The countdown is on to the most exciting climax to the season in ADAC GT Masters history. In the grand finale to the 2018 championship at Hockenheim next weekend (21st – 23rd September), 15 title aspirants driving supercars sporting six different manufacturers’ badges will deliver a real thriller. With 50 points up for grabs, the top four in the overall standings are separated by only 17.
– Favourites: The points cushion of championship leaders Robert Renauer and Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche) on their closest rivals Markus Pommer and Maximilian Götz (Mercedes-AMG) is just four points. The third-placed Audi duo of Sheldon and Kelvin van der Linde are only 13 points behind the leaders, with fourth-placed Marvin Kirchhöfer and Daniel Keilwitz (Corvette) 17 adrift.
– Variety: Audi, BMW, Corvette, Mercedes-AMG, Lamborghini and Porsche teams are all in with a chance of clinching the championship at Hockenheim.
– Dramatic: In the history of the ADAC GT Masters series to date, the title chase has always remained open until the last race weekend. Hockenheim will be hosting the conclusion to the campaign for the eighth year in a row. In recent years, the title was twice decided on Saturday, but on the other five occasions, it was not until Sunday that matters were settled.
– Family business: Sheldon and Kelvin van der Linde could become the first brothers to secure the Super Sports Car League title. Sheldon van der Linde also leads the Pirelli Junior classification.
– Experience counts: Of the 15 title contenders, three have already won the championship in previous years – Maximilian Götz (2012), Daniel Keilwitz (2013) and Kelvin van der Linde (2014).
– Finely balanced: The ADAC GT Masters has been a consistently close-run affair throughout 2018. In the twelve races so far, there have been eleven different winning pairings driving five different makes of car. With 22 different drivers now having won at least one race, the record of 2015 has already been broken. In that year, however, there were eight events and therefore two more races than this season.
– By the dozen: There has been even more variety in terms of pole positions and fastest race laps. Each qualifying session has produced a different pole-sitter, and twelve different drivers have clocked the fastest lap of the race.
– Marvin Kirchhöfer and Daniel Keilwitz are the only pairing to have won two races this season. Thanks to their clean sweep at the Red Bull Ring, they have also spent more laps in the lead than anyone else (66).
– Routine matter: For the fourth time since 2012, Daniel Keilwitz goes into the final weekend with chances of taking the title still intact. The 2013 champion assisted co-driver Jules Gounon to the title last year and himself took the runner-up spot.
– Quartet of titles at stake: In addition to the drivers’ championship, the outcomes of the team championship, the Pirelli Junior class and the Pirelli Trophy class will also be decided at Hockenheim.
– Well placed: If the points advantage after the Saturday race is 25 or more, Mann-Filter Team HTP will have secured the team title with one race still to go.
– Speedy Swiss: Audi driver Remo Lips is poised to win the Pirelli Trophy (amateurs) class for the third time in a row. The only opponent who can still catch him is Porsche driver Jan-Erik Slooten.
– Best track record: The Audi brand has already won five times at Hockenheim, more than any other manufacturer in the ADAC GT Masters.
– The winning touch: No one has stood on the top rung of the podium at Hockenheim as often as title contenders Daniel Keilwitz and Dominik Schwager. They have each won there three times.
– Woman power: Both of the female contestants in the current ADAC GT Masters line-up have a win at Hockenheim to their credit – Claudia Hürtgen in 2012, Rahel Frey in 2015
– Variety: Nine different manufacturers have won at Hockenheim over the years – Audi, BMW, BMW Alpina, Corvette, Ferrari, Ford, Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche.
– Home race: Several teams are based within a 100km radius of Hockenheim, including AutoArenA Motorsport, Callaway Competition, RWT Racing and Team Rosberg.
– Distance: The circuit in Baden-Württemberg is 4,574 metres in length, longer than any other track on the ADAC GT Masters calendar. The highest top speeds of the season are recorded in the so called Parabolika.
– Dress rehearsal: The teams and drivers of the ADAC GT Masters have the opportunity to test out their cars on the Hockenheimring during three sessions lasting a total of four hours on Thursday.
– Top of the timesheets: Philipp Eng, who now drives for BMW in the DTM, set a new ADAC GT Masters qualifying record at Hockenheim in 2017 with a time of 1:37.511 minutes. The fastest lap in the race itself was clocked by Lamborghini driver Christian Engelhart (1:39.428 mins) in 2017.
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