Mika Hakkinen will compete in the season finale of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup on November 13 in Zhuhai, China, it has been confirmed.
Hakkinen will drive a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 for the six-hour race along with 2010 Mercedes-Benz DTM driver CongFu Cheng and Lance David Arnold of Germany.
The 1998 and 1999 F1 world champion is making the appearance in his capacity as a Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador and this will be the first time the gullwing SLS has raced in China. The car has been entered by an independent team, Customer AMG Sports Team China.
“It's a great honour for me to be able to contest the first SLS AMG GT3 race in China. Although I've visited China many times, I've never raced there, which is why I'm really looking forward to Zhuhai,” said Hakkinen, who's most recent race appearance took place back in October 2007 when he drove an AMG Mercedes C-Class in the DTM season finale at Hockenheim.
“It will be a tough race in a competitive field, but I'll do my best for Customer Sports Team AMG. Of course, being a guest driver in such a line-up should be a lot of fun, especially in the SLS AMG GT3.
“It's a great customer motorsport vehicle which is both fast and extremely good-looking.”
Mercedes-Benz motorsport vice-president, Norbert Haug, meanwhile is looking forward to seeing the Finn in action in the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3.
“Mika Hakkinen is one of the most successful, best-known and best-liked racing drivers in the world. He won back-to-back F1 world championships in 1998 and 1999 with our McLaren-Mercedes F1 team and later had a successful career in the DTM. For over fifteen years, he has been a prominent, world-famous member of the Mercedes family. Mika enjoys enormous popularity, especially in China, and that's also why he was so willing to play an active role in the race debut of the Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 at Zhuhai,” Haug added. “Lining up on the grid for us is more than just a great gesture by Mika - he still possesses the same competitive spirit as in the days of his great F1 battles with Michael Schumacher in the late 90s and early 2000s.”
Ola Kallenius, chairman and CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH, continued: “We are very proud that a fan favourite like Mika Hakkinen will be a guest driver in the SLS AMG GT3 at Zhuhai. His participation is unique, and we want to use his appearance to inspire race fans in China both for the vehicle and for the AMG customer sports programme.
“The GT3 version of the gullwing was designed for customer sport and will be raced in China - as in all other markets - by private teams.
“Experience gained from over 40 years of motor racing is encapsulated in that vehicle. As the first complete in-house development and production car from the AMG factory, the SLS AMG embodies all our expertise in developing high-performance vehicles.”