Top figures from three prominent Mercedes-AMG teams voiced general support for the manufacturer’s plans to keep its current GT3 car active until the end of 2024.
As reported by Sportscar365 last month, the German marque is looking to introduce a new GT3 product in 2025 and plans to keep the existing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, which made its debut in 2020, valid until then.
Haupt Racing Team CEO Ulrich Fritz, GetSpeed Performance team principal Adam Osieka and Akkodis ASP boss Jerome Policand have given their thoughts on Mercedes-AMG’s stated future plans in the global GT racing formula.
Fritz, whose HRT squad races in the DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup and the Nürburgring, said that he sees pros and cons in keeping the Evo model in competition to the end its fifth year of competition in 2024.
“As always, there are positive and negative sides to it,” he told Sportscar365.
“What is great about the idea of keeping the car as long as possible, is for the teams to save money because you don’t have to buy new parts every second and third year.
“The continuity is good and I think this is a good customer racing strategy.
“Generally we have a good product: I think it has more than a million kilometers worldwide. It is more or less bulletproof. You don’t have this with a new product.”
But Fritz also believes that there could be some risk in keeping a GT3 car active for so many years when other brands are in the process of rolling out new products.
BMW introduced the M4 GT3 this year, while Audi and Honda refreshed their R8 and NSX GT3 racing lines with second evolution packages.
The Ferrari 296 GT3, the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 and the new 992-generation Porsche 911 GT3 R will then debut next year.
“This will be a challenge,” warned Fritz. “Because these cars are next-generation cars.
“We have to be honest: our car is now seven years on the market. We did the Evo package, but the baseline is still quite a few years old.
“The new cars will be more modern with new features. Especially on the customer racing side, the question is how appealing will the Merc be for the next two or three years?
“The only downside I really see is people just saying that it’s an old product. But they also know it’s an incredibly well-to-drive and forgivable car. That is the biggest strength of the Merc. It’s safe and that hasn’t changed. It will level out.”
Fritz noted that the Balance of Performance processes used by different GT3 series will help to keep the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo competitive as it continues to age.
Osieka feels the same way: “It’s always BoP-related so it makes no big difference if you have a new car or not, if the old car is still competitive enough,” he told Sportscar365.
“It looks good, it looks modern, so there is no reason to change. The experience you have with such a car [means] the value is much higher than if you have a new car.”
Osieka is supportive of Mercedes-AMG’s plans to keep the GT3 Evo operational and current for another two years without being modified.
“I like the idea because you can focus on the same car and you don’t have to buy a new car,” he said.
“For us as a team, it is always good to stay with the same model if the car is competitive enough.
“We know every screw on this car, we know what to change to improve, so we love it and we love the idea to stay another two years.
“It makes no sense to change every second or third year.”
Policand, whose Akkodis ASP squad competes in GTWC Europe, told Sportscar365 that he would support a second Evo upgrade between now and 2025, to address some performance factors such as understeer and top speed.
But he acknowledged that rolling out another Evo, which Mercedes-AMG does not plan to do, would be complicated due to the sheer number of cars around the world.
Like Fritz and Osieka, Policand is not concerned about the car’s competitiveness over time.
“As a customer, if the car stays like this, it’s OK because you have the knowledge of the car and the spare parts,” he said.
“The car is still competitive. And of course, the BoP helps when one car is in front.
“There are two options: you play a bit with the BoP, or you play with your car. You can always find something. Every year we find a little thing.”
However, the ASP team principal also raised a point regarding the recently-proposed GT3 Premium kit that will be required for cars running in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 2024.
“If the new car comes in 2025, the only problem would be Le Mans,” Policand suggested.
“Because if the car is to run there in 2024 with the new shape, it’s like building it for [one] Le Mans and then the new car is the year after. It doesn’t make sense if you do it like this.”