Mercedes team AKKA ASP have announced a formidable assault on the Blancpain GT Series for 2017, entering 2 pro cars and 2 pro am entries.
AKKA ASP impressed last season, eventually winning a sprint race at Barcelona and finishing 2nd at the Spa 24 hours after launching one of the most incredible comebacks of any kind in sporting history, recovering from a 5 minute penalty. The lineup for this season is a step ahead of last season’s, however.
The #88 Mercedes AMG will be piloted by Indy Lights alumni Felix Serralles and DTM driver and former F1 prospect Daniel Juncadella throughout the season. They will be joined by AKKA stalwart Tristan Vautier for the endurance rounds. It will be particularly interesting to see how Serralles does in the youngsters maiden venture into GT Competition, as Juncadella and Vautier are both immensely experienced in the most recent Mercedes, considering the fact both are still relatively young.
The #90 car is quite a different kettle of fish, but it is equally exciting. Micheal Meadows steps over from WRT to race with the french squad, and he will drive alongside former Ferrari Young Driver Programme star Raffaele Marciello. They will be joined by Mathais Lauda, who still appears to be an Aston Martin factory driver despite these new Mercedes commitments. Again, watch out for 22 year old Marciello, who is evidently aiming to establish himself in GT racing.
22 year old ADAC GT Masters frontrunner Jules Gounon will try out yet another GT car, driving with and presumably coaching ever present am driver Jean-Luc Beabelique for the entirety of the season in the #87 machine. They will be joined by Mauro Ricci for the endurance rounds. Former McLaren academy driver Alex Fontana will be the pro driver in the #91 car and he will be joined by Daniele Perfetti and Ludovic Badey for the Endurance races. In the sprint races this car will challenge in the am cup in the hands of Jean-Philippe Belloc and Christophe Bourget.
This is a pretty high bar to be set so early, and it will be interesting to see if Audi’s WRT or Mercedes’ HTP can announce anything better, or if another team entirely could!