Instead, the #79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be driven at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta by three Mercedes factory drivers – Maximilian Gotz, Maximilian Buchk and Michael Grenier. The car will compete in GTD Pro sponsored by Mercedes-Benz of Billings, Montana.
The WeatherTech Racing/Proton Competition team enters the event as the defending champions of the Motul Petit Le Mans race, with the WeatherTech brand taking one or two places in last year’s race in the GTD Pro category. Of the three drivers who will be tasked with defending the race win, only one, Buchk, has competed in the competition in the past.
He said: “In 2018 I raced at Petit Le Mans with P1 Motorsport,” said Book. “I really like the track with its elevation changes and the last corner is very fast and always challenging.
“As it’s a 10-hour race, the key factor will be to stay out of trouble. We have to be in a good position in the last hour as this is the time when the race is decided.
“Mercedes-AMG is always competitive, as we have seen over the years. We have to be able to take advantage of the tire usage because the car is always kind to the tires.”
Grenier gained experience competing with the WeatherTech Racing/Proton team this year at Watkins Glen and said he is “looking forward to competing in the GTD Pro Class again.
“Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta is a very good track. It will be my first time there, but I know the track well from the simulator, studying the on-board video and watching previous IMSA WeatherTech races.
“In the race, we will need to survive the first few hours, keep the car intact, have a good strategy and be on the lead lap for a few hours before the finish and then go for the win. Our WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG should be very strong in Sector 1, so we will need to make the best of it.”
Gotz is another newcomer to Petit-Le-Mans, but described the course as “a traditional old-school circuit, almost like the Nordschleife with its ups and downs and blind turns. It looks like it will take a lot of effort to drive. With all the prototypes and being in the slowest class, it can be difficult with traffic, especially at night.
“I use my simulator to go a few laps to get a feel for the corners and the general layout of the track. Of course I also watched some past races. The main thing is not to make mistakes on the track and in the pits. I have a lot of faith in the car and the team.
“Racing also requires luck, especially at the end. We don’t race fuel economy in Europe, so we have to be in a good position with the strategy at the end.”