Mercedes-AMG factory drivers Raffaele Marciello, Maxi Buhk and Maxi Goetz have been confirmed in GruppeM Racing’s lineup for the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
The Suzuka 10 Hours-winning squad is entering the Intercontinental GT Challenge season-opener for the first time next month, with new backing from Mann Filter and a new livery.
Its No. 999 Mercedes-AMG GT3 will sport the yellow and green Mann Filter scheme that adorned HTP Motorsport’s Mercedes race cars in ADAC GT Masters last season.
The entry will be known as Mercedes-AMG Team Mann Filter GruppeM Racing, in what’s expected to be a full-season entry for the Hong Kong-based squad.
Blancpain GT Series overall champion Marciello was part of GruppeM’s Suzuka-winning lineup last year and also represented the team in Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia.
The Italian finished second in last year’s Bathurst 12 Hour with the SunEnergy1-entered Mercedes crew before going on to finish third in the IGTC drivers’ standings.
Buhk is also a former Bathurst runner-up, finishing second to Craig Lowndes in a thrilling battle at the end of the 2014 edition, and along with Goetz has previously represented GruppeM in Asian competition.
“The Bathurst 12 Hour is a very important GT3 race and also part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, which we will participate in for 2019,” said team owner Kenny Chen.
“It will be a tough challenge, for sure. We see some very strong competitors. Historically it has been tough for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 car due to the lack of straight-line speed but with our experienced driver lineup we will fight hard.
“All of those drivers have past history with GruppeM Racing and have all been race winners in a GruppeM Mercedes-AMG GT3 car before. We hope we will be there at the end to fight for a strong finish.”
The GruppeM entry is one of six Mercedes-AMG GT3s slated to compete at Mount Panorama on Feb. 3.
The last and only time a Mercedes won the Australian endurance event was in 2013, when Thomas Jaeger, Alexander Roloff and Bernd Schneider steered an Erebus Motorsport SLS AMG GT3 to victory.