luca Stolz are all continuing as factory team members.

Furthermore, Mercedes-AMG has selected Marciello, Juncadella, Adam Christodoulou and Daniel Morad as its official sim racing drivers.

“This year, we can rely on an excellent driver lineup again,” said Stefan Wendl, Mercedes-AMG’s head of Customer Racing.

“I am convinced that, like this, we are supporting our teams in the best possible way for their worldwide racing activities and can be in a position to win at any time.

“The goal is to win championship titles on all continents and to run at the front in the 24-hour highlights in particular, as we were already able to prove especially at Daytona.”

Further to its driver announcement, Mercedes-AMG has affirmed its support of teams in the DTM, alongside its other ongoing commitments to the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli, GT World Challenge, ADAC GT Masters and the Nürburgring 24.

A Mercedes-AMG entry for the DTM had already been declared by GruppeM Racing, while AMG voiced its intentions to continue as a points-paying IGTC entrant last month.

“To the strongly contested series in which we were already present last year, the DTM will now be added, another series with a long tradition to expand our international involvement,” said Wendl.

“From my perspective, we are in a very good position for all the upcoming challenges with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the Mercedes-AMG GT4, both in terms of our goals at the real-world race tracks and concerning our involvement in sim racing.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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