WEC world champion and Le Mans winner Timo Bernhard (36, GER), DTM champion Timo Scheider (39, GER) and GT1 world champion Lucas Luhr (38, GER) are just a few of the stars who will be making their ADAC GT Masters debut this weekend (13th – 15th April). The line-up will also include two new spectacular GT cars – the Ferrari 488 GT3 and the Honda NSX GT3. They will come up against the established names of the Super Sports Car League when the 2018 campaign gets underway at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. So which driver pairing and which of the eight brands in the field will get their season off to the perfect start? They can be watched online via the livestreams on sport1.de, adac.de/motorsport and youtube.com/adac.
Key facts, Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, Oschersleben, Rounds 1 and 2 of 14
Track length: 3,667 metres
Layout: 14 turns (seven right, seven left), driven clockwise
Winners 2017, Race 1: Mathieu Jaminet and Michael Ammermüller (KÜS Team75 Bernhard, Porsche 911 GT3 R)
Winners 2017, Race 2: Ricky Collard and Philipp Eng (BMW Team Schnitzer, BMW M6 GT3)
This weekend, the lights on the gantry at Oschersleben will be going out to signal the start of Season 12 of the ADAC GT Masters. At stake is the crown of reigning champion Jules Gounon (23, FRA). With no fewer than 36 experienced driver pairings in GT3 sports cars sporting the badges of Audi, BMW, Corvette, (returnee) Ferrari, (debutant) Honda, Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche, it promises to be an exciting season. Seven former ADAC GT Masters champions will be vying with high-calibre opponents, including some well-known newcomers who will be competing in the series for the first time.
Timo Bernhard travels to the Motorsport Arena as a two-time FIA WEC champion and Le Mans winner (2015 and 2017). It will be the first time that the sports car star has driven for his own team, KÜS Team75 Bernhard. He will be sharing the cockpit of a Porsche 911 GT3 R with Porsche works driver Kévin Estre (29, FRA). A second big name about to make his debut in Oschersleben is former DTM champion (2008 and 2009) Timo Scheider. He will be partnering BMW Motorsport Junior Mikkel Jensen (23, DK) in a BMW M6 GT3. “I’m thrilled to be back racing regularly in Germany and contesting my first championship with BMW and BMW Team Schnitzer,” said Scheider.
2011 FIA GT1 world champion Lucas Luhr will also drive a Porsche 911 GT3 R as he makes his ADAC GT Masters debut. The two-time winner of the ADAC Zurich 24 race is co-driver to Jan-Erik Slooten (33, GER), team principal of the new IronForce by RING POLICE outfit which has the backing of JP Kraemer. The YouTube star will be there at the trackside cheering on his team.
Among the cars on the 2018 ADAC GT Masters grid will be a couple of spectacular newcomers. Making its series debut at Oschersleben is the Ferrari 488 GT3. The Cavallino Rampante returns to the Super Sports Car League for the first time since 2012 with a 488 entered by HB Racing and driven by former champion Luca Ludwig (29, GER) and Dominik Schwager (41, GER). Ludwig, who has already lifted four winner’s trophies at Oschersleben, is looking forward to the start of the season: “For me, the opening weekend is something special. Obviously, because I’m competing in the Ferrari for the first time, with a new team and team-mate, but also because the long winter break is over. I am looking forward to seeing where we stand. I think we’ll be fine, but probably not quite up there at the top. The Ferrari drives very differently from the Mercedes-AMG I was in last year. I’ll therefore have to adjust. For example, in the 488, the window in which you’re really fast is very narrow. So as a driver, you have to get everything spot on.”
Also new to the ADAC GT Masters are the two Honda NSX GT3s entered by the local Oschersleben outfit, Honda Team Schubert Motorsport. Team manager Torsten Schubert is looking forward to the European premiere of the GT sports car: “This coming race weekend is going to be a great challenge. The last time we were here was for the tests, and we found out a lot about the setup, so I’m hoping that we’ll be somewhere in the midfield. Our two young drivers, Christopher Dreyspring and Giorgio Maggi, will be aiming to score as many points as possible in the Pirelli Junior classification.”
There will be a comprehensive support programme for fans at Oschersleben. ADAC Formula 4, ADAC TCR Germany, the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany and the Renault Clio Cup Central Europe will also be staging their first races of the season there. The pit walk on Saturday (10:15 – 10:45) and on Sunday (10:45 – 11:15) is an opportunity for spectators to collect autographs and get a glimpse behind the scenes of the ADAC GT Masters. There will also be a Meet the Drivers session in front of the ADAC hospitality suite on Saturday.
Calendar for the 2018 ADAC GT Masters
13/04/18 – 15/04/18 Motorsport Arena Oschersleben
27/04/18 – 29/04/18 Autodrom Most (CZ)
08/06/18 – 10/06/18 Red Bull Ring (AUT)
03/08/18 – 05/08/18 Nürburgring
17/08/18 – 19/08/18 Circuit Zandvoort (NL)
07/09/18 – 09/09/18 Sachsenring
21/09/18 – 23/09/18 Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg
Source. ADAC GT Masters/Photo. ADAC Motorsport