Tales from the paddock: Christoph Sagemüller – “An ambitious programme for next year, in which we aim to secure further titles”

Tales from the paddock: Christoph Sagemüller – “An ambitious programme for next year, in which we aim to secure further titles”

Toto and the drivers thank team members in Brackley and Brixworth
The team has now completed a long and strenuous Formula 1 campaign that stretched out over no fewer than 22 races, having battling through to secure a hotly contested second place in the Constructors’ World Championship.
Shortly after the end of the season, Lewis Hamilton, Mick Schumacher and Toto Wolff visited their team-mates at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth to thank them for their tireless efforts throughout the year and to get them fired up for 2024.
“The team always shows great unity; it’s what makes us different and sets us apart,” said Toto appreciatively.
“We are honest with each other, and we share the same objective: we want to win and we want to work together.”
George Russell was unfortunately unable to be there in person, as he is still recovering from the illness that plagued him during the last two races of the season, but he did not miss the opportunity to send a video message to the team: “I know as a team we’re still not where we want to be, but I felt like finishing the season in Abu Dhabi P2 ahead of the Ferraris was such a morale boost for all of us – really deserved after what was a very turbulent season, to say the least. I’m going into next year feeling so excited, so motivated to bridge that gap to the Red Bulls.”
Now it’s full steam ahead for the new season: “I’m encouraged by the progress we made through the year,” said Lewis.
“We were adding performance, not taking steps back. I have trust in every single one of you. I one thousand percent believe we will be back on top.”

James Allison talks about his life in Formula 1
As the team focuses its full attention on the upcoming 2024 F1 season and on getting the W15 race ready, our Technical Director James Allison talks about how he and the team are looking to the future.
In the ‘Performance People’ podcast, James spoke to presenter Georgie Ainslie about all things Mercedes-AMG F1, his personal work-life balance and why he thought it was “brilliant” to have been made redundant in his early 20s.

Overall victory in the Lenovo Gulf 12 Hours and two championship titles in the Intercontinental GT Challenge
Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing has scooped up yet more championship trophies in the closing stages of the 2023 motorsport season.
At the Lenovo Gulf 12 Hours, Jules Gounon (AND) secured the drivers’ title in the Intercontinental GT Challenge.
The Mercedes Performance driver shared a Mercedes-AMG Team 2 Seas cockpit with Maximilian Götz and Fabian Schiller (both GER).
A P3 at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi was enough for the trio to seal the title win.
A first victory of the season for Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM courtesy of Maro Engel (GER), Mikaël Grenier (CAN) and Luca Stolz (GER) enabled Mercedes-AMG to close a nine-point gap in the manufacturers’ standings and secure the manufacturers’ championship.
Their team-mates Lucas Auer (AUT), Frank Bird (GBR) and Lorenzo Ferrari (ITA) in the number 77 Mercedes-AMG GT3 finished fourth.
Frank Bird and Lorenzo Ferrari had impressed in the AMG Young Driver Test held in Valencia and thus qualified for the Performance race at the IGTC season finale.
Lorenzo Ferrari: “It was a challenging race with highs and lows. I’m very happy with fourth place. I would like to thank Mercedes-AMG for this great opportunity.”

The first ever Mercedes-AMG SIM UNITED event took place last week. Sim racers and team managers from all over Europe eagerly accepted the invitation to come to Affalterbach. They took part in various workshops and activities, including an ‘AMG Experience’ and a tour of the engine works in the town. Later that evening, a successful e-sports season was celebrated at Zuckerfabrik Stuttgart. Celebrity guests such as AMG brand ambassador Bernd Mayländer and Bernd Schneider were also present. As part of the celebrations, 13 drivers from the Mercedes-AMG E-Sports Team Legion of Racers, Mercedes-AMG E-Sports Team Unicorns of Love, Mercedes-AMG Team URANO eSports and Mercedes-AMG Team Williams Esports were honoured for outstanding racing achievements in the Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports 24 Hours of Spa, the GT World Challenge Esports Asia Sprint Series, the Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports, the iRacing Special Event Nürburgring 24h and the Digital Nürburgring Endurance Series 22/23. The winners received an individually engraved glass trophy. Mercedes-AMG Team URANO eSports, which is withdrawing from virtual motorsport after this season, was bid a fond farewell.

