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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Mercedes-AMG Announces Drivers, Seven Cars for Kyalami

Mercedes announces Kyalami drivers, keeps Buhk and Marciello together for final race of season…

Photo: Mercedes-AMG

Mercedes-AMG has confirmed its driver lineups for the Kyalami 9 Hour, which rounds out the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season next month.

The German marque, which is currently leading the manufacturers’ championship, will have a total of seven cars in the race with three entering with factory support.

Drivers’ championship leader Maxi Buhk will share a GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Raffaele Marciello – who is second in the standings – and Maro Engel.

Buhk and Marciello’s placement together for the fourth time this season means 2018 Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe champion Marciello cannot win the IGTC title.

Instead, Buhk’s closest competitors are fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Maxi Goetz and Audi’s Frederic Vervisch, who are both six points behind.

Goetz will be sharing a works-assisted SPS Automotive Performance machine, racing in a South African livery, with fellow factory drivers Yelmer Buurman and Luca Stolz.

French squad SPS will also run an independently-entered car for Tim Mueller, Miguel Ramos and Valentin Pierburg.

Strakka Racing has two cars for Kyalami, with one works-affiliated entry for Gary Paffett, Lewis Williamson and outgoing IGTC drivers’ champion Tristan Vautier, while Christina Nielsen, Dominik Baumann and Henry d’Silva form the British squad’s other crew.

Black Falcon is entering one car in its own name, but will also be running a car for Kenny Habul’s SunEnergy1 Racing outfit which previously contested the rounds at Bathurst and Suzuka.

Habul will be partnered with Thomas Jaeger and Bernd Schneider, while Black Falcon’s own Mercedes will be driven by Hubert Haupt, Patrick Assenheimer and Sergej Afanasiev.

Mercedes-AMG’s head of customer racing Stefan Wendl said: “After four high-class races, we are now expecting a season finale of the Intercontinental GT Challenge that is no less thrilling.

“With the new race in Kyalami, the IGTC has reached yet another level in terms of appeal and significance this year. All drivers and manufacturers are keen on scoring a historic maiden win in the nine-hour race and we are no exception.

“We will not just be looking for victory, but also have to drive a clever race in order to get the maximum out of our excellent initial position, which is the double of drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles.”

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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