Mercedes-Benz has a wider involvement in motor racing than just Formula One. In this round-up, we take a look at what has been going on elsewhere: in DTM and the Formula 3 Euro Series in Valencia, as well as in the ADAC GT Masters weekend at Hockenheim.
While Nico, Michael and the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team have been making their preparations for the next race in Asia – the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka – the Mercedes-Benz DTM drivers were competing at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, a venue familiar to Nico and Michael from winter testing.
Bruno Spengler finished seventh in Valencia and now goes into the last race of the season at Hockenheim occupying second place in the championship standings. The new DTM champion is Phoenix Audi driver Martin Tomczyk. “Things didn’t work out for us as we would have hoped in the last three races, so we were unable to repeat our title win of last year,” said Vice-President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug. “Now we are looking forward to the grand finale at Hockenheim where we intend to win the last race to be contested under the existing rules.”
Rookie Renger van der Zande and ex-Formula One driver David Coulthard achieved their best DTM qualifying and race results to date in Valencia – although their P5 and P6 finishes remain officially unclassified pending the outcome of appeals by their teams against penalties imposed by the race stewards.
Roberto Merhi crowned champion in Formula 3 Euro Series
Also taking place in Valencia was the penultimate race weekend of the 2011 Formula 3 Euro Series. Here too, the championship was wrapped up ahead of time, with Spanish driver Roberto Merhi (Prema Power Team) clinching the title in a Dallara Mercedes.
From 24 of the 27 races this season, Mercedes-Benz-powered Merhi has secured seven pole positions, nine victories and 17 podium finishes. As a reward for his achievements this season, he has been invited to test the new DTM AMG Mercedes C-Coupé as part of the Mercedes Young Driver Programme.
Promoting young talent in motor racing has a long tradition at Mercedes-Benz: five of the current nine Mercedes DTM drivers graduated from the Mercedes Formula 3 Young Driver Programme; eight of the 24 drivers competing this season in Formula One contested the Formula 3 Euro Series powered by Mercedes engines, including reigning and former world champions Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, 2010 DTM champion Paul di Resta, Adrian Sutil, Kamui Kobayashi, Sébastien Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari and Bruno Senna.
“Being asked to test for DTM in the new AMG Mercedes C-Coupé is the icing on the cake after winning the Formula 3 Euro Series championship title,” said Merhi. “It’s a great honour for me to follow in the footsteps of such successful drivers as Lewis Hamilton, Jamie Green and Paul Di Resta, who all won the Formula 3 Euro Series title with Mercedes-Benz in recent years and then went on to compete in Formula One or DTM.
Season finale in the ADAC GT Masters
The 2011 ADAC GT Masters season came to an end last weekend at the Hockenheimring. Nine Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 gullwings lined up for the start of the two races.
In the first of these, Lance David Arnold and former F1 test driver Andreas Zuber came fifth in their SLS AMG GT3. Two more customer teams took their gullwings into the Top 8. In the second race, SLS AMG MS GT3 drivers Maximilian Götz and Maximilian Mayer representing MS Racing finished on the podium.
Harald Proczyk and Dominik Baumann ended the season in fifth place with a score of 110 points. HEICO Motorsport took fourth place in the team standings with a total of 156 points. The AMG gullwing claimed two victories in 16 races during its first season in the competition: Andreas Wirth and Christiaan Frankenhout at the Nürburgring; Thomas Jäger and Florian Stoll at the Lausitzring.