Mercedes-AMG manages to convert the fourth consecutive pole position into the long-awaited overall win in the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa. At the occasion of the 55th anniversary of AMG, Jules Gounon (FRA), Daniel Juncadella (ESP) and Raffaele Marciello (SUI) of Mercedes-AMG Team AKKODIS ASP win the 74th running of the legendary classic. Fellow AMG drivers Maximilian Götz (GER), Steijn Schothorst (NED) and Luca Stolz (GER) follow in second place for Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed. The 1-2 is the first victory for AMG in the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours since 2013. The excellent achievement by the performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach is completed by fourth place overall for Maximilian Buhk (GER), Maro Engel (GER) and Mikaël Grenier (CAN) for Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM.
- Mercedes-AMG GT3 in 1st, 2nd and 4th place in Spa 24-hour race
- Historic double success by Mercedes-AMG Teams AKKODIS ASP and GetSpeed
- Mercedes-AMG extends lead in IGTC manufacturers’ standings
- P1, P2 and P3 for Customer Racing Teams in the various classes
The 1-2 for Mercedes-AMG started with a new qualifying record: Raffaele Marciello secured first place on the grid for the endurance racing classic for the third time in a row. For Mercedes-AMG, it was even the fourth consecutive pole position. At the race start on Saturday, all three Performance Cars from Affalterbach held on to their positions in the front-running group from the very beginning: the #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKODS ASP car as well as the #2 Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed and the #55 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM entries subsequently racked up numerous laps in the lead.
During the night, the intense race was interrupted for over an hour due to an accident. After the restart, the #88, the #2 and the #55 cars seamlessly continued their hunt for the overall win. In the process, the AMG Teams applied different pit stop strategies so that from the start of the second half of the race onwards, one of the three Mercedes-AMG GT3s was almost invariably in the lead of the standings.
In the final hours of the race, the fans along the track got to see a thrilling finale with entertaining and partly brand-internal duels for the podium slots by the Mercedes-AMG drivers. After 536 laps of the approximately seven kilometres long track, final driver Marciello securted the historic victory for Mercedes-AMG Team AKKODIS ASP. 31.040 seconds in arrears, Luca Stolz crossed the finish line in second place with the #2 Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed car.
With the #55 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM car, final driver Maro Engel was still leading the field with 20 minutes of the 24-hour duration remaining. However, the AMG brand ambassador still had to come into the pits for a quick refuel stop and rejoined the field in P4. During the final laps, Engel closed up again to the third podium slot, but eventually didn’t get a chance anymore to mount a challenge.
With victory at Spa, Jules Gounon, Daniel Juncadella and Raffaele Marciello extend their lead in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup standings. In the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC), for which the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa are a round as well, Mercedes-AMG further extended its lead in the manufacturers’ standings. After the 1-2-3 from Bathurst, the brand from Affalterbach celebrates the second win in the second round of the series at Spa.
Further podium results in the various classes
In the classes, there were highs and lows for the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams. In the Bronze category, the #20 SPS automotive performance entry came out on top: the class win by Reema Juffali (KSA), George Kurtz (USA), Tim Müller (GER) and Valentin Pierburg (GER) equals 34th place overall. In the Pro-Am class, the #75 SunEnergy1 Racing by SPS car showed a strong recovery drive: following an engine change prior to the race, Dominik Baumann (AUT), Philip Ellis (SUI), Kenny Habul (AUS) and Martin Konrad (AUT) had to start from the pit lane behind the 66-car field. Until the finish, the quartet had worked its way back up to 28th place overall and rewarded itself with second place in class.
