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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Strakka Returns to IGTC with Two Factory-Backed Mercedes

Nielsen, Paffett, Vautier included in Strakka’s IGTC lineup for rest of 2019…

Photo: Gruppe C/Mercedes-AMG

Strakka Racing will return to the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli grid with two factory Mercedes-AMG GT3s and seven drivers announced for the remainder of the season.

Two-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar GTD champion Christina Nielsen and reigning DTM champion Gary Paffett are among the additions for the British squad’s second season in the globe-trotting series.

Nielsen, who is already contesting the North American Endurance Cup season with Meyer Shank Racing, will co-drive the No. 43 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with a rotation of Dominik Baumann, Adam Christodoulou and Adrian Henry d’Silva.

Baumann and Christodoulou will be onboard for California 8 Hours later this month, while Christodoulou and d’Silva will join Nielsen for the final two races at Suzuka and Kyalami.

Nielsen’s two race partners for the Total 24 Hours of Spa in July are still to be confirmed. The Dane is now set to race in the full five-race IGTC schedule after contesting the season-opening Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour with Black Falcon a few weeks back.

Paffett, meanwhile, is set to contest his first full IGTC campaign in the No. 42 car after also racing at Bathurst in a Mercedes entered by Craft-Bamboo Racing.

The DTM champion and current ABB FIA Formula E driver will share driving duties with defending Intercontinental champion Tristan Vautier and Scottish racer Lewis Williamson, who clinched last year’s Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Pro-Am title with strakka.

“We are very happy with our line-up for IGTC this season,” said Strakka team principal Jay Davenport.

“We have a lot of experience and a lot of success with the drivers that will be lining up in the #42 and #43 and we cannot wait to get on track at Laguna Seca at the end of the month to get our campaign started.”

GruppeM Doubles its Entry for California 8H

The GruppeM Mercedes-AMG squad will enter a pair of GT3 cars into the California 8 Hours, which takes place at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on March 30.

In addition to its full-season lineup of Raffaele Marciello, Maximilian Goetz and Maximilian Buhk, the Hong Kong-based team will run a second car for fellow factory drivers Yelmer Buurman, Luca Stolz and Maro Engel.

The trio won the 2018 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup title, with their run including fifth overall in the 24 Hours of Spa and victory in the season-ending race at Catalunya.

Mercedes currently leads the IGTC manufacturers’ standings by eight points after two of its cars finished in the top-four at Bathurst.

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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