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Los equipos y pilotos de Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing aseguraron un total combinado de cuatro campeonatos

Los equipos y pilotos de Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing obtuvieron un total combinado de cuatro campeonatos en dos series de carreras IMSA diferentes durante un fin de semana ocupado y emocionante de competencia en Motul Petit Le Mans, que finaliza la temporada en el Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, del 10 al 12 de octubre. El equipo Mercedes-AMG Riley Motorsports, los copilotos del equipo Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen y Felipe Fraga, así como Mercedes-AMG, ganaron los campeonatos por equipos, pilotos y fabricantes de la IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup GT Daytona (GTD) por tercer año consecutivo en la carrera del Campeonato IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar del sábado. El viernes, Owen Trinkler y Hugh Plumb lograron el tercer lugar en la clase Grand Sport (GS) de los copilotos del TeamTGM y aseguraron el Campeonato de Fabricantes GS 2019 para el Mercedes-AMG GT4 en el final de la temporada del IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.

IMSA, Petit LeMans, Road Atlanta, Braselton, GA. (Photo by Brian Cleary/bcpix.com)

El barrido general de la GTD Michelin Endurance Cup del sábado mantiene a Mercedes- AMG Team Riley Motorsports, Keating, Bleekemolen y Mercedes-AMG invictos en la competencia IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup desde la introducción de Mercedes- AMG Motorsport Customer Racing en IMSA en 2017.

La IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup es una competencia de cuatro rondas dentro del Campeonato IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar que premia a los mejores jugadores en las carreras de resistencia del año. El programa incluye el Rolex 24 At Daytona, las 12 Horas de Sebring, las Seis Horas de The Glen de Sahlen y Petit Le Mans.

Conduciendo el equipo Mercedes-AMG Riley Motorsports No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3, Keating, Bleekemolen y Fraga terminaron los títulos de la Copa Michelin de resistencia de este año con un cuarto lugar en el destacado Petit Le Mans de 10 horas del sábado.

El equipo No. 33 luchó por el título de la Copa Endurance desde la caída de la bandera verde y desafió por la victoria general en la clase GTD desde la marca de dos horas de la carrera cuando Fraga tomó la delantera por primera vez.

IMSA, Petit LeMans, Road Atlanta, Braselton, GA. (Photo by Brian Cleary/bcpix.com)

Después de temporadas de conducción igualmente competitivas durante toda la carrera de Keating y Bleekemolen, Fraga regresó al número 33 y lideró la última hora de la carrera. Fraga tomó la bandera blanca para la última vuelta de la carrera en primer lugar, pero el No. 33 se quedó sin combustible antes de la bandera a cuadros, cuando la apuesta del equipo en una estrategia de estiramiento de combustible se quedó corta.

A pesar de estar tan cerca de lo que habría sido una segunda victoria de la temporada, el equipo y los pilotos No. 33 cumplieron su objetivo general de ganar los títulos de la Copa Endurance por tercera vez consecutiva. El cuarto lugar fue un puesto por delante del equipo No. 63 WeatherTech Racing que se mantuvo en una batalla de Endurance Cup con el No. 33 durante toda la carrera.

El equipo y los pilotos No. 33 superaron al No. 63 en las etapas finales de la carrera del sábado para tomar las coronas de la Copa Endurance por dos puntos, 37 – 35. Mercedes-AMG aseguró el campeonato de fabricantes por un punto, 37 – 36, sobre el competidor más cercano

En total, los equipos de Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing llegaron al fin de semana de Petit Le Mans liderando los cuatro campeonatos de IMSA y los ganaron con éxito.

IMSA, Petit LeMans, Road Atlanta, Braselton, GA. (Photo by Brian Cleary/bcpix.com)

El primer título llegó en la final de la serie IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge de dos horas del viernes. En la carrera final de su reinado como GS Driver 2018 y Campeones del Equipo, Trinkler, Plumb y TeamTGM dieron un paso adelante para hacerse con el título GS Manufacturer de este año para Mercedes-AMG. El piloto titular Trinkler movió al No. 46 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4 a la delantera al comienzo de su turno de conducción, mientras Plumb luchó durante una agitada hora final para asegurar el podio en su temporada de cierre de carrera.

Con los puntos de ganancia del fabricante en cada carrera con solo su auto con el mejor resultado, Petit Le Mans fue la tercera vez en esta temporada que el TeamTGM No. 46 obtuvo puntos de fabricante para Mercedes-AMG. También fueron los mejores jugadores hace dos carreras con un cuarto puesto en VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) junto con su victoria en Lime Rock Park en julio.

El primer año, Riley Motorsports No. 35 Mercedes-AMG GT4 de los copilotos Jim Cox y Dylan Murry también entregaron puntos de campeonato para Mercedes-AMG en tres carreras. El equipo No. 35 fue el Mercedes-AMG GT4 de mejor desempeño por tres carreras consecutivas con un cuarto lugar en Sebring, segundo en Mid-Ohio y una victoria en Watkins Glen International, donde Bleekemolen se unió al equipo como tercer piloto en los cuatro – hora de carrera.

