In 2017, Stefan Wendl took over as head of Mercedes-AMG‘s customer racing department. Since then he has overseen the continued development of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and GT4 programmes in GT championships across the world.
After a second and third finish in the past two years, there can be only one objective for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport in the upcoming Total 24 Hours of Spa, namely outright victory.
In the run-up to the endurance classic, Wendl spoke about the preperations the teams have been undertaking, “I am delighted. The teams have prepared well, and the driver combinations are perfectly harmonised.
“The official test days were used very intensively to test this out and to experiment with new ideas. Added to which, we have had the British GT races and pre-event training sessions which give our teams and drivers even more opportunity to adapt themselves and the car to this challenging circuit in the Ardennes”.
“The line-up for the 24 Hours of Spa is the best in the world of GT racing. But we have no reason to feel overawed. We will have 13 Mercedes-AMG GT3 cars there. That’s more than ever before. It also makes us the manufacturer with the most vehicles in the race. But it’s not just a matter of quantity – we have also got the quality right.
“In both the Blancpain Endurance Series and the Intercontinental GT Challenge, which includes Spa, our guys are up there with the front-runners. That fills everyone with plenty of confidence. In any case, we have excellent drivers in our ranks. The number of ex-Formula 1 stars and drivers who are currently active in the DTM and Formula E is an indication of the high standard. At the same time, it enhances the attractiveness of this legendary event on its 70th anniversary”.
Looking ahead to the race Wendl beleives that the car has a perfect balance for the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, “One of the success factors is undoubtedly the car. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 has just the right mix for Spa: it’s fast, precise and reliable. The drivers also play a crucial role. The combinations in the individual cars are well balanced and able to win in all classes. Everything has merely come together correctly. As for the tactics, there are no general templates.
“We agree on these with the teams for each car and each class individually. For some of the teams, it’s not primarily about winning, but about scoring points which get awarded for interim results. Of course, external factors such as the weather will also affect strategy. And ultimately, there is also that elusive element of luck”.