Christodoulou within seconds of podium finish at Daytona 24

Posted By Adam Christodoulou / Daytona, Endurance, Race Update / Career, Daytona, news / No Comments

Adam Christodoulou, Britain’s only Mercedes AMG GT factory racing driver, took on America’s biggest sports car race, the intimidating Daytona 24 Hours and after a record-breaking lap distance was covered by the lead cars, he crossed the line in fourth place – a mere 2.7 seconds off the podium.

The 28-year old Brit was joined in the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 by Jeroen Bleekemolen, Ben Keating and Luca Stolz. Taking it in turns to circulate the 5.73-km long Daytona International Speedway, the team lead the race through many of the difficult night-time hours.

With strategy key in such a tight competition battle, the team needed a safety car period, which would usually be common in an endurance race. However, luck didn’t go their way this weekend and the team had to make one extra splash for fuel whilst fighting for the lead in the remaining 15 minutes of the race.

“We needed about 10 seconds of fuel, which is nothing!” said the AMG driver, who finished third at Daytona last year. “ last year there was over 15 saftey car periods, this year there was only four. If we had known it would be such a green race, with no interruptions, then we would have changed our strategy, but you can never predict that for six hours you’re going to have no cautions.”

Of course, no one ever wants to wish for a safety car so, instead, Christodoulou prayed for some rain to spice things up and, from the look of the team’s radar their luck could have changed.

“There was a chance of rain, but it didn’t come in time. I’ve never wanted it to rain so much in my life! Still, sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t.”

With a good haul of points for the championship, the team was disappointed not to taste the Champagne but happy to start the season on the right foot. Although this was a one off event to join the team, Christodoulou was delighted to be able to support them in their championship bid.

“It’s always an incredible feat to finish a 24-hour race,” he concluded. “I wish the team all the luck for the rest of the season and would be delighted to join them again if they need an extra driver.”

Adam’s 2018 plans will be announced in the coming weeks. Follow him on social media for all of the updates.

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Christodoulou returns to Dubai with ProSPORT

Posted By Adam Christodoulou / AMG, Dubai, Endurance, Race Update / AMG, Career, Dubai / No Comments

Adam Christodoulou will kick start his busy 2018 racing calendar at the 24H Dubai this weekend (January 12-13), teaming up with the German ProSPORT; he returns after a year away at the wheel   with the team in the newly-acquired Mercedes-AMG GT3, which will wear the No. 85 and be entered in the A6-AM class. .

Christodoulou has a faultless record finishing on the podium three times in each of his last three starts at the event and charged from 98th on the grid to finish second in 2016.

The 28-year-old AMG driver, became the third Briton to win the Nurburgring 24 Hours in 2016 and last year finished second at the Daytona 24 Hours; Adam last raced for ProSPORT at Bathurst two years ago, but has continued to work with team boss Chris Esser as a driver coach and strategist, so was the natural choice to lead the team step up to the GT3 ranks for the first time.

“It’s great to be back at Dubai and racing with ProSPORT, a team I’ve been lucky enough to work and race with since 2012 as a driver, strategist and driver coach,” said Christodoulou.

“In our very first race we finished 3rd in the Nurburgring 24 hours, eventually going on to win the European GT4 teams’ and drivers’ championship in 2013, with multiple wins in the VLN championship and many other races over the years.

“I’m really looking forward to being a part of their new AMG GT3 programme, it’s going to be a new challenge for the team but we’re all excited to see what we can do.”

Christodoulou will be joined by 24H Series regulars Joe Foster, Charlie Putnam and Charles Espenlaub, the American trio making their third attempt at Dubai after two previous outings in the 991 class.

Christodoulou is optimistic the team can challenge for a podium finish in a competent  A6-AM class featuring six other Mercedes-AMG GT3s, however, knows that caution will be just as great a virtue as outright speed if the team is to reach the finish on Saturday afternoon in one piece; 94 cars will start on the grid sharing the tight and twisting 5.39km Dubai Autodrome, including Porsche Cup, GT4, TCR and Clio Cup machinery.

