The Super Sports Car League is about to celebrate an anniversary. The 2016 ADAC GT Masters will be contested by new models and a strong field of drivers, as up to 34 supercars from eight manufacturers compete for the tenth season. As the official ADAC GT Masters preseason testing got underway at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben on Monday, the line-up for the 2016 season was announced. The season opener will be held at the same venue on the weekend of 15th – 17th April. There are six further fixtures on the calendar to be staged at tracks in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.
The starting field is extensive and varied: 20 teams, including eight newcomers, have registered up to 34 supercars sporting eight different badges on their grilles. Attracting special attention will be six new or upgraded models – Audi R8, BMW M6, Corvette C7, Lamborghini Huracán, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche 911 – which will be up against last year’s debutants – Bentley Continental, Corvette Z06.R and Nissan GT-R. There are not only eight new teams on the ADAC GT Masters grid in 2016 but also a lot of drivers who are new to the series. These include Formula E driver and ex-Formel ADAC champion Daniel Abt (23, DEU), Le Mans winner Guy Smith (41, GB) and GT shooting star Laurens Vanthoor (24, B).
“The 2016 ADAC GT Masters goes into its anniversary season with a distinguished field of competitors,” says ADAC Sports President Hermann Tomczyk. “The ADAC GT Masters has long been regarded as one of the top GT series in Europe. When we first came up with the concept in 2007, we certainly didn’t expect this level of success. In recent years, the ADAC GT Masters has also established a reputation as a springboard for youngsters embarking on a career in professional motorsport. I am very pleased that we are able to support this development by introducing a new junior class.”
“The ADAC GT Masters is all set to hit new heights,” says ADAC Director of Motorsport and Classic Motoring Lars Soutschka in anticipation of the season. “The strong line-up is the evidence for that. The fact that so many new drivers and teams have signed up reflects the ongoing appeal of the series. The fans can look forward to exciting races.
20 teams compete for four titles
Eight teams are new to the ADAC GT Masters in 2016. The high-profile newcomers include KÜS Team75 Bernhard led by World Sportscar Champion and Le Mans winner Timo Bernhard and his father Rüdiger. This father-and-son team has opted for the latest generation of the Porsche 911, the iconic German sports car which is also the choice of BigFM Racing Team Schütz Motorsport and Precote Herberth Motorsport who are returning to the series after a one-year absence.
No fewer than seven teams have gone for the Audi R8 – a total of eleven cars, which makes it the most popular model in the field. Making their individual debuts in the ADAC GT Masters with an R8 are Aust Motorsport, JBR Motorsport, and Montaplast by Land Motorsport. This will also be the first full season in the ADAC GT Masters for Car Collection Motorsport. Two teams that will be more familiar to Super Sports Car League fans are YACO Racing and kfzteile24 – APR Motorsport, now about to enter their fifth and sixth season respectively. After previous attempts in 2009 and 2011, Phoenix Racing are returning for their third full year in the competition.
The Bentley brand is represented by the same Continental model that was first used last season by Bentley Team Abt. The Kempten-based outfit is a fusion of ABT Sportsline and C Abt Racing owned and managed by the brothers Hans-Jürgen and Christian Abt. Schubert Motorsport will campaign the new BMW M6 GT3 and will be aiming to defend their team title – and more besides.
Callaway Competition from Leingarten are the main exponents of the Corvette marque. They have been ADAC GT Masters regulars since the inception of the series in 2007, not only concentrating exclusively on supercars from this particular US manufacturer but also building them at their own works. Callaway plan to use two new Corvette C7s, increasing to three at selected races. As in previous years, RWT Racing will be pinning their hopes on the predecessor model – the Corvette Z06.R. Lamborghini will also have a strong presence: HB Racing from Austria and GRT Grasser Racing Team have acquired a new Huracán, as have Attempto Racing from Langenhagen and Bonaldi Motorsport from Italy.
Many eyes are on AMG-Team Zakspeed. In only their second full season in the ADAC GT Masters, the team led by Peter Zakowski secured the 2015 driver’s championship with Luca Ludwig (27, DEU) and Sebastian Asch (29, DEU) at the wheel. In 2016, Zakspeed will be entering two new Mercedes-AMGs. MRS GT-Racing are still wedded to Nissan and will arrive with two GT-Rs.
Five ADAC GT Masters champions on the grid
In addition to the two reigning champions Luca Ludwig and Seebastian Asch who are still with AMG-Team Zakspeed, three other drivers on the 2016 grid will be fancying their chances of another title. Christopher Haase (28, DEU), who won the first ever ADAC GT Masters championship in its debut year of 2007, teams up with Kelvin van der Linde (19, ZA), who took the title in 2014, as members of the Car Collection Motorsport squad. Daniel Keilwitz (26, DEU), who holds the record for the most ADAC GT Masters race wins and who claimed the title in 2013, is about to embark on his sixth season with Callaway Competition.
But the bulging entry list for the 2016 ADAC GT Masters also includes many other star names. Phoenix Racing are delighted to have signed an ex-Formula 1 and DTM driver in the shape of Markus Winkelhock (35, DEU). There are two women drivers in the field: former DTM contestant Rahel Frey (30, CH) of YACO Racing and Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky (23, S) who is looking forward to her first season in the ADAC GT Masters driving for Aust Motorsport. It will be interesting to see what sort of impact is made by series newcomer Marvin Dienst (19, DEU), winner of the first ADAC Formula 4 championship. Realistic contenders for podiums and victories are GT aces such as Christopher Mies (26, DEU), Jaap van Lagen (38, NL) and Norbert Siedler (33, A), as well as Le Mans contestant Marco Bonanomi (31, I) and Porsche works driver Kévin Estre (27, F).
In addition to the action provided by the ADAC GT Masters, the fans will be kept well entertained by other series on the programme. ADAC Formula 4 will be a regular feature on all seven weekends while the new ADAC TCR Germany series will be present for six. Other attractive guest series such as the Deutsche Tourenwagen Cup (German Touring Car Cup), the Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy (Special Touring Car Trophy), the Porsche Carrera Cup and the Renault Clio Cup ensure a full and rewarding motorsports package.
Source. ADAC GT Masters/Photo. ADAC Motorsport