Preparations are coming to a head for the opening of the 2017 ADAC GT Masters at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben next weekend (28th – 30th April). A high-calibre line-up of super sports cars from seven manufacturers entered by 17 teams will as always be providing top-class motorsport. On Sunday, the ADAC GT Masters also reaches a special milestone as it stages its 150th race.
Key facts, Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, Oschersleben, Rounds 1 and 2 of 14
Length of track: 3,696 metres
Layout: 14 corners (seven right-handers, seven left-handers), driven clockwise
Winners in 2016, Race 1: Sebastian Asch and Luca Ludwig (AMG-Team Zakspeed, Mercedes-AMG GT3)
Winners in 2016, Race 2: Rolf Ineichen and Christian Engelhart (GRT Grasser Racing Team, Lamborghini Huracán)
It is difficult to pick a favourite for the opening weekend from the super sports cars on the grid: Audi, BMW, Corvette, Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG, Nissan or Porsche? In the official test sessions at the race track near Magdeburg two weeks ago, it was the Porsche teams that dominated the timesheets. Topping the ADAC GT Masters drivers’ standings was Sven Müller (25, GER) from Bingen. The Porsche works driver is a newcomer to the series and is looking forward to his debut in the 911 GT3 R entered by Precote Herberth Motorsport. “I just can’t wait for the weekend to come around,” says Müller, who shares a cockpit with Robert Renauer (32, GER). “I’ll be competing against a lot of top drivers – so far, I know them only by name. The tests went very well for us. We have a superb setup, both for qualifying and for the race, so I’m hoping for at least a podium. Let’s see what the other teams can come up with at Oschersleben.” The excellent early form of the Porsche drivers was underlined in the tests by Klaus Bachler (25, AUT, Schütz Motorsport) and newcomer Mathieu Jaminet (22, FRA, KÜS TEAM75 Bernhard) who each posted a fastest time in one or other of the six sessions.
Defending champions at Montaplast by Land-Motorsport well placed
The Montaplast by Land-Motorsport drivers clearly have to be considered among the favourites. The Westerwald-based outfit won the drivers, Junior and team titles in 2016. Last year’s champions Connor De Phillippi (24, USA) and Christopher Mies (27, GER) will settle for nothing less than Top Three finishes for their Audi R8 again this year. “This will be the first time we’ve had the number one emblazoned on our car, and we intend to vindicate it,” says Mies. “That’s not going to be easy, though, because the standard of competition is even stronger than last year. We’ll get an idea of how strong the individual teams really are at the weekend.” The new team-mates of the title defendants – former champion Christopher Haase (29, GER) and Jeffrey Schmidt (23, CH) – will certainly be a force to be reckoned with at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben.
Two-time champion Sebastian Asch (30, GER) also sees himself as a strong contender for the season opener, having won the first race of 2016 on the 3.69km track. This year, he will be competing for the first time in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 prepared by BWT Mücke Motorsport: “Our team may be new to the ADAC GT Masters, but it comes with plenty of experience. What’s more, I know the Mercedes AMG very well. It’s a track that should suit our car, so I’m hoping for a Top Five result.”
Luca Ludwig (28, GER, Mercedes-AMG Team ZAKSPEED) will be the most successful driver at Oschersleben in terms of ADAC GT Masters race wins (four) and is a contender for the front of the grid, as is fellow Mercedes driver Maximilian Götz (31, GER). The 2012 ADAC GT Masters champion is making a comeback this year with Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport. Two other former champions are also seeking to regain their title – Daniel Keilwitz (27, GER) and Kelvin van der Linde (20, ZA). Record ADAC GT Masters championship winner Keilwitz remains faithful to the Corvette C7 and to Callaway Competition, while Audi R8 man van der Linde joins the squad of Aust Motorsport.
Full programme of entertainment to launch new campaign
Visitors to Motorsport Arena Oschersleben can look forward to a comprehensive and exciting programme of racing activities on all three days of the weekend. In addition to the ADAC GT Masters, the ADAC Formula 4 and ADAC TCR Germany support series are also getting their season underway at the same venue. The Renault Clio Cup and KIA Lotus Race – two single-make competitions – are also part of the schedule. Off the track itself, fans have the opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes during the 25-minute pit walk (Saturday and Sunday). On Saturday, there will be a Meet the Drivers session at the ADAC hospitality suite, during which the drivers will be available for autographs and selfies (4pm – 4.30pm local time).
2017 ADAC GT Masters Calendar
28/04/17 – 30/04/17 Motorsport Arena Oschersleben
19/05/17 – 21/05/17 Lausitzring (with DTM)
09/06/17 – 11/06/17 Red Bull Ring, Austria
21/07/17 – 23/07/17 Circuit Park Zandvoort, Netherlands
04/08/17 – 06/08/17 Nürburgring
15/09/17 – 17/09/17 Sachsenring
22/09/17 – 24/09/17 Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg
Source. ADAC GT Masters/Photo. ADAC Motorsport