Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 Customer Teams Victorious in 2012

Words John Clark | December 19, 2012
Words John Clark December 19, 2012

AMG Customer Teams acting around the globe showed a high level of teamwork in the 2012 motorsports season. With 9 titles and 43 successes, the SLS AMG GT3 scored numerous impressive successes on four continents. One of the highlights is the winning of the driver and team title in the FIA GT3 European Championship for AMG Customer Team HEICO-Gravity Charouz, the winning of the driver and team title in the FIA GT1 World Championship by ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, the driver and team title in the ADAC GT Masters for kfzteile24 MS RACING Team as well as the championship title for PETRONAS Syntium Team in the Japanese Super Taikyu Series.

This Sunday, BVA Racing won the driver and team title in the Brazilian GT Championship at Autódromo de Interlagos in São Paolo. The driver duo Cleber Faria and Duda Rosa (both BRA) left its competitors behind in a fight that was commiting until the end and finally won with a lead of just one point compared with the second placed team. Their team colleagues Vanuê Faria and Renan Guerra (both BRA) crossed the finish line sixth. The AMG Customer Team A.Mattheis Motorsport with Sérgio Jimenez and Paolo Bonifácio (both BRA) won the third position in the championship.

The further statistics of the 2012 motorsports year for AMG Customer Sports is impressive as well:

  • 43 class victories
  • 109 podium positions
  • 242 top ten positions
  • 27 pole positions
  • 48 SLS AMG GT3 started in 28 race series on four continents

Ola Källenius, chairman of the board, Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “We have the right to be proud of the successful 2012 AMG Customer Sports season. With 9 titles on the whole, including the winning of the World Championship, the European Championship and 43 successes we even outmatched the pleasing debut year of 2011. My congratulations go to all AMG Customer Teams which achieved these successes with the SLS AMG GT3 in the highly competitive race series on four continents.”

Uli Fritz, head of AMG Customer Sports: “Winning the title in Brazil is an enormously welcome ending of an exceptionally successful season. In the meantime, we have sold more than 50 units of the SLS AMG GT3, which has established itself by a constantly high performance and reliability in the international motorsports scene. I want to thank everyone participating in our AMG Customer Sports Programme. It is everybody’s turn now to concentrate on the 2013 season, because four race version gullwing cars will be starting in the Dubai 24 Hours already in the beginning of January.”

The successes in the individual race series at a glance:

FIA GT1 World Championship: By winning the driver and team rating, ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport crowns the 2012 season in the FIA GT1 World Championship. Marc Basseng and Markus Winkelhock (both GER) won the driver title with a lead of just one point. The sister car with Thomas Jäger (GER) and Nicky Pastorelli (ITA) ended the World Championship season on the sixth position. ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport quickly established itself in the top group of the highly competitive World Championship and scored two titles through a constant team performance.

FIA GT3 European Championship: Maximilian Buhk (GER) and Dominik Baumann (AUT) from HEICO-Gravity Charouz secured the driver title in the penultimate race ahead of time. Their team colleagues Max Nilsson (SWE) and Mika Vähämäki (FIN) ended the FIA GT3 European Championship on the sixth position. Additionally, the AMG Customer Team succeeded in defending the team title it had already won in 2011. The Czech-German team won seven out of twelve races and thus showed a confident performance during the season.

ADAC GT Masters (Germany): With their victory in the commanding final race on Hockenheimring, Sebastian Asch and Maximilian Götz (both GER) won the driver title. The driver duo of kfzteile24 MS RACING Team was the most constant team of the entire season, winning eight podium positions and achieving the pole position two times. At the same time, in the last race of the season, the team achieved the first victory of a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 in the highly competitive ADAC GT Masters 2012. The sister car with Daniel Dobitsch and Florian Stoll (both GER) won the 22nd position in the championship.

HEICO Motorsport with Dominik Baumann and Hari Proczyk (both AUT), ended the championship on rank nine. Andreas Simonsen (SWE) and Maximilian Buhk (GER) from HEICO Junior Team finished eleventh. Alexandros Margaritis and Lance David Arnold (both GER) from Schöner Wohnen Polarweiss Team HEICO came 18th. Christiaan Frankenhout and Kenneth Heyer (both GER) from HEICO Motorsport achieved the 25th overall position.

Super Taikyu Series (Japan): Championship title for PETRONAS Syntium Team with the drivers Nobuteru Taniguchi and Dominic Ang (both JPN). Six class and overall successes each, six pole positions and 13 top ten positions confirm the good performance of the Japanese customer team. For the dominant team of the Japanese race series, this year’s winning the title was the fifth in a row.

Australian GT Championship: Winning of the runner-up spot for Peter Hackett (AUS) from Erebus Racing. With three victories and six further podium positions, Hackett was the best driver of a SLS AMG GT3 in the Australian GT Championship. His team colleague James Brock ended the season on the ninth position.

Iberian Supercars Trophy and Portugese GT Championship: Runner-up spot for José Pedro Fontes and Miguel Barbosa (both POR) from Sports & You team.

VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring (Germany): ROWE RACING scored two overall victories in nine races on the Nordschleife (“north loop”), three further podium positions and on the whole ten top ten positions. With these successes, the AMG Customer Team evolved into the best SLS AMG GT3 team of the series. The Black Falcon team achieved a victory in the VLN.

Blancpain Endurance Series: Black Falcon won the ProAM-Cup with the drivers Oliver Morley (GB), Steve Jans (LUX) and Sean Edwards (GB) in the race at Nürburgring and ended the season on rank twelve. KRK Racing won the tenth position in the Blancpain Endurance Series.

