DEFENDING 12-Hour winner Jamie Whincup has had first taste of Mercedes-AMG GT3 power during a test day today in Queensland.
Whincup will drive for Mercedes AMG Team SunEnergy1 Racing, though the locally-based car will be supported by Scott Taylor Motorsport throughout the duration of the event.
Originally announced to drive with Sun Energy1’s Kenny Habul and former IndyCar ace Tristan Vautier in the BRM Chronographes Pro/Am class, the team has now attracted factory support and the addition of a fourth driver – Raffaele Marciello.
The 23-year-old Italian is a former member of the Ferrari driving academy and won the 2013 Formula 3 Euro Series before going on to be a test driver for Sauber. He has since become a factory Mercedes-AMG driver and contested the Blancpain GT Sprint Cup series last year.
Pending official confirmation of his addition to the squad, the move will likely elevate the car into all-professional contention for the February 4 race.
“I just tried to get my head back around GT racing,” Whincup told Supercars.com.
“Everything felt good, everything went smoothly, consistently.
“Scotty Taylor Motorsport does a great job preparing the cars and I would’ve got a good 40 laps in to get fine-tuning with the car.
“There’s still plenty of work to be done in getting the ergonomics right, in terms of seat position, driver changes and all of those types of things, but the car feels great.
“It’s just getting your head around the ABS and the traction control again, and working with it rather than working against it.
“That’s what I spent most of my time trying to do today.
“I probably got 40 laps in and that’s 40 laps more than I had in the Ferrari going to Bathurst last year.”
Whincup said he was pleased to add AMG support to the existing program, a move that should enhance his chances of repeating his remarkable Bathurst 12 Hour victory achieved on debut last year when driving for Maranello Motorsport.
“AMG is getting behind us now,” Whincup added.
“We were just going to be running as Kenny Habul Racing, but AMG got involved so we’ll be running the factory colours.
“They’re sending out a few engineers and a factory driver as well, so that’s good.”
Scott Taylor Motorsport’s other car, to be driven by Max Twigg, Craig Baird and Tony D’Alberto, also tested with Twigg and former 12-Hour winner Baird sharing the driving duties.