Although it hasn’t signed a like-for-like replacement for its previous star Raffaele Marciello, who has switched to rival brand BMW, multiple new names will campaign the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in factory capacity across a wide variety of championships this year.
Supercars star David Reynolds is the most notable name to step up to the factory roster, having made several appearances in Bathurst 12 Hour and GT World Challenge Australia at the wheel of the AMG GT3 over the last few years.
Former Brazilian Stock Car champion Felipe Fraga is another driver to have been awarded factory status by Mercedes based on his results with the marque. Although best known for his race-winning campaigns in the World Endurance Championship and DTM with Aston Martin and Ferrari respectively, Fraga has racked up over 30 endurance outings in Mercedes machinery since 2018.
A complete newcomer to Mercedes’ line-up is Frank Bird, who impressed the German manufacturer during the AMG Young Driver test at Valencia last November and again in the Gulf 12 Hours in December.
Most of Mercedes’ top-line drivers will stay in the programme for another season, with the exception of Marciello. The list includes Lucas Auer, Luca Stolz, Maro Engel, Maximilian Gotz and Jules Gounon, all of whom are designated as ‘Performance Drivers’ along with Adam Christodoulou, Philip Ellis, Mikael Grenier, Arjun Maini and Fabian Schiller.
Even Daniel Juncadella will remain in the Mercedes fold despite signing a deal with Corvette to represent the General Motors brand in WEC and the enduro rounds of the IMSA SportsCar Championship. However, the Spaniard will have a reduced role at the German brand and is now classified as an ‘Expert Driver’.
Mercedes also confirmed that David Schumacher will remain with the marque despite another frustrating season in the DTM that yielded just a single finish inside the top 10.
He will be one of the four Junior drivers along with newcomer Bird, 2023 recruit Ralf Aron and promising young talent Jusuf Owega. Maini, who was previously classified as a Junior, has been promoted to Performance status.
Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images
#79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes AMG GT3: Daniel Juncadella, Jules Gounon
In addition, 47-year-old Thomas Jager, who is also the sporting director of Mercedes’ factory-supported DTM programme, will continue to act as a development and reserve driver.
Mercedes is expected to announce the exact programmes for each of the 19 drivers in due course.
“I am delighted that we are able to present a competitive driver line-up in 2024 once again,” said Stefan Wendl, Head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing.
“Building on the experience recently accumulated, we have a well-balanced mix of champions and endurance race winners as well as young, talented drivers who are eager to win.
“I am particularly happy about Frank Bird, a promising Junior has presented and qualified himself through the AMG Young Driver Test. Together, we want to rack up wins for AMG in the most significant endurance races and championships again this year.”
Mercedes’ factory line-up for 2024
Performance riders: Lucas Auer (AUT), Philip Ellis (SUI), Maro Engel (GER), Maximilian Gotz (GER), Jules Gounon (AND), Mikael Grenier (CAN), Arjun Maini (IND), Fabian Schiller (GER ), Luca Stolz (GER)
Junior riders: Ralf Aron (EST), Bird Frank (GBR) Jordan Love (AUS), Jusuf Owega (GER), David Schumacher (GER)
Expert drivers: Adam Christodoulu (GBR), Felipe Fraga (BRA), Daniel Juncadella (ESP), Daniel Morad (CAN), David Reynolds (AUS)
Test and development driver: Thomas Jager (GER)