Connect with us

Intercontinental GT Challenge

GruppeM Works Through Night to Repair Crashed Mercedes-AMG

GruppeM Racing completes overnight repair job to be ready for Gulf 12 Hours FP1…

Photo: JEP/SRO

GruppeM Racing worked through the night to repair its No. 98 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo in time for Free Practice 1 at the Gulf 12 Hours, after a heavy accident for Lucas Auer during Friday testing.

Auer lost control of the car at Yas Marina Circuit’s fast Turn 2 left-hander, resulting in hard contact with the barriers that caused the afternoon session to be red-flagged.

After receiving the car back in the paddock, GruppeM Racing’s mechanics got to work stripping off and replacing the damaged parts, while the work continued until the early hours of Saturday morning. Auer was unhurt but described the crash as a “heavy one.”

The No. 98 is one of ten cars entered into the Pro class at the Gulf 12 Hours, with Auer due to share the wheel with fellow factory drivers Maximilian Goetz and Maro Engel.

“I got the message at 5 a.m. this morning confirming that we would be able to go and do practice,” GruppeM team owner Kenny Chen told Sportscar365.

“We always say at GruppeM that we don’t give up. It’s our goal to come all the way here and try our best. Now let’s see what happens.

“We are full attack for the weekend now.”

Chen explained that the rear suspension needed to be changed but the Mercedes-AMG chassis, which is new for this race, was in sufficient shape to continue with the event.

The team also received assistance from other teams in the Gulf 12 Hours paddock including AF Corse, SPS Automotive Performance, GetSpeed Performance and 2 Seas Motorsport.

“It was only the right rear which was damaged; we were lucky on the front,” said Chen.

“The uprights have absorbed most of the impact. In that aspect, the chassis in the front and the subframe was not damaged. So we had the opportunity to get the car repaired.

“The rear quarter was mainly more cosmetic. Luckily one of our team mechanics normally works in a body shop, so he had some good skills to pull that together.

“The suspension was all damaged, so we had to put a new suspension on. From 5 to 7 o’clock it was mainly about setting up the car. The car is repaired, so we are back.”

Kessel Replaces Crashed Ferrari Chassis

Another casualty during Friday’s eventful set of ‘Open Practice’ test sessions was the No. 33 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 which is competing in Pro-Am.

Murat Cuhadaroglu crashed at the Turn 15 right-hander – the penultimate corner — during the night session and the car briefly caught fire after striking the tire barrier.

Cuhadaroglu walked away from the scene, however the car was too damaged to continue as the same chassis, prompting Kessel Racing to introduce a replacement.

Team manager Tiziana Borghi told Sportscar365 that Kessel’s mechanics worked until 1 a.m. on Saturday morning to ensure the car was ready to go in FP1.

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.

Click to comment

More in Intercontinental GT Challenge