Mercedes-AMG extends GT World Challenge lead with faultless performance

Mercedes-AMG extends GT World Challenge lead with faultless performance

Having passed the half-way point in the 2023 season of the Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS, Mercedes-AMG has extended their lead over Porsche and Audi Sport, having scored points in every single round to date, on all four continents.

Porsche, running a close second, has only missed out on points in one round, the first race in Brands Hatch. Third-placed Audi Sport also shows perfect scores in the three continents where they are represented, namely Asia, Australia and Europe.

The highlight of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe, and indeed of the whole series, is undoubtedly the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa. With teams and drivers from all the continental series present, as well as a new, earlier date, the crowds flocked to the track, with a massive 83,677 spectators in attendance. The 24-hour race gives a multiplication factor of 100 for the category winners, meaning there were plenty of points on offer. The manufacturers made the most of this, with a different brand victorious in each Cup. BMW M claimed the overall victory with Rowe Racing, the team’s third win. They were joined on the podium by Akkodis ASP for Mercedes-AMG and the Audi of Scherer Sport. Gold Cup victory went to McLaren, with Optimum Motorsport finishing ahead of the BMW of Team WRT and the Audi of ComToYou Racing. Lamborghini triumphed in Silver Cup, thanks to GRT Grasser Racing Team, while Huber Motorsport gave maximum points to Porsche in Bronze Cup. As for Pro-Am, the Sun Energy1 Racing Mercedes took a well-deserved victory after a difficult race weekend which left team owner Kenny Habul in hospital.  

Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia continued its excellent season and bumper grids with a double-header in July. The third round of the season in Suzuka was followed the weekend after by another two sprint races in Motegi.  Porsche was the biggest winner in race 1 in Suzuka, with victory overall for Absolute Racing and Chinese team R&B Racing winning in Silver Cup. Climax Racing, also from China, was victorious in Am. Their domination continued on Sunday, with R&B making it two in a row in Silver, while AMAC Motorsport from Australia won the AM category. Overall, however, Mercedes made it a one-two for Craft-Bamboo and Triple-Eight.

Moving on to Motegi, for the third out of four Japan Cup rounds this year, Audi Sport dominated the first race, with Audi Sport Asia Team Absolute claiming a dominant win, while Phantom Pro Racing won Silver Cup. Porsche fought back in race 2, with R&B Racing of China winning both the overall ProAm category and the Silver Cup. Lamborghini won both races in the Am category, with The Spirit of FFF Racing from Japan.  

An intense title battle is building in Australia, where the fourth event of the 2023 season took place in Sydney. It proved to be an excellent weekend for Audi Sport, with wins in all three categories in Saturday’s race, from Shannons, Schumacher Motorsport and Only Fans. Audi Sport continued its run of good results in the second race, claiming the Am and GT Trophy wins, while The Bend Motorsport Park’s Porsche claimed the overall win ahead of Triple Eight Race Engineerings’ Mercedes AMG.

The European season continued with a further two events in July. The second round of the Sprint Cup took place in Misano, with a record-breaking grid of 42 cars. This included the Bronze Cup entrants, for the first of their three Sprint rounds. The first hour-long race was claimed by Mercedes-AMG, with Akkodis ASP on the first step of the podium. They were closely followed by Emil Frey Racing, claiming significant points for Ferrari.  McLaren won the first Bronze Cup Sprint points of the season, with Garage59 dominating the class, while Boutsen VDS won Gold Cup for Audi, and Haupt Racing Team sealed Silver Cup victory for Mercedes. Sunday’s race saw a historic first win for MotoGP superstar Valentino Rossi, with Team WRT claiming maximum points for BMW M. The team also claimed Gold Cup victory, while Tresor Attempto Racing was victorious in Silver Cup for Audi. In Bronze Cup, Garage 59 made it two in a row, closely followed by Pure Rxcing’s Porsche.  Both Ferrari and Lamborghini scored well in Silver and Pro.

Reverting to the three-hour format for the final two races of the year, the Endurance Cup returned to the Nürburgring in Germany circuit after a break in 2022. Mercedes-AMG was again the leading scorer, thanks to an overall win for Akkodis-ASP and victory in Gold Cup for Winward Racing.  Lamborghini had an exceptional weekend, thanks to Barwell Motorsport’s victory in Pro-Am and Grasser’s win in Silver Cup. Porsche dominated Bronze Cup, with Herberth Motorsport claiming the top step of the podium, ahead of the Sky Tempesta McLaren.

Thirty-two races have taken place so far this year, with a further 20 yet to take place. While  Europe takes its well-earned summer break, the Australian teams will be back in action in Queensland on Aug 11th-13th, while Fanatec GT World Challenge America resumes competition at the beautiful Road America circuit on August 18th, simultaneously with the penultimate round of the Asian series in Okayama, Japan. The European season resumes at Hockenheim, on Sept. 1st, with the third Sprint Cup event.

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