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Intercontinental GT Challenge

GruppeM Plotting Lineup Consistency for Rest of Season

Maro Engel, Mikael Grenier set to contest full IGTC season with GruppeM Racing…

Photo: Kevin Pecks/SRO

Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing is aiming to have consistency in its driver lineup for the rest of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season with two drivers going for the title, according to team owner Kenny Chen.

Chen told Sportscar365 that the team’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour trio of Maro Engel, Raffaele Marciello and Mikael Grenier is set to remain in place for three of the other four IGTC rounds at Kyalami, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Yas Marina.

Reigning Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS champion Marciello is expected to drive for GruppeM in all races except the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa.

Marciello will be assigned to a different team at Spa as part of a GTWC Europe Endurance Cup program that is yet to be announced.

It is understood that reigning IGTC drivers’ champion Daniel Juncadella could replace Marciello in the GruppeM lineup for the third round of the season in Belgium.

Chen said that it will be important to keep a largely consistent squad for the global GT3 series and that the intention is for Marciello to return to the entry, alongside Engel and Grenier, for the Indianapolis 8 Hour presented by AWS and the Gulf 12 Hours.

“When you work through the season, they all help each other and they all work on the setup of the car,” Chen said.

“They all work with the engineers and the engineers know what their expectations are, and what they want. This is what brings consistency.”

Chen explained that it was a “joint decision” from GruppeM and Mercedes-AMG to have two drivers complete the full IGTC season in a bid for the overall championship.

The team, which is from Hong Kong but has a facility in Germany, will use its own crew throughout the campaign but will be accompanied by the same Mercedes-AMG ‘Performance’ engineer at each of the events.

“We are doing it as a Performance team as a partner with AMG for the full season,” Chen said.

“That’s why we decided to bring in this consistency. This is the best way for these races.

“And if you look at what happened in World Challenge with Lello, Dani and Jules [Gounon], it worked very well [having the same lineup], so I think that’s quite important.”

Chen added that GruppeM Racing is likely to add a second Mercedes-AMG for the season-ending Gulf 12 Hours, replicating the team’s commitment to the event last year.

However, according to Chen, it is currently “to be decided” if GruppeM fields an extra entry for Spa in July.

“The problem is the [availability of] drivers,” he explained. “Abu Dhabi is easier because all the drivers are available.”

After two seasons of racing in the DTM, GruppeM is making its return to full-time IGTC competition for the first time since 2019 when it ran Maximilian Buhk at all five rounds.

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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