Mercedes-AMG honors the best customer drivers
Mercedes-AMG has named the winners of their first in-brand customer racing championship, as well as the trophy winners in a postponed awards season from 2020 as much of the racing schedule was disrupted by the global pandemic.
Indeed, the decision was taken to award specific rewards for the combined seasons of 2020 and 2021, the Championship being divided into eight categories: DRIVER, PRO-DRIVER, DRIVER GT3, PRO-DRIVER GT3, DRIVER GT4, PRO-DRIVER GT4, TEAMS GT3 and TEAMS GT4.
All customer teams and all drivers who have raced with a Mercedes-AMG GT3, GT4 or SLS AMG GT3 in the past two years were eligible to participate. Performance teams and factory-backed performance pilots were excluded from participation.
The trophy in the DRIVER category went to Valentin Pierburg, the 34-year-old driver showed consistent good performance with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 from SPS Automotive Performance. His tally in 2021 included three class wins and numerous podiums, among others in the GT World Challenge Europe where he finished second in the Pro-Am standings.
At the same time, Pierburg also won the DRIVER GT3 title of the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Championship. As a thank you, the Swiss-based driver receives high-quality leather products from AMG partner Santoni as well as the coveted main prize, a Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupé.
For his victory in the PRO-DRIVER category, Jim Pla also received a C 63 Coupé. The 29-year-old has convinced in several series of races and in 2021 he became runner-up in the Pro-Am class of the European GT4 series as well as third in the Silver category of the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup. His outstanding achievements with the Mercedes-AMG GT4 also earned him the top spot in the PRO-DRIVER GT4 class and a high-quality sim racing wheel from Italian partner AMG Cube Controls as a reward.
Jean-Luc Beaubelique, who notably shared the Mercedes-AMG GT4 of the AKKA ASP team with Pla in the European GT4 Series, is also rewarded. As the winner of the DRIVER GT4 title, the 58-year-old receives a Cube Controls steering wheel.
Russell Ward was honored as the winner in the PRO-DRIVER GT3 class, primarily for competing in American racing series and, among other things, for winning the legendary 24-hour race at Daytona. For its performance it received a selection of fine leather products from partner AMG Santoni.
AKKA ASP won the trophies for the most successful TEAM GT3 (top photo) and the best TEAM GT4. The French team secured second place in this year’s GT World Challenge and won the title in the GT4 France Pro-Am category with the Mercedes-AMG GT4. Unlike the honored pilots, the teams received generous sums of money.
Here’s how the winners were determined
As there had not been enough races in 2020 to determine the winners fairly, a two-season classification schedule was in place for the first time this year. As a rule, separate points are awarded to GT3 and GT4 cars. The basis are the results of the classifications by race obtained after November 12, 2019. Points are awarded according to the usual system of 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1. As additional factors, the total number of participations, the distance of the involved race as well as the level of the series are taken into account.
General PRO-DRIVER classification
1 Jim Pla (FRA) 1063.58 points Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupé
2. Russell Ward (USA) 1044.65 Bike from the SIMPLON factory
3. Indy Dontje (NED) 726.45 Pilot’s Watch Chronograph “AMG” Edition
4. Patrick Assenheimer (GER) 661.37 in the entire Puma custom race
5. Thomas Drouet (FRA) 639,26 UNGER WEINE gift wine
DRIVER winner in the general classification
1. Valentin Pierburg (GER) 1049.85 points Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupé
2. George Kurtz (USA) 637.72 Bike from the SIMPLON factory
3. Jean-Luc Beaubelique (FRA) 613.50 Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “AMG”
4. Florian Scholze (GER) 570.85 in the entire Puma Custom Race
5. Togo Suganami (JPN) 458.80 Wine gift from UNGER WEINE
Winner of the TEAM GT3 ranking
1. AKKA ASP Team 1480.84 points Prize money
2. HTP-Winward 1362.40 Prize money
3.DXDT Racing 1154.27 Prize money
4. Automotive Performance SPS 1089.81 Prize Money
5. Toksport WRT 933.33 Prize money
Winner of the TEAM GT4 ranking
1. AKKA ASP Team 1669.00 points Prize money
2. Sport CD 819.50 Prize money
3.NM Racing Team 793.53 Prize money
4. Selleslagh Racing Team 783.87 Prize money
5. HTP-Winward 765.60 Prize money
Winner of the PRO-DRIVER GT3 ranking
1. Russell Ward (USA) 720.05 points High quality leather goods from Santoni
2. Patrick Assenheimer (GER) 661.37 BWT ski set
3. Ezequiel Perez Companc (ARG) 632.03 Puma running clothes
DRIVER GT3 ranking winner
1. Valentin Pierburg (GER) 1049.85 points High-quality leather goods from Santoni
2. George Kurtz (USA) 637.72 BWT ski set
3. Florian Scholze (GER) 570.85 Puma Running Clothing
Winner of the PRO-DRIVER GT4 ranking
1. Jim Pla (FRA) 613.50 points Steering wheel by Cube Controls in AMG design
2. Marcel Marchewicz (GER) ski set 422.08 BWT
3. Lluc Ibañez (ESP) 420.00 Puma running clothes
DRIVER GT4 ranking winner
1. Jean-Luc Beaubelique (FRA) 613.50 points Steering wheel by Cube Controls with AMG design
2. Yudai Uchida (JPN) 371.90 BWT-Skiset
3. Kris Wilson (United States) 321.00 Puma running clothes
Christoph Sagemüller, Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport: “Having already had to do without our end-of-season celebration last year, the disappointment was huge as we cannot host a physical event again. Therefore, we sincerely thank all Mercedes-AMG partners who have remained loyal to us during these difficult times. Without their support, it could not have been done this way. The provision of attractive non-cash prizes further enhances the award ceremony. We are particularly pleased that a considerable amount has been raised again this year for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. This allowed us to pursue our passion for motorsport and at the same time to do something good for underprivileged children.
Stefan Wendl, Head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “At Mercedes-AMG, the annual awards ceremony for the participants of our customer sport program has become a tradition. And, of course, we’re especially happy to honor the accomplishments after two seasons for our successful client racing teams. Each winner more than deserved their prize, especially considering the circumstances which have at times been quite difficult this year. In this way, I want to thank all the teams and all the drivers for their outstanding achievements and I hope it will be possible to do it again in person next year.