Affalterbach. The start of the 2021 motorsport year already has some major events in store: with the Dubai 24 Hours (14-16 January) and the Rolex 24 At Daytona (28-31 January), Mercedes-AMG Motorsport and the Customer Racing Teams are facing two highlights right away. Strong driver and team line-ups are in place to make the start of the season, in which Mercedes-AMG will again be competing for race wins and titles all over the world, a successful one.
A pair of endurance races for Mercedes-AMG in January
Mercedes-AMG Motorsport aims at Dubai record win
High-quality line-up for Daytona 24-hours
During the 16th running of the 24-hour race at Dubai Autodrome (14th-16th January), Mercedes-AMG Motorsport aims at the sixth victory in the desert metropolis. By repeating its success from the previous year, the performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach could crown itself by becoming the sole record holder among the manufacturers. To achieve this success, Haupt Racing Team has entered experienced drivers for the race. Three-time Dubai race winner and team owner Hubert Haupt will be alternating behind the wheel of the HRT Bilstein #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE), Patrick Assenheimer (GER), Maro Engel (GER) and Ryan Ratcliffe (GBR). With starting number #5, the team is running another Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT3-AM class. In this car, double starters Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE) and Patrick Assenheimer (GER) will receive support from Nico Bastian (GER), Valentin Pierburg (GER) and Florian Scholze (GER). Another team to compete in the GT3-PRO class is French outfit Racetivity with drivers Emmanuel Collard, François Perrodo, Charles-Henri Samani and Matthieu Vaxiviere (all FRA) behind the wheel of the #83 entry.
Two further Customer Racing Teams are competing for podium results in the GT3-AM class. MP Motorsport is relying on the successful line-up from last year with its #19 car: Bert de Heus, Daniel de Jong, Henk de Jong and Jaap van Lagen (all NED) secured the class win in 2020. Team CP Racing (#85), meanwhile, is racing in this class as the defending champions in the teams’ classification of the 24H SERIES – an international series of endurance race events that gets underway with the race in Dubai. The field in the desert metropolis of almost 60 cars also includes two Mercedes-AMG GT4s of the teams Comet Racing (#458) and Dragon Racing (#488).
The race starts on Friday, 15 January, at 3 pm local time (12 noon CET).
A packed motorsport year for Mercedes-AMG
The two endurance racing classics at Dubai and Daytona mark the start of a season during which Mercedes-AMG intends to build on its major achievements from the previous year and again be in contention for the top positions in the national and international race series. Highlights in the year 2021 are the ADAC TOTAL 24h-Rennen at the Nürburgring (3rd–6th June) and the 24-hour race at Spa (29th July – 1st August). All in all, the challenges awaiting the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams and Drivers will become even bigger.
This is the case, among others, for the ADAC GT Masters. For the new season, starting in May, the super sports car league has an entry that is even stronger than in previous years. Instead of six, as most recently, there will be eight different manufacturers on the grid for 2021, which will make the on-track competition even tougher. In the past season, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport mastered this challenge in a convincing way: all four teams that ran a Mercedes-AMG GT3 racked up race wins.
The globally-run GT World Challenge is expanding its racing activities further this year. Next to events in Europe, America and Asia, a fourth continent is also represented on the schedule with the GT World Challenge Australia. In this series, aspirations are also high after the most recent achievements. With the manufacturers’ championship in the GT World Challenge and the drivers’ title in the GT World Challenge Europe, Mercedes-AMG secured the two most prestigious championship titles in this series last year.
In previous years, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport also regularly racked up titles and podium results in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, in which the world’s strongest GT3 drivers are up against each other. The Spa 24-hour race serves as the season opener of this series. Next up are endurance races at Suzuka/Japan (20th–22nd August), Indianapolis/USA (15th–17th October) and Kyalami/South Africa (2nd–4th December), where Mercedes-AMG will again be aiming at victories and title wins with a high-quality driver line-up and renowned Customer Racing Teams.
Moreover, the races of the remodelled DTM will be an exciting challenge for the Customer Racing Teams. Here, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport will be providing the best possible support for the possible teams and drivers in the upcoming season in order to build on the successful history with ten manufacturers’ titles won between 2000 and 2018.
Philipp Schiemer, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG: “Our very successful Customer Racing Programme has been a core brand element of Mercedes-AMG for over ten years now and, of course, we will continue to advance this success story in the new season as well. I am fully convinced by our concept and we are in a very strong position with it, both in sporting and in business terms. The envisaged closer cooperation with our colleagues from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team also underlines the fact that motorsport will remain a fixed element of AMG in the future. But first of all, I wish our Customer Racing Teams and Drivers a successful start of the new motorsport year at Dubai and Daytona.”
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing is heading into the new season with a lot of anticipation. The start with the two 24-hour races at Dubai and Daytona is quite a challenge, but it also gives us the chance to get the new motorsport season underway with good achievements. At Dubai, we intend to build on the strong achievements from previous years, but at Daytona, we have quite some expectations this time as well. In the process, we can rely on three cars with strong line-ups and we are particularly delighted to strengthen our AMG family with Alegra Motorsport as a very experienced team. Next to the highlights at the beginning of the year, our main focus obviously also is on the optimum support of all the Customer Racing Teams worldwide again. This year, we also have the aspiration to be in contention for victories and championships in every race series and are happy to take on the challenge again of providing our support at every race track in the world. We wish all drivers and teams a lot of success in the new 2021 season.”
Mercedes-AMG GT3 and GT4 in the Dubai 24 Hours*:
Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE), Patrick Assenheimer (GER), Maro Engel (GER), Hubert Haupt (GER), Ryan Ratcliffe (GBR)
Haupt Racing Team
Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE), Patrick Assenheimer (GER), Nico Bastian (GER), Valentin Pierburg (GER), Florian Scholze (GER)
Bert de Heus (NED), Daniel de Jong (NED), Henk de Jong (NED), Jaap van Lagen (NED)