SunEnergy1 Racing Top Qualifying Mercedes-AMG GT3 for 12 Hours of Sebring; Mercedes-AMG GT4 Finishes Fourth in Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Race

Three Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Set to Compete in Today’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 12 Hours of Sebring

– SEBRING, FL.

Three Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams are set to take the green flag for today's 66th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. SunEnergy1 Racing, the highest-qualifying Mercedes-AMG GT3, will start from the inside of row four on the GT Daytona (GTD) class grid.

Mercedes-AMG driver Thomas Jaeger, who co-drives the No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 with car owner Kenny Habul and Mikael Grenier, was one of just seven drivers to qualify in the GTD class in under two minutes on Friday, lapping the 3.74-mile Sebring circuit in 1:59.952.

Habul and his No.75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 placed third in the team's Sebring debut last year, sharing the podium with the race-winning No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3. The victory and double- podium showing were both firsts for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition.

Last year's winning No. 33 drivers Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen will join Luca Stolz in looking for a second-straight Sebring win for Mercedes-AMG GT3 in today's race.

Keating qualified the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 on Friday and will share row seven on the grid with the No. 71 P1 Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3. Kenton Koch qualified 13th fastest and will start the race in the No. 71 while Keating clocked in just a fraction behind to take the 14th starting spot. Koch co-drives the No. 71 car with Juan "JC" Perez and Loris Spinelli.

Live coverage of the 66th running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring begins today, Saturday, March 17, with two hours of race-opening programming on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) at 10:30 a.m. EDT. Sister network FOX Sports 2 (FS2) picks up for the balance of the live programming from 12:30 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. EDT and again for the race's final hours, finish and post-race coverage from 6 to 11 p.m. EDT.

FOX Sports GO will stream the race in the U.S. live in its entirety while international flag-to-flag coverage is available on IMSA.com in addition to IMSA Radio commentary on RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio.

Saturday's race-day schedule began with a 20-minute final warmup session at 8 a.m. before the official start of the 12 Hours of Sebring at 10:40 a.m. EDT.

Earlier on Friday, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams in Mercedes- AMG GT4 competed in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge two-hour race at Sebring. The top finish of fourth place in the premier Grand Sport (GS) class was earned by co-drivers Ari Balogh and Greg Liefooghe in the No. 19 Stephen Cameron Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4. Three additional Mercedes-AMG GT4 race cars finished in the top-10.

Thomas Jaeger, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Program Coordinator and Driver – No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: "It was quite a good qualifying run. We didn't get tire pressure and the peak out of the tire perfect, but I think that would have just given us two or three tenths of a second, not more, so in the end seventh fastest was pretty good. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is good to drive, especially on long-distance runs, so hopefully for the changes in conditions – it will be cool in the morning, then heating up and then cooling down again tomorrow – we will have a drivable car. That and consistency on tires will be the important most important things. We are well prepared, not the fastest car again, but usually we are strong on distance. Strategy should be fine as well, and hopefully we will not have any issues. We are happy so far."

Ben Keating, Driver – No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: "I think we have a very good car for a 12-hour race with the Mercedes-AMG GT3. I am quite confident we don't have a car capable of the pole- winner's time, but I think I did five or six laps in a row that were basically the same time. Being able to do consistently good laps is the more important for this race. I am really happy with the way the car is handling, I am really happy with the balance and I think our car is good over the long run. We have a brand-new Continental Tire for GTD this weekend and I love it. The tire is really good, but the characteristics of the tire I think will change how some of the cars handle throughout a stint. It is really, really good in a two-lap qualifying-type setting, but it is not that way at the end of a stint. We feel good about it."

Kenton Koch, Driver – No. 71 P1 Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: "I think we can head into our first 12 Hours of Sebring feeling pretty comfortable with what we have, but obviously not what we wanted for qualifying and not the ultimate pace we wanted. We just were struggling with some things in the qualifying session and I honestly felt like I pretty much got everything out of what we had. It was just difficult to get a little bit more of what we needed. We've got something we can do to make it at least a little bit better, but ultimately, it's a 12-hour race, and I think with how easy our Mercedes-AMG GT3 is to drive right now we'll keep ourselves out of trouble.

Greg Liefooghe, Driver – No. 19 Stephen Cameron Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: "I think we had a great strategy. Steve Cameron called us in the pits at the perfect time. We cycled back up to second and I felt like I had a good car under me. The handling was good, we were just missing a little bit on the straighaways, and with all the long straights here, it makes it pretty tough to defend. Other than that, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 performed flawlessly for us. The traction control was super helpful, the ABS is very nice, it's just a great car overall but we're still learning a lot about the car right now. We don't have a perfect handle on it, so we're a little bit hard on rear tires right now. If we can solve that issue we'll be quite a bit stronger."

 

# # #

 

Array ( [domain_id] => 1 [subdomain] => www.mbca.org [sitename] => MBCA [scheme] => https [valid] => 1 [weight] => -66 [is_default] => 1 [machine_name] => benzowners_org [path] => https://www.mbca.org/ [site_grant] => 1 )