In an interview, ex-DTM star Timo Scheider (39, GER, BMW Team Schnitzer) delivers an interim summary of his debut ADAC GT Masters season. He tells us about his role as mentor to the BMW Juniors and outlines his objectives for the remaining races of the 2018 Super Sports Car League.
You have completed your first three race weekends in the ADAC GT Masters and have made two podium appearances. Could you sum up your ADAC GT Masters season so far for us? How well do you feel the adjustment process has gone?
Scheider: “I feel very much at my ease in the ADAC GT Masters. The complete package with BMW Team Schnitzer and the entire BMW crew suits me perfectly. By comparison with the DTM, I find the race weekends to be fairly relaxed occasions. But of course, just like in the DTM, my objective in the ADAC GT Masters is to be as successful as possible, so obviously working to a consistent standard has the highest priority. Though it also has to be said that, after 16 years in the DTM, I’m still having to feel my way around the GT3 car in certain situations. I’m still learning various things. But it’s good to be able to learn something new, even at this advanced stage of my career. My objective is, of course, always to be as fast as possible.”
What has surprised you most about the series?
“Definitely how well matched the field is. At Spielberg, for example, there were 29 cars within one second of each other – and that was despite there being eight different manufacturers in the line-up. That’s really impressive. It goes to show the quality of the series and of the drivers now competing in the ADAC GT Masters. There are big names from the DTM, from the sports car scene and from other series, so you’re not given an easy ride there, because the other teams and drivers are all performing at an extremely high level.”
You’re working closely with the BMW Juniors in the BMW Team Schnitzer squad. What is your specific role?
“It’s a lot of fun working with the youngsters. Although I’m operating in the capacity of mentor, we’ve also become team-mates and good friends. We’re all trying to improve performance together, both on and off the track. Whenever they ask a question, I’m happy to give an answer. The strength of our relationship is also evident from the fact that the Juniors have travelled to Sweden in a camper to watch me compete in the Rallycross World Championship. So we are more than just members of the same squad.”
Tell us a bit about Mikkel Jensen who you share the BMW M6 GT3 with. How is he doing so far?
“He is doing very well. He is very ambitious and focused. He says what he thinks, and I think that’s a very positive characteristic. In terms of speed, he is incredibly strong. He really knows how to handle a GT car at its limits. Consequently, there are some situations where I can also learn from him.”
At the beginning of August, the ADAC GT Masters season resumes at the Nürburgring. What are your expectations for the second half of the campaign?
“Going into the Spielberg weekend, we had set ourselves the target of scoring as many points as possible to boost our own title challenge. The weekend went very well for us. We are now up to fifth in the championship table and within striking distance of the top. The target I have set for us is to get into the Top Three. To get there, though, it’s going to be very important to score points on a consistent basis. If you can do that, you have a realistic chance of finishing in the Top Three. And if there is even an outside chance of ultimately taking the title, I want to go for it. I would obviously do everything in my power to win the ADAC GT Masters championship.”
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