British GT-Championship: The twins David and Godfrey Jones (both GB) from the team Preci-Spark achieved five top ten positions.

DMV-TCC (Germany): Land Motorsport scored three class victories and three podium positions with Christian Land and Stefan Eilentropp (both GER). ANTeam with Bruno and Edwin Stucky (both SUI) won seven top ten positions.

Special Touring Car Trophy (Germany): A podium position for Norbert Janz (GER) from Seyffarth Motorsport.

Touring Car and GT-Cup Austria: One overall victory, a class victory and a pole position for Mario Plachutta (AUT) from Lechner Racing.

International GT Open: Kenneth Heyer and Jan Seyffarth (both GER) from Seyffarth Motorsport won the class GTS twice.

Super GT (Japan): Haruki Kurosawa, Hironori Takeuchi (both JPN) from the team GREEN TEC & LEON with Shift ended the races five times among the top ten and once on the second position.

Spanish GT Championship: The Vodafone Team with António Coimbra, Luis Silva, José Pedro Fontes (all ESP) won two top ten positions.

Italian GT Championship: Two top ten positions for Gianluca De Lorenzi and Piero Necchi (both ITA) from GDL Racing.

Endurance Champions Cup Italia, Peroni: A class victory for G-Private Racing with Philip and Manuel Zumstein as well as Jörg Peham (all SUI).

French GT Championship (FFSA): Four podium positions for Sebastién Loeb Racing with Frédéric Gabillon and Gilles Vannelet (both FRA).

Dubai 24 Hours: At the beginning of the 2012 motorsport season, AMG Customer Teams already scored a commanding 1-2-3: In the Dubai 24 Hours, the team Abu Dhabi Black Falcon with Thomas Jäger (GER), Sean Edwards (GB), Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED) and Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE) achieved the overall victory. The SLS AMG GT3 of HEICO Motorsport (Maximilian Buhk (GER), Christiaan Frankenhout (NED), Max Nilsson (SWE), Andreas Zuber (AUT) and Bernd Schneider (GER) as well as Kenneth Heyer (GER), Andreas Simonsen (SWE), Rodolfo Gonzalez (VEN) and Bernd Schneider (GER) came home second and third.

24 Hours Nürburgring: The gullwing car of HANKOOK Team HEICO Motorsport with the driver quartet Lance David Arnold (GER), Christiaan Frankenhout (NED), Pierre Kaffer (GER) and Andreas Simonsen (SWE), ended the 24-hour classic in the Eifel winning the third rank. The sister car retired from the race 15 minutes prior to end on the third position.

12 Hour race of Bathurst/Australia: The Australian Customer Team Erebus Racing with Peter Hackett (AUS), Tim Slade (AUS), Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED) and Bret Curtis (USA) came home second in the endurance race.

12 Hour race of Sepang: In the12 Hour race of Sepang, the Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race, PETRONAS Syntium Team achieved a double victory with the drivers Nobuteru Taniguchi (JPN), Masataka Yanagida (JPN) and Dominic Ang (MAS) as well as Tatsuya Kataoka (JPN), Farique Hairuman (MAS) and Melvin Moh (MAS).

Mercedes-AMG in Affalterbach honours AMG Customer Teams

AMG Customer Teams’ representatives from all over the world met at the big end of season party of the AMG Customer Sports Programme. Some 150 guests followed the invitation to Affalterbach in order to review the achievements of the 2012 season. After the official salutation by Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of Mercedes-AMG GmbH, the most successful teams of 2012 were honoured: from the award for the “Best Looking Car” (Premium Motorsport Poland) to the awards for the championship titles in various race series. The presenters, among them five-time DTM Champion Bernd Schneider, repeatedly underlined their high respect for the Customer Teams’ achievements. The winners of all nine categories at a glance:

  • “FIA GT1World Championship”: ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
  • “FIA GT3-European Championship”: HEICO-Gravity Charouz Team
  • “ADAC GT Masters”: kfzteile24 MS RACING Team
  • “Best Looking Car”: Premium Motorsports Poland
  • “Best Newcomer”: BVA Racing
  • “Best Gentleman Performance”: ANTeam
  • “Best Endurance Race Performance”: ROWE RACING
  • “Best 24h Performance”: Black Falcon

Lance David Arnold now member of AMG driver pool

As already in the 2012 season, AMG Customer Teams can also be strengthened through professional pilots from the AMG driver pool. Apart from Bernd Schneider, Thomas Jäger and Maro Engel, Lance David Arnold is from now on also part of the fast troop of Mercedes-AMG. The 26-year-old is another compassionate racer with gullwing car experience and endurance know-how who will assist the teams on request. The newest success of the driver originating from Duisburg, Germany, was the third rank in this year’s 24 Hours race at Nürburgring for the AMG Customer Team HANKOOK Team HEICO Motorsport. To participators of the AMG Driving Academy, Arnold is furthermore known as instructor.

Lance David Arnold: “Being part of the AMG driver pool is a great honour for me. A group, which one of my big role models in sports is also part of – the five-time DTM champion Bernd Schneider. I am already looking forward to my operations, in which I want to provide the customer teams not only with driving but also with technical knowledge in order to optimally develop the individual SLS AMG GT3 vehicles adjusted to the individual requirements of the respective teams.”

Uli Fritz: “I am very pleased about Lance David Arnold joining the AMG driver pool from now on. I am sure that his great know-how will be very helpful to our AMG Customer Teams. Due to his operations in the AMG Driving Academy, he has been part of the Mercedes-AMG family for quite some time.”