The No. 33 Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport and No. 56 Murillo Racing and Mercedes-AMG GT4 teams were the other points contributors to the Mercedes-AMG title.

Russell Ward and Indy Dontje were the first Mercedes-AMG GT4 to the line in the season-opening race at Daytona in the No. 33. Ward later joined Dominik Baumann one race ago in the No. 33 for the team’s first victory at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, a series-leading third win of the season for the Mercedes-AMG GT4, whichgave them a manufacturer championship lead they wouldn’t lose.

Murillo Racing No. 56 co-drivers Jeff Mosing and Eric Foss were the top Mercedes- AMG GT4 finishers at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and also contributed manufacturer championship points with a third-place finish at Road America.

IMSA, Petit LeMans, Road Atlanta, Braselton, GA. (Photo by Brian Cleary/bcpix.com)

Thomas Jaeger, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Program Coordinator: “It has been a great race weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport! We are very excited about winning the 2019 manufacturer titles in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup, and we are proud to take trophies from two very competitive series to Affalterbach. The 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans was intense until the very end. The race didn’t end the way it should have, but being in lead of manufacturer, team and driver standings in Endurance Cup GTD class for the third-consecutive year proves the reliability and performance of our Mercedes-AMG GT3. Congratulations to Mercedes-AMG Team Riley, Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga for a great performance throughout the entire 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and to TeamTGM, Owen Trinkler and Hugh Plumb on their podium finish in the last race of the season. Thank you to all of our Customer Racing Teams and drivers for their great commitment! We are looking forward to next year!”

Ben Keating, Driver – No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: “It was a really, really fun race. We had huge competition with the No. 63 WeatherTech team, they came into the race second in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup, and they fought us hard all day. We were the only two cars that ran to the same strategy, racing only for the Endurance Cup, and that put us in a really bad spot for the end of the race. Because we were racing to the eight-hour mark, we were really short on fuel for the last two hours. We can only go 53 minutes on a tank of fuel, but we decided to risk it and try to make it to the end when a caution came out with 30 minutes to go for the No. 63 that got punted off course. We did make it to 10 hours, but still had to go another lap and a half extra because of how the overall leader caught the timing stand. We didn’t have that much fuel. We had enough fuel to get to Turn 5. We ended up in fourth place in the race, even with running out of fuel on the last lap. So, I am really proud of the team. We made the right call, but the overall leader didn’t hit the timing stand right for us.”

Jeroen Bleekemolen, Driver – No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: “It was great. We won another championship, three years in a row for the Endurance Cup with the Mercedes-AMG GT3, and we can be really proud of that. It’s a lot of racing, and a lot can go wrong in all of these endurance races. We had a really fast car but were really unlucky on many occasions. We could have won the race but were one liter short on fuel. Even earlier in the race we had small issues that just cost us time and positions. We showed what we can do, it was good, and we just went for it. If the overall leader had passed the finish line 10 seconds earlier, that would have even made a difference. It was really tight.”

Felipe Fraga, Driver – No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: “We had the best car this weekend at Road Atlanta for sure. The first part of the race we built a big gap, but we had too many incidents. A drive- through penalty, a problem with changing a wheel on a pit stop that made life harder with having to do two stints on the same tire. We were much faster than anybody else, but we did not win the race. That hurts a little bit, we missed it by one lap, which is a bit hard to believe. At least we won the Endurance Cup championships, which is also really important. I hope we can make all of these races again next year, and we will see what the future brings.”

Owen Trinkler, Driver – No. 46 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4: “It’s great for Mercedes-AMG to get that title that we didn’t get last year when we won the team and driver championships. We contributed a lot of points to their championship, we weren’t the most consistent, but we will be back even stronger next year. We feel like TeamTGM is the best in the paddock, I have a great co-driver in Hugh Plumb, and I can’t thank Ted Giovanis, Joe Varde and everybody on this team enough. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 handles awesome, and to come away with a podium at the end of the year, and a manufacturer title for the Mercedes-AMG GT4, that’s really special for us.

Hugh Plumb, Driver – No. 46 TeamTGM Mercedes-AMG GT4: “We always want to win every race. Obviously, it’s hard to do that, but TeamTGM is so capable of that, winning team championships, driver championships and now helping Mercedes-AMG win a manufacturer championship. We had a hard-fought battle for third place today. We take the wins and take the losses as a team, and this podium and the manufacturer title today feels good.”

Dylan Murry, Driver – No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4: “To be part of the whole GS Manufacturer Championship is just great. I am really happy for Mercedes-AMG. They really earned it, put a lot of engineering into their Mercedes- AMG GT4 cars, and it was really a flawless year for them. Consistently up front, hardly any manufacturer can regularly do that, but Mercedes-AMG did it this year.”

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