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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Two Teams Receiving Mercedes-AMG Factory Support at Spa

Mercedes-AMG to support two Pro-class entries in this month’s Total 24 Hours of Spa…

Photo: Mercedes-AMG

Mercedes-AMG has confirmed its crews for the Total 24 Hours of Spa including a reduced Pro-class presence with factory-supported cars for Haupt Racing Team and AKKA-ASP.

A total of 10 Mercedes-AMG GT3s, nine of which are in Evo specification, are set to tackle the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli and GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup round on Oct. 24-25.

Two of those cars are competing in the top category and will receive extended factory support under the Mercedes-AMG Team banner.

HRT’s No. 4 machine will be driven by Maro Engel, Luca Stolz and Vincent Abril while AKKA-ASP’s No. 88 entry will consist of Raffaele Marciello, Felipe Fraga and Timur Boguslavskiy.

Marciello, Fraga and Boguslavskiy are second in the GTWC Europe Endurance Cup standings heading to Spa, having scored consecutive podiums in the 3 Hours of Imola and the 6 Hours of the Nürburgring, while the HRT trio is sixth in the championship.

Mercedes-AMG had four works-backed entries in last year’s 24-hour race with Black Falcon (now HRT) and AKKA-ASP joined by Strakka Racing and GruppeM Racing.

Strakka is no longer engaged in sports car competition after its operation was recently purchased by United Autosports, while GruppeM confirmed to Sportscar365 last month that it would be curtailing its IGTC program.

The rest of Mercedes-AMG’s lineup will take part in the Silver Cup and Pro-Am classes.

Both HRT and AKKA-ASP also have Silver Cup entries and are joined in the category by Spa debutant Madpanda Motorsport and HTP-Winward Motorsport.

Hubert Haupt and Sergey Afanasyev will be joined by Michele Beretta and Gabriele Piana in the No. 5 HRT entry, while AKKA-ASP’s crew features Benjamin Hites, Lucas Legeret and Alex Fontana.

HTP-Winward’s car will be driven by Indy Dontje, Russell Ward and Philip Ellis, while Madpanda Motorsport has yet to confirm who will join Ezequiel Companc and Patrick Assenheimer in its No. 90 AMG GT3 Evo.

As first reported by Sportscar365, GTWC America drivers Colin Braun and George Kurtz are teaming up with Dominik Baumann and Valentin Pierburg for Pro-Am outfit SPS Automotive Performance.

There is also a Pro-Am entry for RAM Racing, which is fielding a car for Tom Onslow-Cole, Martin Konrad and Remon Vos.

AKKA-ASP’s Pro-Am crew is an all-French quartet of Fabien Barthez, Thomas Drouet, Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Jim Pla.

Additionally, GT Open squad JP Motorsport is set for its 24-hour race debut with a pre-Evo Mercedes for Christian Klien, Mathias Lauda, Jens Liebhauser and Patryk Krupinski.

“For us, the Spa 24-hour race again ranks among the highlights of the season this year,” said Stefan Wendl, head of customer racing at Mercedes-AMG.

“We are competing with a strong line-up of 10 Mercedes-AMG GT3s in order to score both a good overall result and to have success in the various classes.

“Moreover, for some of our teams and drivers, titles in the GT World Challenge Europe are at stake as well.

“Similar to the Nürburgring [24] recently, I am expecting a very hard-fought endurance race in which minor details will be decisive.

“Due to the unusual date in autumn, the share of night-time running is bigger than normal, which poses an additional challenge to our teams. But we are prepared very well for that, not in the least thanks to the test days at the end of September.”

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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