Four races, four winners. The ADAC GT Masters has been nothing if not varied so far this season. The Super Sports Car League will line up at the Red Bull Ring in Austria for their first international meeting of the year this weekend (9th – 11th June). The big question in the run-up to this season’s third race – will we again see new faces finishing on the top rung of the podium at the fastest circuit on the calendar? Attention too will be focused on DTM championship leader Lucas Auer (22, A, BWT Mücke Motorsport) making his ADAC GT Masters debut.
Key facts, Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Races 5 and 6 of 14
Track length: 4.326 km
Layout: Nine turns (seven right-handers, two left turns), racing in a clockwise direction
Winners 2016, Race 1: David Jahn & Kévin Estre (KÜS Team75 Bernhard, Porsche 911 GT3 R)
Winners 2016, Race 2: Jules Gounon & Daniel Keilwitz (Callaway Competition, Corvette C7 GT3-R)
Porsche drivers Robert Renauer (32, DEU) and Sven Müller (25, DEU, both Precote Herberth Motorsport) lead the standings ahead of the meeting at the weekend. The pair won the race on Saturday at the Lausitzring. “We are well placed and have already tested at the Red Bull Ring,” said Porsche works driver Müller. “We hope to be back on the podium and defend our lead in the standings. The circuit should suit the 911 GT3 R, but I expect all the cars will be tightly bunched.” With two wins so far, Porsche are the most successful brand in the 2017 ADAC GT Masters. Mathieu Jaminet (22, F) and Michael Ammermüller (31, DEU, both KÜS Team75 Bernhard), took the first win of the year in the season opener at Oschersleben.
Ezequiel Perez Companc (22, RA) and Mirko Bortolotti (27, I) are only six points behind Renauer and Müller in second place in the standings. Starting from pole position in their Lamborghini Huracán GT3, they managed to achieve a lights-to-flag victory at the Lausitzring in Sunday’s race. They line up for GRT Grasser Racing, whose headquarters are located just a few kilometres away from the Red Bull Ring in Knittelfeld. The outfit secured the Huracán’s maiden win in the ADAC GT Masters on its first time out, racing at the Austrian grand prix circuit back in 2015.
Ricky Collard (20, GB) and Philipp Eng (27, A, both BMW Team Schnitzer) have also won once in their BMW M6 GT3 during the current season. They were the ones to beat in Sunday’s race at Oschersleben. Apart from Eng, four more Austrians will be lining up for their home race at the Red Bull Ring – DTM championship leader Lucas Auer, who will be making his ADAC GT Masters debut in the Mercedes-AMG, Porsche driver Klaus Bachler (25, Schütz Motorsport), Christopher Höher (20, Audi Sport racing academy) and Lamborghini driver Norbert Siedler (34, Team HB Racing).
The Corvette C7 GT3-R of Jules Gounon (22, F) and Daniel Keilwitz (27, DEU, both Callaway Competition) is also one of the top favourites at the circuit in the Alps. They are currently third in the standings and might just be able to continue the series of wins by different drivers. The pair won Sunday’s race last year, while Keilwitz has won five of the previous twelve ADAC GT Masters races staged at the 4.326-kilometre circuit. The 2013 ADAC GT Masters champion feels very confident again this year: “The Red Bull Ring is the circuit on the calendar that best suits the Corvette. We now want to secure our first win of the season and rack up vital points towards the championship. I always look forward to the races at the Red Bull Ring every year. The track’s location is really great, as is the layout with its many variations in height. Driving there is a lot of fun.”
The ADAC GT Masters title defenders, Connor De Phillippi (23, USA) and Christopher Mies (28, DEU, both Montaplast by Land Motorsport), are very keen to do well as they head to Austria. They won the ADAC Zurich 24-hour race at the Nürburgring towards the end of May along with Kelvin van der Linde (20, ZA, Aust Motorsport) and Markus Winkelhock (36, DEU). However, Audi driver Mies doesn’t much rate their chances at the Red Bull Ring: “The track’s characteristics don’t really suit us, but we still intend to rack up the points. Even so, it would be very surprising if we ended up in the Top Five. Nevertheless, the circuit is one of the best on the calendar in my opinion.”
Just six points cover the Top Four in the standings for junior drivers under 25 after this season’s first four races. Ricky Collard on 59 points is four points up on Mercedes driver Luca Stolz (21, DEU, Mercedes-AMG Team ZAKSPEED), followed by Audi driver Jeffrey Schmidt (23, CH, Montaplast by Land Motorsport) on 54 and Ezequiel Perez Companc with 53.
Thrilling entertainment on all three days
A very full programme is in store for fans at the Red Bull Ring with some 13 races, featuring the ADAC GT Masters, the ADAC Formula 4, the ADAC TCR Germany, the Porsche Carrera Cup, the GT4 European Series and the Trofeo Abarth Europe. Away from the action out on track, fans will also be able to take in the atmosphere in the pits during the Pit Walk on Saturday and Sunday (12.00pm – 12.30pm). On Saturday from 3.45pm to 4.15pm, drivers will attend a ‘Meet the Drivers’ session on the covered terrace at Bull’s Lane’s to sign autographs and take selfies.
Source. ADAC GT Masters/Photo.Mercedes