For the second season round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, the high-class Mercedes-AMG driver line-up travelled to Great Britain. In the field of 48 cars, a total of seven Mercedes-AMG GT3 took on the three-hour race at Silverstone Circuit. After the torrential rain during the season opener at Monza, teams and drivers now found excellent race conditions with temperatures around 16 degrees and a dry track.
Conditions sparked hope for a similarly strong result like in the first round in Italy, but after qualifying, the indications for the teams with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 were anything but good: after two red flags in the first of three qualifying heats, race control decided to end the 15-minute session prematurely. The BLACK FALCON cars with starting numbers 4 and 6, the 43 Strakka Racing entry and the #88 AKKA ASP Team car were all unable to complete a timed lap as a result. The consequence was that only the times posted in Q2 and Q3 were considered and the four cars from Affalterbach had to start from the back of the grid. The best-placed Mercedes-AMG GT3 in qualifying was the #90 AKKA ASP Team car in eighth place.
In the turbulent opening stages, the race weekend was already over for the #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3: after several cars had collided, starting driver Michael Meadows (GBR) was unable to avoid debris on track and already had to park the heavily damaged GT3 on the opening lap through no fault of his own. Meanwhile, in the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON car, Maro Engel managed to work his way up from 37thto 28thplace in the dense traffic on the opening lap. With consistently fast lap times until the end of his stint, he continued his progress and handed the car to Yelmer Buurman (NED) in 21stplace. The Dutchman built on the strong performance by his teammate and moved up into the top ten with a perfectly timed pit stop. Having started 41st, Dev Gore also showed a great recovery with the #43 STRAKKA Racing car as he also made up numerous places and gained 20 positions in the early stages.
After several full-course yellows, both starting number 43 and the #4 Mercedes-AMG were on course for a top ten result at the end of the race. STRAKKA Racing even held on to third place for a long time. On the penultimate lap, however, bad luck again affected the British squad. A too optimistic overtake by an opponent saw final driver Jack Hawksworth briefly losing control of his Mercedes-AMG GT3. He still managed to bring the #43 car across the finish line in fifth place. Luca Stolz finished seventh with the #4 car, scoring valuable points for the overall Endurance Cup standings. Here, Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON remains in the lead of the points’ table.
The various classes brought more reason to celebrate for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport. After a commanding class win at Monza, Silver Cup points’ leaders AKKA ASP Team with drivers Nico Bastian (GER), Timur Boguslavskiy (RUS) and Felipe Fraga (BRA) scored yet another podium finish with third place and remains in the lead of the standings. Like in the previous year already, the winning car in the Pro-Am class of this year’s Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at Silverstone is coming from Affalterbach, too: with 76 laps completed in a turbulent race, Tom Onslow-Cole (GBR) and Remon Vos (NED) ended up best in class at Silverstone Circuit in the Ram Racing entry with starting number 74.
For the third of five races in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, the next round for the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams is the six-hour race at Circuit Paul Ricard in France (31 May – 1 June).
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON #4: “For me, it was a turbulent stint. Shortly after the start, I was literally stuck in traffic. After that, I made good progress, also helped by the full-course yellows and a well-timed pit stop during the neutralisation. Scoring a top ten result on this difficult day was our goal, and that is what we managed to do in the end.”
Tom Onslow-Cole, Ram Racing #74: “Simply a great result! Remon Vos and I have been working together for two years and finally this hard work pays off. Winning in front of friends and family at my home round is just fantastic. As always, our Mercedes-AMG GT3 was faultless and our team was in top condition. Bring on Paul Ricard!”
Nico Bastian, AKKA ASP Team #90: “It was a difficult and turbulent race. In qualifying, there already was an unexpected starting grid with the red flags. After that, there was the accident just after the start. Fortunately, we had a good start of the race. After a long yellow, we dropped back, but eventually, we are classified third in the Silver Cup. Today, we didn’t have luck on our side, we could have achieved more.”