• Annual prize-giving ceremony celebrates leading performers from across the globe
• Stars of international GT racing descend on Magazine London for gala event
• Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS champions collect 2022 silverware
The stars of Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS were recognised last night (26 November) at the annual SRO Motorsports Group Awards in London, which brought together competitors from across the globe to celebrate the 2022 season.
The traditional gala ceremony was staged at Magazine, a state-of-the-art events space on the south bank of the River Thames. Set amid the city's revitalised docklands, the venue is within sight of the famed 02 Arena and a short distance from historic Greenwich Park, making it the ideal location for an end-of-year celebration.
Capping what has been a remarkable 2022, Raffaele Marciello took home the overall Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS drivers' title. The Swiss ace is the first two-time recipient of this coveted award, while his Akkodis ASP squad collected the corresponding teams' crown for the second time. The Mercedes-AMG outfit also claimed a Fanatec GT Endurance Cup double with Marciello, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, and was further recognised for its overall triumph at this year's TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa.
In the Fanatec GT Sprint Cup, Team WRT earned another overall championship sweep by securing a record-extending ninth teams' title, while Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts bagged their third successive drivers' crown. The Audi squad was also the recipient of Pit Stop Challenge award thanks to the fast work of Alexandre Riquier and Keryann Cochois.
Team WRT won big in the Silver Cup, too. Thomas Neubauer, Benjamin Goethe and Jean-Baptise Simmenauer clinched TotalEnergies 24 Hours glory, setting the young trio on a path towards class honours in the Fanatec GT Endurance Cup, while the combination of WRT, Neubauer and Goethe also bagged the combined Silver Cup crown. In the Fanatec GT Sprint Cup, AF Corse was the standout Silver squad with its pairing of Ulysse De Pauw and Pierre-Alexandre Jean, whose future appears very bright after scoring two overall wins on their way to a dominant class title.
AF Corse also enjoyed a stellar Pro-Am season. The Ferrari squad earned the combined teams’ title, the Fanatec GT Sprint Cup teams' championship and a sixth class victory at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, while drivers Louis Machiels, Andrea Bertolini and Stefano Costantini took home the Fanatec GT Endurance Cup crown. The teams' championship went to SPS automotive performance (Mercedes-AMG), which was also recognised for its Bronze Cup triumph at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa. In the Fanatec GT Sprint Cup, Garage 59 (McLaren) duo Miguel Ramos and Dean MacDonald secured the title, while the latter also took the combined drivers' crown.
The new Gold Cup class proved to be a major success this year, attracting strong grids at each Fanatec GT Endurance Cup round and delivering plenty of outstanding racing. TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa honours went to the Iron Dames crew, who scored a commanding and immensely popular class win with their fluorescent pink Ferrari. The title, however, fell to McLaren squad Inception Racing, which triumphed with the trio of Brendan Iribe, Ollie Millroy and Frederik Schandorff.
Among the other prizes presented, Mercedes-AMG received the global Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS crown for a fourth year in succession after defeating rival brand Audi Sport during a highly competitive season. Aided by a hugely successful campaign for its European contingent, the German marque has wrapped up the title ahead of the closing Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS round at Adelaide Parklands Circuit (1-4 December).
Switching to the virtual world, this season’s Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series winners were recognised for their achievements in the crossover championship. Akkodis ASP added to its haul by taking home the Pro title, while Attempto Racing collected the Silver Cup crown. The champions from this year's Mobileye GT World Challenge Europe Esports Championship and Intercontinental GT Challenge Esports Powered by Mobileye also featured during the event.
While Saturday evening’s festivities celebrated the stars of 2022, the current campaign is not quite finished yet. In addition to the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS finale, Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli will conclude its campaign on 9-11 December at Yas Marina, making its very first outing at the Gulf 12 Hours. Mercedes-AMG has already secured the manufacturers’ title, while one of its drivers is guaranteed to take home the drivers' crown. TotalEnergies 24 Hours winners Marciello, Gounon and Juncadella are all in the running, as is fellow Fanatec GT regular Luca Stolz.
But, for Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS, the 2022 season is a closed chapter. The paddock now has an opportunity to recharge during the winter months before reconvening at Circuit Paul Ricard for the traditional pre-season test days on 7-8 March 2023. After an immensely competitive year of racing across the continent, the rest has been well earned.