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Autosport Prime 50 of 2023: #34 Raffaele Marciello

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On his GT3 Mercedes swansong, Marciello was nothing if not constant. The one driver to qualify within the high three at each GT World Problem Europe Dash spherical earned a record-extending 14th collection pole at Misano after his Manufacturers Hatch masterclass.

Key passes to win at Hockenheim emulated Marciello’s wonderful fightback within the Paul Ricard 1000km Endurance Cup spherical. Total and Endurance titles made up for Dash defeat following his solely error on Zandvoort’s slippery floor. Earlier than becoming a member of BMW, the Nurburgring 24 Hours poleman departed with Macau domination.

Learn Additionally:

5 mega Marciello Mercedes moments

1. Spa 2017: Epic drive ushers Marciello in direction of works driver standing

This was the drive that actually launched Marciello as a GT racing megastar. Had it not been for the 65-minute most stint lengths rule, the Swiss-born Italian might have received his maiden 24-hour race after switching from single-seaters to hitch Jerome Policand’s ASP squad. The automotive he shared with Michael Meadows and Edoardo Mortara needed to be held for 37s to make sure he didn’t depart the pits with greater than 65 minutes to go, and dropped from first to 3rd.

“He was simply superb,” Policand instructed Autosport in 2020. “He did a lot of the race, I feel he drove for practically 14 hours so the utmost allowed by the foundations.”

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Marciello needed to be helped from the rostrum to obtain medical consideration, however he’d despatched a message that would not be ignored and was a Mercedes works driver in 2018.

2. Nurburgring 2018: Securing the Dash title regardless of an “common automotive”

Photograph by: Alexander Trienitz

Policand (center) has fond reminiscences of the 2018 Nurburgring weekend the place Marciello and Meadows overturned a pre-event factors deficit regardless of a median automotive

Marciello received the Blancpain GT Dash title for ASP alongside Meadows in 2018 after a tense three-way combat with Audi and Lamborghini. His first main accolade in GT racing makes the record due to a revelation Policand made in 2020 – specifically, that the ASP staff had a merely “common automotive” that weekend.

After Meadows and Marciello had completed fourth within the opener, Marciello wrestled his automotive to the entrance row for race two alongside the same Black Falcon machine of Luca Stolz. He couldn’t get by, however remained shut sufficient that Meadows rejoined from the stops forward of Hubert Haupt for a win that – due to Alex Riberas going off attempting to get well from a qualifying crash for Christopher Mies – edged them forward within the title race.

“To be trustworthy our automotive was not adequate to win the race, we had been common,” Policand mentioned.

3. Macau 2019: Inch-perfect drive earns World Cup spoils

After a prolonged hiatus as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, Marciello emphatically received the primary GT World Cup held at Macau since 2019 in November. However though he led all however one session in his Landgraf-run Merc, his success 4 years prior with GruppeM was arguably extra spectacular.

Success on the observe had eluded him in Components 3, then in 2017 he’d retired whereas working second with radiator injury after contact with Augusto Farfus’s BMW, and understeered into the wall in 2018 whereas pressuring Farfus for the lead. However he made no mistake in 2019.

His pole margin was solely 0.303s (it had been 0.557s in 2018) however he withstood race-long stress from the Porsches of Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber to win. His closing margin of three.8s is deceptive as Bamber let Vanthoor by on the ultimate lap, having earlier been ushered previous to have a crack at Marciello’s defences. In contrast, in 2023, a gearshift drawback for tail-gunner Maro Engel at a restart meant Mortara’s Audi by no means obtained near threatening.

4. Barcelona 2020: Trusting judgement yields qualifying beatdown

In changeable conditions for the 2020 Barcelona Sprint, Marciello was simply stunning in qualifying

Photograph by: SRO

In changeable situations for the 2020 Barcelona Dash, Marciello was merely beautiful in qualifying

On a few events when situations have been changeable, Marciello proved he might be the difference-maker. One among these got here at Zandvoort within the 2022 GT World Problem Dash spherical, when he clinched pole by 0.567s over Vincent Abril’s McLaren. However two years prior for the Barcelona Dash, he’d been a whopping 0.675s to the nice over Kelvin van der Linde’s Audi for race three. Naturally, it was transformed to victory with Timur Boguslavskiy.

“It was very early within the morning, the observe was nonetheless damp so it means it was drying,” recounted Policand in 2020. “Because the lap instances had been enhancing by just a few tenths each lap, he has the arrogance to do a sizzling lap so he takes the choice to place the brand new tyres [on] on the final minute when the observe was at its greatest.

“However he has just one likelihood to do it, not two. If he does a mistake, perhaps we might be P7 or P8, or perhaps a crimson flag might destroy the session. However he simply made it.”

5. Spa 2022: A 24-hour race win ultimately

Marciello claimed pole three years working on the Spa 24 Hours between 2020 and 2022, however noticed his hopes dashed by mechanical maladies in 2020 (exploded brake disc) and 2021 (damaged damper). There was to be no denying the ASP automotive he shared with Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella in 2022 nonetheless and Marciello was within the thick of the combat once more.

The race got here right down to an intra-Mercedes combat with GetSpeed’s Stolz, Maximilian Gotz and Steijn Schothorst, and ASP was enjoying catchup. Marciello wanted two makes an attempt to go on Stolz at La Supply, having been edged into the gravel on his first go, earlier than pulling clear to offer Policand a long-awaited outright victory after 11 years of attempting.

“Spa, he did a fantastic weekend,” he mirrored in 2022. “Within the shootout, for instance I don’t assume we’ve got one of the best automotive total when it comes to pace. With a standard quali, I feel we will likely be between three and fifth.”

It was a long time coming but Marciello's role in winning the Spa 24 Hours in 2022 was vital to the team's success

Photograph by: SRO

It was a very long time coming however Marciello’s position in successful the Spa 24 Hours in 2022 was very important to the staff’s success

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