The motorsport season is gradually starting to take shape: Formula 1 fans are eagerly awaiting the season opener, Formula E faces new challenges in Mexico, and the attention of the GT world is drawn “down under”.
- News from the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport teams
- Social media news: What’s new online?
The countdown has started: There are only two and a half weeks to go until the 2020 Formula 1 Mercedes takes to the track. On February 14, the new car to be driven by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will make its first outing during the shakedown at the Silverstone International Circuit, 30 days before Australia hosts the season opener of the premier class. From the shakedown, the team will proceed directly to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain for the first of two test weeks, namely 19 – 21 February and 26 – 28 February, when all of the Formula 1 teams have the opportunity to gauge the performance of their new cars.
New track layout: It’s not long now to the fourth round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. Ahead of the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team’s departure for Mexico, the local officials announced the new track layout for the 2020 CBMM Niobium Mexico City E-Prix. The city, which is hosting the race for the fourth time this year, has extended the circuit by an additional 513 metres. The new configuration of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is 2.606 kilometres in length and features a mix of long straights with a tight section through a stadium-like arena. The changes involve the removal of two chicanes and the insertion of a new sector. At an altitude of 2,500 metres above sea level, Mexico City is the highest venue of the entire season.
Bathurst 12 Hour and the Australian debut of the Mercedes-AMG GT4: The twelve-hour IGTC curtain-raiser at Bathurst (31 January – 2 February) will mark a special occasion for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport as, for the first time in the history of the Customer Racing Programme, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 will be competing on the Australian continent. The car entered by Griffith Corporation (#19) will be driven by Mark Griffith (AUS), Dirk Müller (GER) and an interesting newcomer: Harrison Newey (GBR), the son of the highly respected veteran Formula 1 engineer Adrian Newey won the Asian Le Mans Series in the 2017/18 season and, despite his young age, already has a wealth of experience – only last weekend, the 21-year-old won the LMP2 class in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The number 19 Mercedes-AMG GT4 joins the customary top-class Mercedes-AMG Motorsport IGTC line-up in this year’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour. There will be no fewer than three teams with extensive factory support fielding the new Mercedes-AMG GT3. The number 888 car of Mercedes-AMG Team Triple Eight Race Engineering will be driven by Jamie Whincup (AUS), Bathurst lap record holder Shane van Gisbergen (NZL) and last year’s IGTC runner-up Maximilian Götz (GER). Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo BLACK FALCON (#77) will be sending a no less distinguished trio out onto the track in the shape of Yelmer Buurman (NED), Maro Engel (GER) and Luca Stolz (GER). The third of the three Mercedes-AMG teams, GruppeM Racing, also have high hopes going into the race on the Mount Panorama circuit. Their number 999 car will be driven by Maximilian Buhk (GER) and Raffaele Marciello (ITA), who finished third and fourth in the drivers’ championship at the end of the last IGTC season, together with Felipe Fraga (BRA).
Also joining the line-up will be three GT3 Customer Racing cars. In the number 46 Black Falcon will be Patrick Assenheimer (GER), Sergey Afanasyev (RUS) and Michele Beretta (ITA) whose main focus will be on the Silver Cup. Going into action for SunEnergy1 Racing (#75) are Dominik Baumann, Martin Konrad (both AUT), David Reynolds (AUS) and 2018 IGTC Bronze Category Champion Kenny Habul (AUS). Meanwhile, Nick Foster, Anton de Pasquale, Sam Shahin and Yasser Shahin (all AUS) in the number 777 car fielded by Triple Eight Race Engineering will be competing in the Pro-Am category. Mercedes-AMG will also provide the official safety car for the endurance event for the sixth year in succession.
The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour starts at 05:45 local time on Sunday 2 February (Saturday, 18:45 GMT) just before sunrise in New South Wales.