> German brand prevails after year-long battle with Lamborghini
> Record seven manufacturers contest 21-event challenge on three continents
> Season-closing round in Australia brings the curtain down on 2021
Mercedes-AMG has secured the global Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS crown for a third year in succession following a season-long battle with Lamborghini.
The German marque was confirmed as the winner at the concluding Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS event at Mount Panorama, emerging as the best of seven major automotive brands that tackled the 2021 campaign.
Scores were decided by the continental Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS series in Europe, America and Australia, with points accumulated in each class and the final allocation depending on the duration of the race and the number of cars.
Mercedes-AMG was the strongest brand in Europe, finishing ahead of Lamborghini and Audi Sport thanks to consistent performances from its customer racing roster. Indeed, Mercedes-AMG was often the best represented brand in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS this season, bolstering its chances to earn points.
But it did not enjoy an easy ride to victory. As well as a highly competitive showing in Europe, Lamborghini came out on top in America ahead of Mercedes-AMG and Porsche, establishing the Sant'Agata Bolognese marque as a serious contender for the crown. Indeed, it was not until the closing event of the European season at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya that Mercedes-AMG began to edge clear of its main rival.
The Italian brand made up ground at the American finale, the Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS, but it was not enough to prevent Mercedes-AMG from sealing top spot and maintaining its global crown. Though it ultimately settled for runner-up in the standings, Lamborghini enjoyed a superb 2021 season that included titles in America and Europe.
Audi was the best performer in Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS, helping the Ingolstadt brand to clinch third in the standings ahead of Ferrari. The Maranello marque's overall victory at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa proved vital to its global position, with the blue riband race providing the best points scoring opportunity of the season. Porsche was fifth after enjoying race-winning success in Europe and the United States, including a Pro-Am class title in Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS.
McLaren took sixth position in the standings and will look back on the season with satisfaction after earning a highest-ever finish at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa. BMW completed the table, its best result coming with a Pro class win in Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS at Elkhart Lake. The brand will hope for more victories in 2022 when its hotly anticipated new M4 GT3 arrives on-track across the globe.
The third season of Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS played out across 21 events in Europe, America and Australia, combining sprint races and long-distance contests such as the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa and Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS. The 2022 campaign is set to be bigger still, with Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS scheduled to return to action following a two-year hiatus. As such, Mercedes-AMG will face an even greater test as it seeks to hold on to its global crown for another season.
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “By winning the GT World Challenge Manufacturers' Championship for the third time in a row, our Customer Racing Teams impressively proved the competitiveness of the Mercedes-AMG GT3. Of course, I'm delighted, especially since we were able to clearly prevail in a tough competition against six premium brands. My thanks go to all the drivers and teams who contributed to this great success and not least to the development and support team of HWA AG, who gave our customers the best possible support.”
Stéphane Ratel, SRO Motorsports Group Founder & CEO: "Many congratulations to Mercedes-AMG for winning the global Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS for a third successive season. This was an especially hard-earned victory, with 2021 bringing our biggest field of competitors yet and a particularly strong effort from Lamborghini. I am grateful to all seven participating brands for putting their faith in the project and to the teams that represented them around the world. Given the difficulties presented by Covid restrictions, they deserve special praise for their commitment to the sport. I must also thank our partners for helping to make Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS a reality and ensuring that it grows stronger year by year. We are proud that this global challenge supports the customer racing ethos, which remains a fundamental aspect of the GT3 category. With the welcome return of Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS in 2022, we can look forward to even more competitive season to come."