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Mercedes "very optimistic" about joining WEC's GT3 class in 2024

Mercedes is “very optimistic” that it will be represented on the World Endurance Championship grid next year upon the introduction of the LMGT3 class.

#57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: Jens Liebhauser, Lorenzo Ferrari, Lucas Auer

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The Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be eligible to compete in the WEC for the first time in 2024 following the series’ decision to axe its GTE formula in favour of a more affordable GT3 alternative.

However, the WEC will prioritise manufacturers that are already present in the championship’s Hypercar class while accepting entries, meaning the likes of Porsche, Ferrari, BMW, Lamborghini and Chevrolet (thanks to Cadillac) could get preferential treatment over Mercedes in case there isn’t enough space to accommodate all makes on the grid.

Mercedes will also be relying on customer teams to front its effort, with a maximum of two entries allowed per manufacturer under the plan laid out by WEC promoter the Le Mans Endurance Management.

While the details of the LMGT3 class are yet to be ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, Mercedes is already confident that it will be present in the WEC next year, buoyed by the interest it has already received from its customer teams.

“We have interested teams of course because there are many customers who would like to join and who would like to do Le Mans in the future,” said Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG’s customer racing division.

“But from our side we are in close contact with the organisers and we will see what the future will bring.

“At the moment, it's still a bit early to have any results yet but we are very optimistic that we will see one or other AMGs on the grid.”

Bernd Schneider/Mark Webber/Klaus Ludwig AMG Mercedes CLK LM

Bernd Schneider/Mark Webber/Klaus Ludwig AMG Mercedes CLK LM

Photo by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Motorsport Images

Mercedes provides varying degrees of manufacturer support to customer teams depending upon the championship or the race they are competing in, with bigger budgets dedicated to the DTM and major enduros such as the Nurburgring 24 Hours.

Asked just how involved Mercedes will be as a manufacturer in a potential WEC programme, Wendl said: “First of all we go the way the customers want to go and then we look at how much support is possible.

“So first of all, drivers support and engineering support, as we do in several programmes, maybe spare parts support as well because we are known for very good support systems worldwide. So that's our approach.

“At the moment we are discussing all options and then we have a clear picture. Then we decide where we want to go but the plan is definitely to have cars in these championships.”

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Mercedes last entered the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1999 with the CLR prototype, but it was forced to pull out of the event on safety grounds following a series of crashes in qualifying and practice.

Back in December, leading GT World Challenge entrant ASP stated that it is actively working to race at Le Mans in 2024 with a Mercedes AMG-GT3.

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