Sep 3, 2012
INTERNATIONAL ACE TO JOIN GT GRID AT THE ISLAND
Erebus Motorsport will have its quest for the SLS GT3's first Championship outside Europe boosted when Peter Hackett will be joined by a European ‘wing man’ for the final three rounds of the Australian GT Championship.
Starting at Phillip Island’s round five as part of the Shannon's Nationals (September 21-23), Hackett will be joined by 27-year-old Maro Engel. A former runner up in the British Formula 3 Championship, Engel was racing for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM series for the last four seasons.
He is now contracted to AMG as an instructor in the AMG Driving Academy and expert for the AMG Customer Sports program, of which Erebus Motorsport forms a key part.
Engel’s role at Phillip Island - indeed the three AMG ambassadors that will join Erebus Motorsport across the final three rounds - is to ensure Hackett and the close-knit team adds to its list of ‘firsts’ and becomes the first AMG Customer Sports team outside Europe to win a Championship.
“I’m excited to be making my first trip to Australia and the fact I’ll be racing an SLS AMG GT3 on a beautiful circuit like Phillip Island is even sweeter,” said Engel. “It is one of the Australian circuits well known around the world. The Erebus Motorsport team has done AMG Customer Sports proud there in the past - which adds a bit of pressure!
“My job will be to help Peter (Hackett) in his Championship race and to assist the team with more information allowing them to develop their pair of SLS AMG GT3’s.
“Erebus Motorsport is known as a very professional team in the AMG Customer Sports program and it will be nice to work with the team first hand. It is a dream come true for me to race in Australia.”
The Monaco-based German cycling enthusiast will step into the seat vacated by James Brock. Brock - still very much a part of the Erebus Motorsport family - steps aside due to budgetary reasons and is currently analysing his options for 2013.
Engel drove for the Mucke Motorsport AMG team in the DTM Championship for four seasons between 2008 and 2011. His 2011 Championship was affected when it was discovered he was suffering myocarditis - an inflammation of the heart muscle.
Intensive treatment and recovery - driven by his passion for cycling and being surrounded by the Monegasque F1 elite, along with a step back from full time competition sees Engel now at full fitness.
Outside of racing, the Munich born racer is one of 68 Champions of Peace for the Peace and Sport Foundation, which uses sport to address social problems within communities around the world. Other Champions of Peace include Novak Djokovic, Sebastian Loeb, Loris Capirossi, Frankie Fredericks and Australians Bradley McGee and Cathy Freeman to name a few.
Erebus Motorsport CEO, Ryan Maddison welcomes the international injection from AMG Customer Sports.
“AMG agreed to send three of their factory drivers to Australia to assist our team in the second half of this season which makes us very happy,” said Maddison. “Having three drivers, all of whom are behind the wheel of the SLS Gullwing on a regular basis, and their troika of different opinions can only assist our program moving forward.
“We are in negotiation around the schedules of the remaining two drivers, but rest assured we’re extremely happy with discussions so far and will make announcements around them in due course.
“This shows the level of relationship that Erebus Motorsport has with AMG Customer Sports. The Europeans will add a distinctly international flavour to the Australian GT Championship at Phillip Island, the Gold Coast and Homebush.”
Ulrich Fritz, Manager of the AMG Customer Sports program, continues: “We are happy to support our customer team Erebus Motorsport with our drivers. In order to support our customer teams, we have established a driver support program, offering our teams the chance to benefit from the knowledge and speed of our drivers. These driver assignments in Australia show how successful and popular this support program has become for our teams."
Peter Hackett was equally as happy to welcome Engel on board.
“Maro’s a quality competitor and I’ve been fortunate to spend time with him at the AMG Driving Academy,” said Hackett. “He and his colleagues will deliver so much to me in terms of support and the entire Erebus Motorsport program when they arrive here in Australia.
“We’re in a fantastic position right now in leading the Championship and we want to protect that as much as possible. Maro and the AMG drivers will help us to do that.”Maro Engel will occupy the Erebus Motorsport #62 at the Phillip Island Shannon’s Nationals round, September 21-23.