Tales from the paddock – Raffaele Marciello: “The grand finale in Barcelona when we took the overall title was, of course, the crowning glory”

Oct 4, 2018

Raffaele Marciello is the new Blancpain GT Series champion, a title he secured on the final race weekend in Barcelona.

  • This is what happened: Results and facts
  • News from the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Teams
  • Three questions for Raffaele Marciello
  • Social media news: What’s new online?

This is what happened: Results and facts

  • Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas make it a one-two finish in the Russian Grand Prix
  • Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup: One-two victory for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the Barcelona finale as Luca Stolz, Yelmer Buurman and Maro Engel win ahead of Tristan Vautier, Daniel Juncadella and Raffaele Marciello

News snippets

Stat-Attack – Russian GP: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport not only registered the third one-two win of the season in Sochi last weekend but also the fifth successive victory (2014 - 2018) at the Sochi Autodrom. Moreover, the team has won all five races that have been held so far in Russia. It also ranks as the team’s joint- longest winning streak in a specific Grand Prix along with similar runs in the British (2013 ‑& nbsp;2017) and Italian (2014 - 2018) fixtures. Three different Mercedes drivers have so far won the Russian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton (2014, 2015, 2018), Nico Rosberg (2016) and Valtteri Bottas (2017).

Suzuka, here we come: Just one week after the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, the 17th round of the season will be contested at Suzuka. The Japanese Grand Prix has been a happy hunting ground for the team in recent years. Between 2014 and 2017, both of the two Silver Arrows drivers enjoyed success there – Lewis Hamilton three times (2014, 2015, 2017) and Nico Rosberg once (2016). Twice, it has been a one-two victory (2014, 2015). The last four pole positions all went to the team, three times to Nico (2014 - 2016) and once to Lewis (2017). In terms of wins in Japan, Lewis and Sebastian Vettel are tied in second place on four each. Only record world championship winner Michael Schumacher has won the Grand Prix there more often – six in all. Lewis set a new track record at Suzuka in last year’s Q3 with a time of 1:27.319 minutes (average speed: 239.411 km/h). The current record for fastest race lap (1:31.540) was set in 2005 by Kimi Räikkönen driving a McLaren Mercedes.

Culmination of a successful season in the Blancpain GT Series: Eight out of nineteen. No, not the name of a new lottery format, but the outstanding record of Mercedes-AMG in the Blancpain GT Series. Of the nineteen titles that were conferred in the world’s biggest sports car series this season, no fewer than EIGHT went to the high-performance and sports car designed and built in Affalterbach. That includes the two most important titles: Raffaele Marciello (ITA) prevailed in the overall driver standings and the Mercedes-AMG customer sports teams win in the team standings.

The number 4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Yelmer Buurman (NED), Maro Engel (GER) and Luca Stolz (GER) crossed the finish line first in the three-hour finale at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. But because the BLACK FALCON entry was deemed to have breached the regulations, the victory was subsequently declared void. The team has since lodged an appeal against the decision of the stewards. If this is successful, Buurman, Engel and Stolz will not only retain the race victory but also win the Endurance Cup drivers’ title. BLACK FALCON will likewise win the team title. If the disqualification is upheld, however, the number 88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 entered by AKKA ASP and driven by Marciello, Tristan Vautier (FRA) and Daniel Juncadella (ESP) will be declared the race winners. It would also mean that the Endurance Cup titles would go to Marciello and Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP.

In the Silver Cup, Nico Bastian (GER) and Jack Manchester (GBR) of AKKA ASP took the title. The Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Pro-Am drivers’ championship was won by Lewis Williamson, Chris Buncombe and Nick Leventis (all GBR). The two titles secured in the Sprint Cup final two weeks ago – overall drivers’ championship to Marciello and Michael Meadows (GBR), as well as Silver Cup title to Bastian and Manchester – make Mercedes-AMG by far the most successful manufacturer, with a total of eight titles in the 2018 Blancpain GT Series.

Further Customer Racing successes: Two French GT4 Cup races were also contested in Barcelona as part of the support programme to the Blancpain GT finale. In the two one-hour races, two Mercedes-AMG GT4s entered by Customer Racing team AKKA ASP featured in the Top Three. Benjamin Ricci and Thomas Drouet (both FRA) finished third on Saturday, while Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Jim Pla (both FRA) went one better on Sunday as runners-up. The penultimate event of the 2018 Belcar Endurance Championship was hosted by the world-famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit. In the three-hour Spa 180 Racing Festival race, the Mercedes-AMG GT4s of Selleslagh Racing Team secured a one-two class win. First place went to Wim Spinoy (BEL) and Kenneth Heyer (GER) ahead of Nicolas Vandierendonck, Johan Vannerum and Filip Teunkens (all BEL). Meanwhile, Xandy and Xandinho Negrão are still blazing a trail in South America. After the first overall victory for a Mercedes-AMG GT3 in Brazil in the fourth round of the Endurance Brasil series, the father-son duo claimed win number two in their class at the Autódromo Internacional de Santa Cruz do Sul.

Three questions for Raffaele Marciello

Congratulations on winning the championship title in the Blancpain GT Series. What was the key to your success?

Raffaele Marciello: Thank you. I think the main reason for our success was that we worked very hard for it. During the season, for example, we practised pit stops and driver changes over and over again. We were looking to achieve as consistent a performance as possible throughout the season. There were a lot of races, and consistency is the most important factor. We managed that very well, scoring points in almost every race. Our Mercedes-AMG GT3 also played a part with its solid pace and consistency over what were sometimes very tough races. My heartfelt thanks to the entire AKKA ASP Team and to Mercedes-AMG.

What was your personal highlight of the season?

Raffaele Marciello: That’s a difficult one. There were many wonderful moments. Every time we stood on the podium, it was like a reward for all the hard work. Taking the Sprint and Endurance classes together, I think we managed to make eight podium appearances this season. If I had to pick a single standout moment, it would probably be the Nürburgring, where our win clinched the Sprint championship for us. That was the first title and such an emotional occasion. The grand finale in Barcelona when we took the overall title was, of course, the crowning glory.

Your 2018 season is not over yet. Where are you headed for next, and what objectives are you still trying to fulfil?

Raffaele Marciello: My objective is to win the Intercontinental GT Challenge as well. We – that is my team-mate Tristan Vautier and I – are in the lead there, but it won’t be easy. The standard of competition is very high, and we have to work very hard to make sure we’re still ahead after the final eight-hour race at the Laguna Seca Raceway. Anyway, we will be giving it everything we’ve got.

Social Media News

#PurePitWall: Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin answers fan’s questions about the Russian GP. From “ How bad was the blistering on Lewis’s tyres?” to “Why did the overcut not work?”.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2z4csVp4iE

#Hockenheim: One and a half weeks from now, Hockenheim will be hosting the grand finale to the 2018 DTM. We take a look back at the season opener, which also took place at the Hockenheimring, and of course to this thrilling battle for position between Gary Paffett and Timo Glock...

See highlights: www.youtube.com/watch?v=58Zi7j80rH8

PAF vs. GLO: www.facebook.com/mercedesamgdtm/videos/2196738480573781/

#30YearsDTM: We’re getting closer to the anniversary year. In the fourth part of our journey through time, we look back at the years 2004 to 2011.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZ-FyBAp_Qw

Tales from the paddock – Raffaele Marciello
Tales from the paddock – Raffaele Marciello