Challenges, Champions and Charity – Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing is looking back upon a successful 2017 GT3 season

8 December 2017 Challenges, Champions and Charity – Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing is looking back upon a successful 2017 GT3 season

With championship titles in the most important international GT3 series and an impressive victory in the FIA GT World Cup in Macau, Mercedes- AMG Customer Racing concludes a really successful motorsport year 2017. Last weekend’s end-of-season celebration concluded the season in style and included the prize-giving for the brand-internal champions: for the second time in a row, Kenneth Heyer wins in the ‘PRO-DRIVER’ category, Michael Kroll is the best ‘DRIVER’ and the AKKA ASP Team wins the ‘TEAMS’ classification, also for the second consecutive year. 

  • A successful 2017 motorsport season for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing

  • Kenneth Heyer (PRO DRIVER), Michael Kroll (DRIVER) and the AKKA ASP Team are the 2017 Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Championship winners

  • Successful test races for the Mercedes-AMG GT4

  • “Passion for Good“: racing miles for charity 

The venue for the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing end-of-season party couldn’t have been more suitable: the gold mine of Fellbach near Stuttgart was the location that the brand from Affalterbach had chosen to celebrate, together with its Customer Racing teams, a brilliant season that was crowned with ‘gold’ by winning the FIA GT World Cup only a few days before. In Macau, Edoardo Mortara (ITA) clinched the champion’s title. Together with Maro Engel (GER), who finished third with his Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mercedes-AMG also won the constructors’ title. Thus, after the success in the inaugural running in 2015, the World Cup title goes to Affalterbach for the second time already. 

Victories and titles in the Blancpain GT Series

In the European Blancpain GT Series, last year’s winner Maximilian Buhk (GER) and his team-mate Franck Perera (FRA) became runners-up in the final drivers’ standings. The two youngsters Fabian Schiller (GER) and Jules Szymkowiak (NED) celebrated the Silver Cup drivers’ and teams’ titles together with HTP Motorsport. The Blancpain GT Series season highlight, the Total 24 Hours of Spa, produced another highlight: French team AKKA ASP finished third overall after an extremely thrilling finale of the marathon race and BLACK FALCON won in the Pro-AM classification. For Mercedes-AMG, the Asian version of the Blancpain GT Series was equally successful: in the inaugural season of the new race series, Hunter Abbott (GBR) and GruppeM Racing claimed the drivers’ and teams’ titles. 

A worthy end-of-season party 2017

The international Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing family assembled for the huge end-of-season party on 2 December. Some of the approximately 230 guests came a long way, among others from Australia, China, Japan or the US. During the event, the winners of the 2017 Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Championship* were honoured. For the second consecutive time already, Kenneth Heyer (GER) scored the most points in the PRO DRIVER classification while Michael Kroll (SUI) became champion in the DRIVER category. Both winners were delighted to be presented with a new Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupé. Jules Szymkowiak (NED) and Christiaan Frankenhout (NED) followed Heyer in second and third place respectively while Roland Eggimann (SUI) and Chantal Kroll (SUI) claimed the next positions in the DRIVER category. Once again, the AKKA ASP Team won the TEAM title: the French team led by Jérôme Policand also clinched the title for the second time. The BLACK FALCON and HTP Motorsport teams followed in second and third place respectively. With almost 60 teams and over 230 drivers, the Customer Racing Championship continues to grow and is a huge success. From 2018, it is also possible to score points with the Mercedes-AMG GT4, which is making the battle for the championship crown even more thrilling. 

Every kilometre counts – for racing success and for charity

Not only from a sporting perspective, the 2017 season was a huge success for Mercedes-AMG: next to the victories achieved in racing, the company also took care of its own social responsibilities and successfully established this in motorsport by means of the ‘Passion for Good’ initiative. Starting with the Spa 24 Hours, Mercedes- AMG Motorsport’s Performance Teams collected donations for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation with every race. Acting on a global basis, the foundation is using the power of sport to take care of children and youngsters who are at a disadvantage. Within the initiative, Mercedes-AMG is donating one Euro to the ‘Passion for Good’ initiative for every kilometre completed in racing. With the final competition kilometres of the four Performance cars in the Macau Grand Prix, teams have completed a total of 14,298 kilometres over the course of the season. Combined with the final donation of 25,000 Euros, this amounted to a total of 39,298 Euros at the end of the season. Mercedes-AMG rounded out the amount to 50,000 Euros and presented the cheque to the Laureus support project KICKFORMORE in Ostfildern, Germany. The street football project is supporting youngsters to discover and unfold their potentials. Thus, the participants develop skills to build up positive perspectives for the future, both in their professional and in their personal life. The involvement will continue in the 2018 racing season. 

Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing
“First of all, I would like to extend my thanks and my congratulations to all drivers, teams and the colleagues at Mercedes-AMG and HWA. Only together, we were able to celebrate this highly successful season with many championships and numerous race wins. Every season comes with new challenges and obstacles that we were able to deal with together and in close co-operation. Every single one can be proud of that. The end-of-season party was a great finale in a familiar atmosphere to reflect on the most successful and most beautiful moments of the season. At the same time, we are already looking ahead to the new season as well. We are in the final stages of the preparation to deliver the new Mercedes-AMG GT4 and to prepare for the upcoming races together with the teams. The huge demand for the new GT4 exceeds our expectations and we will do everything to meet all the inquiries as quickly as possible. After the demanding and extensive test races of the Mercedes- AMG GT4, we are convinced that we will be able to deliver a car to our Customer Racing teams that is competitive and capable of winning from the outset. The start of the Mercedes-AMG GT4 is the next big step for the Customer Racing Programme and I am really looking forward to the first races in January.” 

pressrelease and credits Mercedes-AMG Motorsport