Raffaele Marciello says winning the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup championship last weekend is “really special” and sets him up well to fight for the Endurance Cup and overall titles at Barcelona next weekend.
The Italian and his co-driver Michael Meadows came from behind to win the Sprint Cup at the Nürburgring on Sunday when rivals and points leaders Alex Riberas and Christopher Mies retired in the closing stages of the race.
It comes towards the end of a standout year for the 23-year-old who was signed as a Mercedes factory driver ahead of the season.
“First of all, I’m really happy about the Sprint Cup,” he told Sportscar365. “It is quite a lot for me and for AKKA ASP and Mercedes.
“It has always been a difficult championship for Mercedes. Audi has always been [victorious] in Sprint. To win this championship is really special and it’s a nice start.
“I am leading the Endurance championship also, by only one point over Black Falcon. I’m leading the overall, so it’s going well.
“We can have a good chance to try and also win the Endurance championship this year.”
Despite leading all three championships, Marciello’s first Blancpain GT win of the season only came at the Hungaroring earlier this month.
He says consistency and avoiding mistakes has been the key to his season, with him only finishing outside the top four on two occasions in the Sprint Cup, and not retiring once.
In contrast, rivals Riberas and Mies have logged four wins but also several retirements.
“It’s a long season,” he said. “I think it is more important to be consistent than win, actually.
“When you have so many kinds of tracks, so much stuff can happen. It is more important to score points and be consistent.
“Last year was my first year in GT cars and Mercedes. We had some silly mistakes like with the pit stops, so now we’ve worked really hard with the pit stops. We worked really hard to improve myself on consistency.”
He has a healthy lead over Riberas and Mies in the overall standings but sits just one point ahead of Black Falcon’s Luca Stolz, Maro Engel and Yelmer Buurman in the Endurance Cup.
Both titles will be decided with a three-hour race at Barcelona next weekend.
“In the overall classification, I am 18.5 points over the No. 1,” he explained.
“Overall, it is more important to finish the race and score some points but in the Endurance classification I am only one point in front.
“We have to also fight. Like every race, we always push and a lot can happen.”