“It’s always tough at Dubai due to the amount of cars, this year there will be 26 GT3 cars and a huge entry list of 94 cars in total, so we are going straight in at the deep end for ProSPORT’s first outing with the Mercedes-AMG GT3,” he said.

“The team has great spirit and knowledge of the circuit, having worked with all three of my American team mates before I know the speed and consistency is there, but you always have to be realistic in 24 hour races. Anything can happen, but with a little bit of luck, we’ll be fighting at the end of the 24 hours for our first GT3 podium.”

Christodoulou, who will also contest the Daytona 24 Hours in January (27-28) will confirm his full 2018 programme with AMG in due course.

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Christodoulou targeting victory at Daytona 24

Posted By Adam Christodoulou / Daytona, Endurance, Team Update / Daytona, Mercedes / No Comments

Adam Christodoulou has set his sights on victory in the GTD class, ahead of his return to the Daytona International Speedway for the highlight of the American endurance racing calendar, the Rolex 24 at Daytona (January 27-28).

Last year the AMG driver returned to Daytona where the car led 108 laps in the Mercedes-AMG GT3’s US debut finishing third on the podium, just 5.6 seconds off the winner, so this year Adam is determined to put memories of the narrow defeat to bed in the first round of the 2018 IMSA Sportscar Championship.

Christodoulou returns to a largely unchanged Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports line-up alongside Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen, joined by Luca Stolz as the fourth driver; the Briton’s team-mate in last season’s Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.

Adam said; “I’m delighted to be invited back to Daytona with Mercedes-AMG Team Riley

“We had a great debut last year for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and we had the possibility of winning the race going into the final hour, so I’m looking forward to pushing ustwo places better and win some nice shiny watches!

“I’ve been lucky to race with Luca for the entire 2017 season in the Blancpain Endurance season, he’s a talented and fast but precise driver, so I’m confident we’ve got a bullet-proof line-up that can fight for the win again

“I’m expecting us to be at the sharp end and be the best American AMG Team out there. If there’s anybody that you can rely on to do the perfect job, it’s the Riley boys.”

Keating, who is the team’s mandated Bronze-graded driver, set the foundations for victory last year with a superb triple stint from the start of the race, Christodoulouis confident that the Texan will again prove to be the team’s ace in the pack;

“Ben was amazing last year, he qualified the car for us, we threw him straight into the deep end and he smashed out a triple-stint from the start of the race putting us into a strong position

“He’s got to be one of the fastest, if not the fastest AMdriver out there, so I’m looking forward to working with him again.”

Preparations start with the Roar before the 24 this weekend as Christodoulou re-familiarises himself with the intricacies of the 5.73 km layout, part of which uses the famed Daytona banking.

The 28-year-old first raced at Daytona in the Grand-AM series in 2011, finishing sixth in a SpeedSource-prepared MazdaRX-8, and has since seen the event grow into one of the biggest in the world; with the likes of two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso, former F1 racer Paul di Restaand reigning European F3 champion Lando Norris all set to make their endurance racing debuts in the LMP2 class.

Christodoulou concluded; “It is a very special event, it’s one that everyone wants to be involved with and it’s on every drivers bucket lists

“There’s some massive names that are going to be involved this year and that’s brilliant because you always want to compare yourself against the best in the business.”

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Podium position for Christodoulou in Spa 12 hours

Posted By Adam Christodoulou / Endurance, News, Race Update / Career, news / No Comments

Adam Christodoulou marked his first competitive outing in the Mercedes-AMG GT4 last weekend with a podium finish, claiming second in class and sixth overall at the 12H Spa-Francorchamps.

Having assisted in the development of the new 4.0 litre V8-powered GT4,
Christodoulou was invited to join up with his regular Team Black Falcon outfit for a guest outing in the 24H Touring Car Endurance Series and was immediately on the pace, leading the 48-car field on three separate occasions before delays with an unscheduled stop costing five laps.

