FIA GT3 European Championship: Final race at Zandvoort
European Team Championship for Heico Motorsport and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3
Zandvoort – Team Heico Motorsport with their two Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3s secured the team title of the 2011 FIA GT3 European Championship in Zandvoort, Netherlands. It is the first title for the gullwing car in its first full racing season. In the final two races at Netherland’s North Sea coast, Christiaan Frankenhout/Patrick Hirsch came home fourth and sixth respectively whilst their team mates Dominik Baumann/Brice Bosi finished fifth and second. Thus, Heico Motorsport improved from third overall to the top in the final race.
The success was rounded off by Mike Parisy at the wheel of a Graff Racing SLS AMG GT3 who ended the season runner-up in the Drivers’ Championship. In the final race, he and his team mate Gregoire Demoustier finished third. Philippe Giauque and Thomas Jäger in Graff Racing’s second gullwing car came home fifth which meant that four Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 ended up amoung the top six at Zandvoort, underlining the excellent performance of the gullwing car.
The successful race was another highlight of the Mercedes-AMG customer sports programme. Six gullwing cars based on the production Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG which had been entered by private teams from Czech Republic, France and Germany were among the 31-car field. On Saturday, in the season’s penultimate round, the two Heico Motorsport gullwing cars both started from the front row. On Sunday, the SLS AMG GT3 od Gravity Charouz Racing was on the front row with the two Graff Racing cars lining up on the second row of the grid, separated by only four thousandths of s econd.
Zandvoort saw the final of the most exciting GT3 European Championship season after the series’ inauguration in 2006. Mercedes-Benz was one of seven victorious manufacturers in this year’s 12 races. Prior to the finale, 20 drivers and seven teams were still in reach of a title win. Combined, Heico Motorsport and Graff Racing took seven podium finishes, including two race wins.
Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “We are very happy about the title win in the team championship for our customer sports team Heico Motorsport, the first one for our Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3. This year, the FIA GT3 European Championship was extremely hard fought which was also shown by the fact that seven manufacturers shared the 12 race wins. This makes the success of Heico Motorsport even more valuable. They got the maxmimum out of the performance and reliability of the SLS AMG GT3 – congratulations to all of them.”