Mercedes-AMG regains the lead in the build-up to the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa

Mercedes-AMG regains the lead in the build-up to the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa

In the space of approximately five weeks, the points table of the 2023 Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS has totally changed.  Over that relatively short time, eleven races have taken place over four continents, with twenty hours of racing. 

Reigning champions Mercedes-AMG regained the lead in the points table, with victories in all four continental series allowing them to build up a margin of over two thousand points.  Audi Sport initially overtook Porsche, after excellent results at Brands Hatch and Circuit Paul Ricard, but the points from the past weekend’s double-header saw Porsche move back into second place.  

The weekend of May 12th/13th saw the first triple-header of the season.  The Fanatec GT Sprint Cup got underway in Brands Hatch, with two one-hour races and a grid of 29 cars in Pro, Gold and Silver.  The Bronze Cup will join the grid at the second round in Misano.  Akkodis ASP won the first one-hour race for Mercedes-AMG, while Audi claimed Gold and Silver victories with Boutsen and Attempto Tresor respectively.  In race two, Tresor Orange 1’s Audi claimed overall victory, ahead of a BMW one-two which gave Moto GP superstar Valentino Rossi his first Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe podium.  BMW was victorious in the Gold Cup, while Lamborghini claimed honours in Silver, with a first win for Italian team VSR.

Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia held its first race of the season at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand.  It was a good start for Mercedes-AMG, with Australian team Triple Eight winning overall while Climax Racing was the leading Am car.  R&B Racing’s Porsche kept their points score up with victory in Silver.  The second race also went to Mercedes-AMG, this time to Craft Bamboo from Hong Kong while local Thai team YK Motorsports BBR by Sunoco won Am. Audi added extra points from Phantom Pro Racing’s Silver victory.

In Australia, the fourth round took place at Philip Island.  With growing grids and 21 cars taking part, Mercedes-AMG won both Am and Pro-Am in the first race, with Audi doing likewise in Race 2.  The series now has a break of over two months before they meet up again in Sydney. 

America moved to Austin, Texas, and the impressive Circuit of the Americas, where Porsche continued its excellent results in America. Wright Motorsports won the first 90-minute race, ahead of RS1’s Porsche.  Top Fanatec GT points in the second race also went to Porsche, with Wright Motorsports taking their second Pro-Am victory of the weekend, and RS1 scoring the highest Fanatec GT points in Pro.

In Europe, the second Endurance race took place at Circuit Paul Ricard in the south of France, with a six-hour race finishing at midnight.  After BMW’s dominance in Monza, it was the turn of Mercedes-AMG to shine, with a one-two for the German brand led by a home win for Akkodis ASP, as well as victory in Bronze Cup.  ComtoYou Racing won Gold Cup for Audi, while Tresor Attempto Racing’s Audi continued to shine in Silver.  Ferrari was the third-highest points-scorer, thanks mainly to second place in Pro-Am for new entrant ST Racing with Rinaldi, while AF Corse was second in Bronze Cup, ahead of a fine third place for the Sky Tempesta Racing McLaren. The hotly-disputed Bronze Cup also saw a first for the Fanatec GT World Challenge manufacturers points – all of the seven competing brands were placed in the top seven places!  

A fortnight later, Asia saw its biggest-ever grid of forty cars at the Fuji International Speedway.  In the shadow of Mount Fuji, points were shared between the leading manufacturers in race one, with Porsche taking the most points in Pro-Am for AAS Motorsport by Absolute, while Climax Racing’s Mercedes-AMG led AM and Phantom Pro Racing’s Audi won Silver.  The second race, punctuated by three safety cars and a number of post-race penalties, eventually saw Australian Mercedes-AMG team Triple Eight claim the win ahead of the New-Zealand based Porsche team of EBM. Victory in Am went to Comet Racing’s Ferrari, with Team Uematsu’s McLaren second.   

The same weekend, the Fanatec GT World Challenge America series was back in action at the Virginia International Raceway, for two more 90-minute sprints.  Mercedes-AMG dominated the weekend, taking wins in both Pro and Pro-Am in both races. TR3 Racing won the first race, with CrowdStrike by Riley’s fellow Mercedes-AMG third overall to win Pro-Am.   In the second race the class results were the same, but the Pro-Am car of CrowdStrike by Riley was victorious, while the leading Pro car was in third.

Just before the half-way point in the season, all eyes now turn to Belgium, and the biggest GT3-only race in the world: the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa.  The blue riband event of the Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS, 71 cars are due to take part this year.  With a wide-open field, and a factor of four on the points table, the overall winners in each category will definitely boost their points.


About Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS

The races range from 60-minute sprints in Asia, Australia and Europe, through the 90-minute races in America, three-hour and six-hour races in Europe, the mighty Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS race in America and the season highlight of the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa.

Each manufacturer scores points based on the best result of their GT3 cars entered in each category. The points scored – based on the standard 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 scale, independent of the points actually attributed in the series – are multiplied by the number of cars competing in that category.  The points scored in each category are added up to give the total for the event.  Endurance events see points multiplied by two. For the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa, they are multiplied by four. The score is based on the actual position in which the leading car per brand finishes, with no cars being removed from the classification, even if those from brands not competing in the Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS.

Due to this method of points scoring, every car entered has the same possibility to score points for their manufacturer, independent of the category in which they are competing, ranging from the most professional factory entries to a full Bronze-driver line-up.