Haupt Racing Team had bad luck in the battle for class victories as it saw three cars retiring, all while leading their respective classes. A consolation came from the #93 (SKY – Tempesta Racing) car, run by HRT, in which Eddie Cheever (ITA), Christopher Froggatt (GBR) and Jonathan Hui (CHN) were classified third in the newly-created Gold Cup (26th place overall). The #44 GetSpeed car with Patrick Assenheimer (GER), Michael Blanchemain (FRA), Axel Blom (FIN) and Jim Pla (FRA) ended up fifth in class in Gold Cup at Spa (31st placer overall). The best-placed Mercedes-AMG GT3 in Silver Cup was the #90 Madpanda Motorsport car with Ezequiel Perez Companc (ARG), Patrick Kujala (FIN), Oscar Tunjo (COL) and Sean Walkinshaw (GBR), fifth in class (23rd place overall).
Christoph Sagemüller, head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport: “After the 1-2-3 at Bathurst, today we celebrate the next historic endurance racing success by Mercedes-AMG this year. It is for a reason that the Spa 24-hour race is considered as the world’s toughest GT3 event – we were able to experience that again in an impressive way. Coming out on top in this incredibly competitive environment is a great team achievement. The race at Spa has been closely connected to the history of our brand for over five decades: AMG became known overnight with the class win at Spa and today, we have added another milestone to this success story. I am even happier as we were able to achieve this 1-2 in our 55th anniversary year. My thanks and my congratulations go out to all the teams and drivers who have worked so hard for this success and therefore made it possible.”
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “After 2013, we are finally on the top step of the podium in the Spa 24-hour race again. We have worked long to achieve this. In the past years, we often came very close, but didn’t have the necessary bit of luck. This time, our match plan worked out perfectly. We were able to make it through with all three Performance Cars and permanently put the opponents under pressure. In the course of the race, we decided to opt for off-set pit stop sequences. In this way, we wanted to minimise the risk of a retirement or a full-course yellow phase that would be unfortunate for us. First, second and fourth place are an outstanding achievement and a well-deserved reward for the hard work by all the Performance Teams of AKKODIS ASP, GetSpeed and GruppeM. Huge thanks also to our further customer teams that have taken on the big challenge at Spa. They represented Mercedes-AMG in an absolutely worthy way in all the classes and were able to compete for victory. Only sometimes, the little bit of racing luck was missing. Nevertheless, this race weekend was a great success for AMG.”
Raffaele Marciello, Mercedes-AMG Team AKKODIS ASP #88: “We know how hard it is to win this race because it didn’t work out for many years and today, we finally had success. After the intense training of last year, we have reached first place with our entire team. For me, it was a comparatively quiet race, sometimes a bit harder, sometimes a bit easier. We had a lot of luck throughout the race with the car, the tyres, the traffic and the track conditions. But that is also part of it all.”
Jules Gounon, Mercedes-AMG Team AKKODIS ASP #88: “Winning here for Mercedes-AMG after nine years is really unique. Throughout the race, we delivered in a fantastic way as a team. Tactically, it was a faultless performance as well, it was a super achievement by the entire team from the beginning till the end and a great victory for us and for everybody at Mercedes-AMG.”
Daniel Juncadella, Mercedes-AMG Team AKKODIS ASP #88: “I can’t put my excitement about this victory in words at all. We have won the 2022 Spa 24-hour race! After such a long time during which it simply didn’t work. It is simply incredible!”
Maximilian Götz, Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed #2: “Second place in the biggest GT3 race is super! I won this race in 2013, back then still with the SLS AMG GT3. Now standing on the podium again is simply just great. Today, we will extensively celebrate and enjoy the 1-2 for Mercedes-AMG.”
Steijn Schothorst, Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed #2: “Being in second place here is great. Even though it is a bit bittersweet because victory was within reach. Had somebody predicted this outcome of the race prior to the weekend to me, I wouldn’t have believed it. We can be very happy with our achievement as we already had some damage at the front of our car at the beginning of the race. That cost us time that we tediously had to make up.”
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM #55: “Massive congratulations to the AKKODIS ASP and GetSpeed teams. We as the AMG brand have tried for a long time to win this race again and seeing two AMG Teams on the podium today is fantastic. During the final safety car intervention, our strategy didn’t work out completely so that victory was no longer possible for us. But we can be very proud of ourselves and the team achievement as well. Many thanks to GruppeM for a super strong performance.”