#77 Mercedes-AMG GT3 finishes in P1 just 0.8 seconds ahead after 8 hours
Hong Kong team executes flawless race to stage epic comeback victory
Fourth consecutive win for Mercedes-AMG seals 2022 IGTC manufacturer’s title
On Saturday, 8th of October 2022, Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing took the checkered flag to secure the overall victory at the Indianapolis 8 Hour Presented by AWS at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The third round of the 2022 Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli concluded in spectacular fashion as the lights came on under the night sky, with the Hong Kong team finishing under 1 second ahead of the car in P2. The grandstand finish came as a result of flawless race strategy and exemplary consistency by Raffaele Marciello (SUI), Daniel Juncadella (ESP) and Daniel Morad (CAN) for the entirety of the 8-hour endurance, that saw the #77 Mercedes-AMG GT3 go from P15 to P1. Mercedes-AMG clinched their fourth straight victory in the IGTC and also sealed the 2022 manufacturer’s title with one race to spare in the season with assistance of Craft-Bamboo Racing’s P2 finish at Bathurst 12 Hour and P1 at this event.
Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing returned to the Brickyard this year, looking for redemption after an unceremonious last-hour retirement in 2021 Indianapolis 8 Hour. The car was hit by two backmarkers, suffering terminal damage and forced to end the race 35 minutes early despite running in the podium positions. Rocking another classic livery this year, the team showed excellent pace and performance right from the start of the weekend. The first adversity came as a result of a red flag in Qualifying 1, which meant Marciello was unable to set a lap time. Incidentally, the team was classified in P16 with the average lap times of Juncadella and Morad not enough to put the red and white Theodore Racing liveried car into Friday's top-10 Pole Shootout.
Morad was set to start the race from P15 and immediately was up to the task, making pass after pass during an impressive triple stint. The Silver-rated Canadian showed incredible pace and was running in P2 before he handed the car to Juncadella. The Spanish driver was catching up to the #71 Ferrari before the leader was given a Drive Through Penalty, handing Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing the lead for the first time at the halfway mark. Juncadella kept it clean and managed to extend the gap after a Safety Car restart, completing a brilliant double stint. Marciello got into the car with less than 3 hours remaining and stayed in the lead for the first hour. A second Safety Car period took place right before the 2-hour remaining mark, which was restarted with no Wave By, essentially forcing Marciello to manage the restart with traffic ahead of him. The #71 Ferrari took an opportunity and dived down the inside of Marciello at Turn 10 putting the #77 Mercedes-AMG temporarily in P2.
Marciello refused to fall behind and pressured the Ferrari incessantly for 20 minutes, until finally making the pass for the lead into Turn 4. The team made the final pit stop and kept in the lead which extended to more than 4 seconds at one stage. In the final 30 minutes, the temperatures began to drop and Ferrari started to catch up to the Swiss driver. The race came down to the final lap when the #71 Ferrari tried to make a move into the penultimate corner before Marciello shut the door and kept ahead to take the checkered flag 0.8 seconds in the lead.
It was an amazing weekend for Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing, who came back from the setbacks of Qualifying to eventually win their first race in the USA. The squad celebrated this weekend with a tribute to Theodore Racing’s era in the Indy 500, making it a truly special day for the Hong Kong team. This win also sees Mercedes-AMG seal the manufacturer’s title in the IGTC and Juncadella take the lead in the driver’s standings, set to be decided at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi. Craft-Bamboo Racing would like to thank SRO Motorsports Group for organizing this event and our partners Theodore Racing, Tarmac Works, Lone Star Racing, Pikes Peak International Raceway, Hong Kong Asia Medical Group, Evisu, Kaze, FreeM and Gravity Partnership for their continued support.
Darryl O’Young | Team Director, Craft-Bamboo Racing
“It's been a very solid week for the team. We prepared well for the event and executed a near perfect race. I want to thank the drivers for the excellent performance, and also congratulate all our team members that came together to give CBR our first victory in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. Special thanks to AJ & Lonestar Racing that supported our efforts in the USA and did a fantastic job on car preparation. I hope this is the beginning of more international victories for our team together with Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing. It will be very special when our team sponsor Tarmac Works releases this special tribute livery in the model car, it was amazing to bring the iconic Theodore Racing brand back to Indy.”
Raffaele Marciello | Driver, #77 Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing
“I’m really happy for the victory. The car has been mega all weekend. We tried something in Qualifying and it didn’t work out but it's a part of the game. We knew the car was strong for the race and Daniel did an amazing job at the start to put us back in the front. Dani continued that to eventually take P1. I had a nice fight with Antonio a few times, but when I was in front I did everything I could to keep the lead and win this race.
Daniel Juncadella | Driver, #77 Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing
“A lovely win and a lovely result. I was pretty disappointed after last year where I came second so the only goal this year was to win and we made it happen. I think the car was amazing all weekend. The race was pretty much perfect, considering where we started. Daniel got us to P2 which was a really good effort. Then we managed to get the lead and pull some gap. The last couple of hours were very exciting when Raffaele lost the lead and then got it back with an amazing pass. Very happy with this result and to have taken the lead in the IGTC drivers championship is the cherry on top of the cake.”
Daniel Morad | Driver, #77 Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing
“Starting the race, we were immediately faced with adversity but overcame it by hour 2 and got the car back up to the front where it belonged and should have been after Qualifying. I ended the triple stint in P2, Dani did an amazing job to get us in the lead and Lello just taking it to the end with some crazy action made it an even sweeter victory. A big thanks to the team, managers, mechanics and everyone else involved for this incredible weekend.”