Fanatec GT World Challenge – Nothing to choose between Porsche and Mercedes-AMG as global duel continues

Porsche and Mercedes-AMG remain locked in a tight battle at the top of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS standings, while Ferrari has forced itself into contention by taking a big haul of points from the centenary CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa.

In what has become an increasingly back-and-forth contest, Mercedes-AMG took over from Porsche at the head of the standings following Fanatec GT Australia’s trip to The Bend, only for the Stuttgart firm to reclaim the advantage when Fuji Speedway hosted Fanatec GT Asia. The positions were swapped yet again following the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa, though neither brand scored particularly well at the marquee race, before Porsche reclaimed top spot at Suzuka last weekend.

The recent run of events began over the weekend of 1/2 June at The Bend Motorsport Park, one of Australia’s newest and most impressive racing venues. The spoils were shared between Audi and Mercedes-AMG, with both brands earning a brace of victories at the 4.9km circuit. Triple Eight JMR won the opening Pro-Am contest with its AMG GT3 EVO, while Am honours went to a Valmont Tigani-run Audi.

The wins were reversed in the second outing, with Melbourne Performance Centre taking Pro-Am with its R8 and RAM Motorsport triumphing in Am. The outcome was an advantage of just four points in Audi’s favour, while Ferrari also scored well at The Bend thanks to Pro-Am squad Arise Racing with its 296 GT3. But there were no points for Porsche: the 911 GT3 R is not present in Fanatec GT Australia this term, allowing Mercedes-AMG a clear path to retake the lead.

The momentum would swing once again when Fanatec GT Asia reconvened for its third round at Fuji Speedway. The historic venue is located in the foothills of Mount Fuji, with its iconic snow-topped peak visible from the circuit. This was unquestionably a Porsche event: the Stuttgart marque took four wins, one in each category, to comfortably out-score its rivals and return to the top of the standings.

The 911 GT3 R was victorious courtesy of Absolute Racing (Pro-Am and Silver Cup), Origine Motorsport (Silver-Am) and AMAC Motorsport (Am). There were also victories for Lamborghini, which took a Pro-Am win thanks to VSR, as well as Audi (FAW in Silver) and Ferrari (Garage 75 in Am). Still, nothing came close to Porsche’s haul of 1,350 points, with Ferrari, Audi, Mercedes-AMG and Lamborghini all scoring around the 500-point mark. This meant that Porsche would head to the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa with a slender advantage of around 250 points.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime edition of the Belgian endurance classic, which marked the centenary of its inaugural running with a packed week of activities both on and off the circuit. In terms of Fanatec GT’s global ranking, it presented a huge scoring opportunity. The standard points format (25-18-15-etc) is multiplied by four at the 24-hour event, then further multiplied by the number of cars in the class. As such, a bumper 2,400 points were on offer for the winning Pro car at this year’s race.

Aston Martin hit the jackpot, triumphing in the Ardennes for the first time since 1948. Fielding the new Vantage GT3, Comtoyou Racing prevailed in dramatic fashion, snatching the lead with less than an hour remaining when the leading AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors Ferrari was prevented from entering the pits by a broken-down car. The British brand’s total of 3,600 points was the biggest of the weekend; indeed, Aston Martin more than doubled its tally for the season within the space of 24 hours.

Ferrari scored well by finishing as runner-up in Pro and the Bronze Cup, which were comfortably the largest classes this year. Audi Sport also earned big points by winning in Bronze with Tresor Attempto Racing, while Lamborghini was close behind thanks to a fifth-place finish in Pro and third in Bronze. Indeed, the Italian marque out-scored Mercedes-AMG despite the German brand winning three classes: the Gold Cup, Silver Cup and Pro-Am.

While these were smaller and thus awarded fewer points, the efforts of AlManar Racing by GetSpeed (Gold), GetSpeed (Silver) and CrowdStrike by Riley (Pro-Am) nevertheless helped the German brand to return to the top of the standings. This was aided by the fact that Porsche – so often a serious force at Spa – experienced a relatively fallow 2024. Its best-placed car was eighth overall, while Dinamic GT added a runner-up finish in the Silver Cup.

Mercedes-AMG therefore led Porsche by 177 points – a tiny number in the context of the scoring system – ahead of Fanatec GT Asia’s second event in three weeks at Suzuka.

The two marques are evenly and well represented in Asia, but it was Porsche that once again racked up the points across the series’ four classes. Its tally of 1305 was 746 more than Mercedes-AMG could muster during the two hour-long races.

Race 1 was especially productive thanks to Pro-Am, Silver-Am (both Origine Motorsport), and Silver (Absolute Racing) class victories before Origine and AMAC added further successes in Race 2. Climax Racing did at least salvage a Pro-Am win for Mercedes-AMG, but that was as good as it got for Affalterbach.

Ferrari and Audi Sport also clinched a class win apiece across the two races courtesy of Garage 75 and FAW.

All of that leaves Porsche 568 points clear of Mercedes-AMG, while Ferrari is a further 625 behind in third. They and the other six registered manufacturers have another chance to score big in just under two weeks’ time when the European and American series continue at Hockenheim and Virginia International Raceway respectively (19–21 July). Fanatec GT Europe will remain in Germany to race at the Nürburgring one week later (26–28 July), while the next stop on the Australian schedule is Queensland Raceway (2–4 August).

SRO Motorsports Group must account for varying degrees of manufacturer participation across each continent when calculating global Fanatec GT World Challenge points.

As such, points are awarded based on the position of each manufacturer’s leading car per category (Overall, Pro-Am, Am etc) in every race.

Points for Sprint races of up to 90 minutes are based on the standard allocation (25 – 18 – 15 – 12 – 10 – 8 – 6 – 4 – 2 – 1). This allocation doubles for races lasting between three and 12 hours and is multiplied by four after the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa.

The points scored per brand are then multiplied by the number of cars competing in that category. Therefore, a win in a category with five cars competing is worth less than one where 20 cars are entered.

No cars are removed from the classification – if the top six cars are from a single brand, the next brand will score points for seventh. These points are added across the categories and races to give the manufacturers’ global score.