With plenty of running still to be conducted before it goes on sale at the end of the year,Christodoulou was delighted with the pace shown by the Mercedes-AMG GT4 during what was essentially a 12-hour test session under race conditions, and believes the car is well on course to be a success in in the ultra-competitive GT4 landscape.

This weekend was all about putting mileage on the car to make sure we have plenty of data to understand more about it and all three cars made it to the end of the 12 Hours, which shows that the reliability is strong,” said Christodoulou.

“It was important to get feedback from drivers of all different experience levels because the GT4 is generally for those less experienced drivers coming up through the categories that are eventually going to be reaching GT3 or faster in the end. Some of them have been involved through AMG Customers Sports as customers already and we also had some new drivers in some of the other cars, but their feedback was very positive, which definitely bodes well for the future.”

In typically unseasonal October rain, the Briton would share driving duties of the No. 2 car with Saud Al Faisal and Spanish brothers Miguel and Alex Toril.

However, having four drivers would prove something of a disadvantage in qualifying, because series rules dictate that all drivers must complete at least two laps prior to the race in order to take part. But with just 60 minutes of track time split between a 40 minute practice session and 20 minutes of qualifying, so there wasn’t much time to waste.

Due to the foul conditions and Code 60s which extended each lap, Alex Toril only managed to complete his mandatory laps at the very end of qualifying, but his efforts were still enough for third on the grid.

“To do two flying laps around there means you actually have to do four laps, including the in and outlaps,” explained Christodoulou.

“Four laps in the wet takes around 12 minutes, so it wasn’t going to be possible to do the four drivers in the 40 minutes of practice anyway. But we also had two Code 60s during the practice as well, and a Code 60 means it takes seven minutes to do a lap, so Alex didn’t get in until the end of qualifying. He didn’t get a chance to really push, but lots of people were in the same boat.”

Christodoulou took the start on Saturday afternoon and immediately dispatched the leading TCR class entry to begin a nip-and-tuck battle with the identical HTP Motorsport test car driven by AMG legend Bernd Schneider, with whom Christodoulou won the 24 Hours of Nurburgring in 2016. After taking the lead from Schneider’s Mercedes-AMG at La Source, both cars were passed by Erik Janis in the RTR Projects KTM, which came on strong as the track dried.

But a well-timed switch to slick tyres during a Code 60 period – during which time he was lapping 15 seconds faster than anybody else – cycled Christodoulou back to the head of the pack after two hours, when he handed over to Saud. After three hours, the cars were placed into parc ferme for the overnight halt, with the Black Falcon Mercedes just under two minutes behind.

The field was neutralised in time for the remaining nine hours on Sunday morning, although the absence of the KTM through mechanical dramas meant Christodoulouwould have a clear run into the lead. With around half an hour of fuel in the tank, the Briton continued out front for another double stint before handing over to Miguel, who had suffered from a virus for much of the weekend.

After Toril’s single-stint in the worsening rain was complete, his brother Alex took the car over, but with four hours to go, an incident involving a slower car forced the team to relinquish their two lap lead and go to the garage for repairs to the left-front corner. Re-joining three laps down, fought hard to gain the time back but ran out of time to catch the class-leading Mercedes-AMG GT4 from the Uwe Alzen Motorsport stable and settled for second in class.

Although the end result didn’t live up to its earlier promise, Christodoulou believes the weekend met all objectives from a development standpoint.

“We definitely proved how good the car can be once it goes on sale for customers,” he concluded.
“We’re not allowed to use tyre warmers, which isn’t so much of a problem in Dubai as it is at Spa when its 7 degrees in the wet – but everyone seemed to love the car in the wet conditions, they all felt very comfortable with it.

“It’s proved to be very quick and we were very happy with the performance. It’s a shame we didn’t get many dry laps but I’ve really enjoyed being back behind the wheel after the 30 hour test that we did earlier in the year and seeing how it’s improved since then.”

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