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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Mercedes “Quite Optimistic” on Factory Supported Kyalami Effort

Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing’s Stefan Wendl targeting at least two supported entries for Kyalami…

Photo: Mercedes-AMG

Head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Stefan Wendl says he’s “quite optimistic” of supporting at least two entries with factory backing in December’s Kyalami 9 Hour despite continued logistical challenges.

The German manufacturer, which was absent from the Kyalami grid last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, has received interest from customers including Craft-Bamboo Racing and SunEnergy1 Racing, although are still working on the various possible scenarios.

It’s on top of Team AKKA-ASP’s previously announced full-season IGTC plans with a Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

“We will try to make it happen,” Wendl told Sportscar365. “We’re fully committed for IGTC.”

SPS automotive racing, which was present during the inaugural running of the event in 2019 (pictured above), had initial plans to contest this year’s race but has since elected to focus on it comprehensive Middle Eastern program that will include the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai, Gulf 12 Hours and Asian Le Mans Series.

“We have other teams that are interested [for Kyalami],” said Wendl. “SunEnergy1 is interested in doing something.

“We have Craft-Bamboo interested to continue with their Pro car and AKKA-ASP now has to reset their logistics and hopefully luck is on their side that they can go from here to Kyalami. 

“Those are the major prospects for this. I’m quite optimistic we’ll make it happen.”

Wendl explained that shipping delays with sea-freight, which caught out AKKA-ASP in last weekend’s Indianapolis 8 Hour, has been the primary issue facing the Kyalami event.

“Our teams and we ourselves are [having] some challenging logistical problems,” he said. “The biggest thing is that the logistics overall with sea-freight is quite unpredictable. 

“It’s like a bet. Even our spare parts for example.

“We used to have a container going to Kyalami then to the Middle East with the same set of spares. It’s too unreliable for us to make this route. There are now too many races in the Middle East and now we have to send one container directly to the Middle East.

“We’re trying to find ideas on how to support Kyalami on top and maybe with some teams from Europe. 

“We’re working on alternatives and I know the clock is running; we don’t have much time to leave it. [This week] we will nail [it down] and take decisions on how to get to Kyalami.

“Clearly our goal is to be there with two and maybe more cars.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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