2023 motorsport season review:
The 2023 motorsport year once again brought noteworthy and prestigious successes for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing teams and the Mercedes-AMG GT3. These included the championship title in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, the Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS and the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS. The major successes in the continental racing series of the Stéphane Ratel Organisation (SRO) ensured that Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing won the global manufacturers’ championship (an amalgamation of all GTWC race results) for the fifth time in a row. In the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli, the trophy for the best driver and manufacturer once again went to Affalterbach. In the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing teams surpassed all previous records for the brand. Both the GTD Pro and GTD classes of the Michelin Endurance Cup produced a hat-trick of driver, team and manufacturer titles. This extraordinary achievement was crowned by successes in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the first ever Mercedes-AMG victory in the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Mercedes-AMG teams also finished in the Top Three in the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps. Landgraf Motorsport also registered an historic achievement in the ADAC GT Masters, becoming the first team to successfully defend a drivers’ championship title. They also finished second in the team standings behind Haupt Racing. Raffaele Marciello (SUI) won the FIA GT World Cup in Macau in his very last race at the wheel of a Mercedes-AMG GT3. He thus becomes the first driver to win and successfully defend this title on more than one occasion. The debut year for the Mercedes-AMG GT2 also brought success. The most powerful homologated racing car in the history of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing scored a number of triumphs, including class victories in the Nürburgring 24 Hours and in the GT America at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In November, the Mercedes-AMG GT2 PRO (specifically developed for Track Days) was unveiled in the context of the first running of the AMG Racing Series. In 2023, the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams chalked up a grand total of 110 overall victories in 565 races and 963 podium finishes across all classes, fielding the Mercedes-AMG GT3, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 and the Mercedes-AMG GT2.

Three questions for Christoph Sagemüller, Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport

The Gulf 12 Hours was an extremely gratifying conclusion to the 2023 motorsport year. How would you sum up the season as a whole?
Christoph Sagemüller: “To be honest, it was a long, intense and challenging season. But ultimately, all of our hard work paid off. Even though the DTM season was something of mixed bag and definitely not up to our high standards, we still managed to pick up plenty of other prestigious trophies. Alongside the runner-up constructors’ title in Formula 1, I am especially pleased with the multiple championship titles in the GT World Challenge, the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship and, of course, our successful defence of the FIA GT World Cup in Macau. We were also very successful again in virtual motorsport where we were represented in all the important races. Rounding off this season with the drivers’ and manufacturers’ title in the Intercontinental GT Challenge and overall victory in the Gulf 12 Hours is sensational.”

What will you particularly remember from this year?
Christoph Sagemüller: “A difficult question, because there were some emotional moments. Definitely the victories in major races, some of which we’ve had to wait a long time for, such as the 24-hour race in Daytona and the Motul Petit Le Mans. Or the race debut of the Mercedes-AMG GT2 in Europe and America, with which we even managed to score class victories at the very first attempt. Away from the race track, one highlight was the launch of the GT2 PRO as a track day derivative. We were also able to expand our partnership portfolio to bring several global players on board. And we had an incredible week in November with AMG Racing Action and our end-of-season party in Valencia city centre.”

What can we look forward to in the coming season?
Christoph Sagemüller: “We have another ambitious programme for next year, in which we aim to secure further titles that have eluded us for a long time. In the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, we not only want to perform at the highest sporting level, but also to implement a new event concept with a special programme and customer offers from AMG. Furthermore, we will be celebrating 130 years of motorsport together with Mercedes-Benz in 2024. And, of course, our focus is also on the successor to the Mercedes-AMG GT3. We will be investing a lot of time and effort in this fantastic project. But first, I hope that everyone in the ‘World’s Fastest Family’ can recharge their batteries over the holidays and get the new year off to a great start.”

News snippets: Results and Facts & Social Media News

24H Series: CP Racing won the opening round of the 24H Series Middle East Trophy. Charles Espenlaub, Joe Foster, Shane Lewis and Charles Putman (all USA) secured overall victory in the 12-hour race over 363 laps in Kuwait Motor Town. The number 85 Mercedes-AMG GT3 was just 0.537 seconds ahead of the runner-up at the chequered flag – the closest result in the 13-year history of the 24H Series. A tight contest for victory developed in the final phase of the race. Final driver Charles Espenlaub: “The last time I was this excited was at my wedding. Our opponents tried everything, but always kept it fair. That was fantastic racing.”

Curtain-raiser: 2024 motorsport season opens with Hankook 24H DUBAI: The winter break for the Mercedes-AMG teams has once again been kept relatively short. In the world of endurance racing, the Hankook 24H Dubai (12th 14th January 2024) traditionally marks the start of the new season. The endurance test on the 5.39km Dubai Autodrome marks the second of three stops in the Middle East Trophy in the framework of the 24H Series. Seven teams will be fielding a Mercedes-AMG GT3 in this first major test of strength in 2024. The race will go twice around the clock, starting on Saturday 13th January at 09:00 GMT.

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport

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