René Rast (30, DEU), Markus Winkelhock (36, DEU), Maxime Martin (31, B), Maximilian Götz (31, DEU) and Stefan Mücke (36, DEU) – many ADAC GT Masters and DTM drivers will meet up with old friends at the Motorsport Festival Lausitzring next weekend (19th – 21st May). After the successful premiere of the not-to-be-missed highlight of the motor racing calendar last year, the two racing series are again holding a joint race weekend.
Several drivers have moved to the DTM from the ADAC GT Masters, including René Rast (30, DEU). The German won the Super Sports Car League in 2014 and is contesting his first full season in the DTM with Audi. Rast: “Time spent in the ADAC GT Masters was very important for my career. The title win in 2014 was my first with Audi. I became an Audi works driver the following year and drove the Audi R18 e-tron quattro in the 24-hour race at Le Mans.” Rast does not find it easy to compare the two racing series: “The races are similar in length, but you share the car with a team-mate in the ADAC GT Masters, and so, compromises have to be made with setup, whereas you are in sole control of your car in the DTM. There is more pressure and the schedule is much tighter in the DTM.” The cars in the ADAC GT Masters and the DTM require different driving styles. Rast: “The GT sports cars are heavier and have less downforce, so it’s important to exit the turn well in order to be quick down the straights. The DTM cars, on the other hand, are lighter and have more downforce. You can carry more momentum into the turns with them. They’re practically like formula racing cars to drive.”
Maxime Martin and Maximilian Götz have also moved up to the DTM from the ADAC GT Masters. Martin won a total of five races in the ADAC GT Masters between 2009 and 2012 before joining the DTM in 2014 where he has taken two wins as a BMW works driver. Götz, the 2012 ADAC GT Masters champion, competed in the DTM during the previous two years but has now returned to the Super Sports Car League with Mercedes-AMG team, HTP Motorsport, for 2017. He too is looking forward to seeing his former team mates again: “It’s always nice to meet the guys. I’m still in close contact with them. I’ll use the opportunity to stop by and visit them in the pits. The Lausitzring suits me – I finished in the points there in the DTM in 2016 – and should also suit our Mercedes-AMG GT3.”
Patrick Huisman (50, MRS GT-Racing) has also achieved a podium in the DTM. “Only Mattias Ekström remains of the drivers against whom I competed from 2001 to 2003,” said the Dutchman, who drives a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3. “Seeing him again will be great. I hope we have a good weekend, because the Lausitzring is one of the circuits that really suit the Nissan.”
Rahel Frey (31, YACO Racing) is one of two lady drivers in the ADAC GT Masters. She also drove in the DTM in 2011 and 2012 and now races an Audi R8 LMS like Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky (24, S). Mikaela has not had any DTM experience, but her grandfather, Freddy Kottulinsky, lined up in the series in 1987.
BWT Mücke Motorsport have no less than three former DTM drivers in their team. While ex-Formula 1 driver Markus Winkelhock and Frank Stippler (42, DEU) race an Audi R8 LMS in the Super Sports Car League, team-mate Stefan drives a Mercedes-AMG GT3 for Mücke. However, Peter Mücke’s race team, who are making their debut in this year’s ADAC GT Masters, also used to contest the DTM. The team even won Sunday’s race at the Lausitzring last year. Team Principal Peter Mücke: “The ADAC GT Masters is a real top-quality series and an exciting challenge for us. There are other race series where you can win relatively easily, but that’s not our goal. However, the bar in the ADAC GT Masters is set very high, so we’re being realistic in our first year in the ADAC GT Masters. We want to consistently achieve good results.”
Two more outfits in the ADAC GT Masters have had a successful past in the DTM, as both Mercedes-AMG outfit, ZAKSPEED, (in 1987 with Eric van de Poele) and BMW Team Schnitzer (in 1989 with Roberto Ravaglia and again in 2012 with Bruno Spengler) have won the drivers’ title. BMW Team Schnitzer are racing for the first time in the Super Sports Car League this year. The Bavarians made a brilliant start to the season at Oschersleben last month, and the driver pairing of Ricky Collard (20, GB) and Philipp Eng (27, A) head to the Lausitzring as championship leaders after winning Sunday’s race.
Source. ADAC GT Masters/Photo. ADAC Motorsport