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04 November 2011

Mika Hakkinen returns behind the wheel in a Mercedes SLS AMG GT3

Words by Jose Carlo R. Sapera | Photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz
After a four-year absence in motorsports, Double Formula One World Champion and Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) driver Mika Hakkinen is set to return behind the wheel as a guest driver for the season finale of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup on November 13, 2011 in Zuhai, China. The Flying Finn will be driving a Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3 in the six-hour race together with Mercedes Benz DTM drivers Cong Fu Cheng and Lance David Arnold. Entered by the independent squad Customer AMG Sports Team China, this will be the first time that the race-tuned SLS AMG GT3 will be racing on Chinese soil.
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 is a competition version of the gull wing SLS AMG designed for customer motorsport. Powered by the same 548 hp 6.3L V8, it entered its full racing season this year, including the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring and in the GT3 European Championships, earning various race victories and championship titles.
Now at 43 years old, the Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador started his 11-year stint in Formula One with Team Lotus in 1991 and earned back-to-back world championship titles in eight-year stay with McLaren. After the 2001 season, Mika took a three year hiatus, but eventually went back to racing when he joined DTM with Mercedes-Benz in 2005. Enjoying some success, Hakkinen ultimately announced his retirement from motor racing in 2007, which as we now know didn't remain permanent.
Hakkinen's return to competitive motorsports fueled an atmosphere of excitement. According to Hakkinen, it will be his first time to race in Zuhai and remarked, “It is a great honor for me to able to race the SLS AMG GT3 in China.”
Can’t get enough of Mika? Here’s the good news, the Flying Finn will be in the Philippines for a short visit this coming Saturday, November 5, 2011 to promote responsible drinking as the brand ambassador of Johnny Walker. Step Inside the Circuit for a chance to meet and greet the two-time Formula One World Champion.