The summer break is now over, but who will be crowned ADAC GT Masters ‘half-time’ champions at the Nürburgring this weekend (3rd – 5th August) as the season approaches its mid-point? Corvette drivers Marvin Kirchhöfer (24, DEU) and Daniel Keilwitz (28, DEU, both Callaway Competition) have the best chances of success after achieving two wins last time out in Austria, but their rivals hope to hit back hard during this fourth round of the Super Sports Car League. Live streams will also be available online at youtube.com/adac.
Key facts, Nürburgring, Nürburg, Races 7 and 8 of 14
Track length: 3.62 km
Layout: 11 turns in all (seven right-handers, four left-handers), racing in a clockwise direction
2017 winners, Race 1: Sebastian Asch/Lucas Auer (BWT Mücke Motorsport, Mercedes-AMG GT3)
2017 winners, Race 2: Markus Pommer/Kelvin van der Linde (Aust Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS)
With five different winners in the first six races in cars from four different brands, racing at the Ring this weekend should be very exciting. After securing two victories and two second places in Most and at the Red Bull Ring, Marvin Kirchhöfer and Daniel Keilwitz are the ones to beat with some 86 points in all. The two Corvette drivers are best placed to take the unofficial title of ‘half-time’ ADAC GT Masters champions in the Eifel. “Our goal is to score points and defend our championship lead,” said Kirchhöfer. “The Nürburgring doesn’t really suit our car, but we aim to make the most of it.”
Their closest rivals, on the other hand, hope to be in a position to fight for victories and podium finishes at the weekend. The favourites include Robert Renauer (33, DEU) and Mathieu Jaminet (23, F), who are in second place in the Porsche 911 GT3 R prepared by Precote Herberth Motorsport, and Markus Pommer (27, DEU) and Maximilian Götz (32, DEU, both Mann-Filter Team HTP Motorsport) in third place, who have taken one win and one third place so far in 2018. “The best result for us would obviously be another win,” said Pommer. “I secured my maiden victory in the ADAC GT Masters at the Nürburgring last year and intend to build on that success. The Mercedes-AMG has always been strong there in the past couple of seasons and won Saturday’s race at the Ring in 2017.” He feels pretty confident that fans can look forward to enjoying two thrilling races as some 35 GT3 sports cars from eight manufacturers go head-to-head: “Of all the circuits on the calendar, the Nürburgring is perhaps the one that offers the most opportunities for overtaking.”
But many local drivers from several teams based in the area also hope to finish up front, including 2016 champion Christopher Mies (29, DEU, Montaplast by Land-Motorsport). The Audi driver secured a win at the Nürburgring in the season when he won the title but is still without a podium so far in 2018. He will line up for the first time in the Eifel with new team-mate, Red Bull Formula 1 test driver Jake Dennis (23, GB). “This is my home fixture. I’ve posted more laps here at the Nürburgring than at any other circuit,” said Mies. “We expect to do well. The track suits the Audi R8 LMS and our set-up should be well-sorted this weekend.”
Team Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing are based at Niederzissen in the Eifel and have a Nürburgring specialist in their ranks with former champion Sebastian Asch, who shares a Mercedes-AMG with Luca Stolz (22, DEU): “I’ve already achieved eight podiums at the Ring in the ADAC GT Masters and won there along with Lucas Auer last year, which augurs well for the future. It’s also a home fixture for my team, Zakspeed, and I hope we can race up front again there and contend for the win.” Phoenix Racing are also based close to the Nürburgring and field two Audi R8 LMS super sports cars with drivers Max Hofer (19, AUT) and Philip Ellis (25, GB), plus Oscar Tunjo (22, COL) and Ivan Lukashevisch (27, RUS); Hofer and Ellis won a race at the season opener. Team IronForce by RING POLICE from nearby Erkelenz also hope to benefit from a home advantage and will field a Porsche 911 GT3 R with Jan-Erik Slooten (33, DEU) and Lucas Luhr (39, DEU).
There’s more top-class motorsport action happening in the Eifel apart from the ADAC GT Masters. The ADAC TCR Germany has plenty to offer with action-packed touring car racing while the ADAC Formula 4 juniors will be out to impress again at the Nürburgring after racing as support to Formula 1 at the German Grand Prix. But fans, who particularly enjoy one-make cup series will also be well catered for with the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland and the Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia. Forty-four 911s will fight for wins and podium finishes. The Renault Clio Cup Central Europe will also be very interesting to watch with its hard-fought races.
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