The winter break is almost over. In eight weeks, BWT Mücke Motorsport will be embarking on their third season in the ADAC GT Masters. In the past two years, the illustrious Berlin-based outfit has notched up three race wins and a tally of six podium finishes. In the highly competitive Super Sports Car League, which is one of the world’s leading GT series, the team has raised its ambitions for the 2019 campaign.
The evolutionary stage of the Audi R8 LMS is about to see action in the ADAC GT Masters for the first time. BWT Mücke Motorsport gave a debut to the upgrade in the 24 Hours of Dubai earlier this year, finishing in fifth place. As the 2019 season approaches with new race calendar, rules and scoring system, the team has opted for continuity: five of the six drivers from last year will crew the three BWT Mücke Motorsport Audi R8 LMSs.
Experience combined with youth in the number 26 BWT Audi R8 LMS
Since making the move to the ADAC GT Masters, Stefan Mücke has been an integral part of the driver squad. Last year, the Ford factory driver, who also competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship, celebrated a maiden victory in the Super Sports Car League. At Autodrom Most, he scored a first ever race victory for one of the team’s Audis, at the same time becoming the first ADAC GT Masters winner at this new series venue.
Mücke’s co-driver for 2019, Nikolaj Rogivue, is expected to benefit from his partner’s huge ambition and extensive experience. Aged just 22, Rogivue is one of the youngest contestants in the field, despite being on the verge of his third season. The Swiss driver has already demonstrated his natural speed with two podium finishes in a highly competitive ADAC GT Masters field. Together with Stefan Mücke, Rogivue has set his sights on the title in the Junior (under-25s) class and on springing the occasional surprise result in the general classification.
Familiar pairing in a new guise driving the number 25 BWT Audi R8 LMS
Two well-known names will once again be sharing a BWT Mücke Motorsport cockpit in 2019: Germany’s Christopher Haase and Switzerland’s Jeffrey Schmidt will be driving the number 25 BWT Audi R8 LMS. Haase counts as one of the true veterans of the ADAC GT Masters. He claimed the first ever series title in 2007, scoring eleven wins in the process, which puts him in third place on the all-time leaderboard.
Schmidt is by no means a series newcomer either. In 2018, the BWT Mücke Motorsport driver booked the first ever pole position at Most which was making its debut on the ADAC GT Masters itinerary. He and Stefan Mücke then converted their pole into a race win. This particular triumph even put the 24 year-old into second place in the championship for a while. An ideal partnership: Haase and Schmidt shared a cockpit in the 2017 season and are already perfectly attuned to each other.
Never change a winning team: the number 24 kfzteile24 Audi R8 LMS
It’s a maxim that certainly applies in the case of Audi Sport driver Markus Winkelhock and his co-driver Mike David Ortmann. The two Germans shared an orange-liveried car in 2018, making one podium appearance in the general classification and securing one win for Ortmann in the Junior stakes. The target for this season is clear: together, they aim to put Ortmann top of the Junior standings and to place the number 24 Audi somewhere among the front-runners.
Both drivers exemplify the highly successful youth policy of BWT Mücke Motorsport. Between 2001 and 2003, Winkelhock contested various Formula 3 championships as a member of the squad. He now ranks among the world’s most successful GT endurance drivers, having claimed no fewer than five wins in the legendary Nürburgring 24-hour race and at Spa-Francorchamps. Ortmann also started his racing career with the team, contesting the 2015 ADAC Formula 4. After two successful years in the series, during which he notched up three wins and made ten podium finishes, he made the step up to the ADAC GT Masters with BWT Mücke Motorsport.
Key facts about the 2019 ADAC GT Masters at a glance
As usual, the season starts on the last weekend of April at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. There then follow three fixtures outside Germany – Autodrom Most (Czech Republic), the Red Bull Ring (Austria) and Circuit Zandvoort (Netherlands). In midsummer, the entourage travels to the Nürburgring and from there on to Hockenheim. This year’s grand finale will take place on the weekend of 27th – 29th September at the Sachsenring. This is a departure from tradition, as the last round of the campaign has traditionally been hosted by the Hockenheimring.
Also new is the points scoring system. With more than 30 supercars lining up on the grid for the 14 races in 2019, the ADAC has decided to restructure the points ladder. The first 15 cars across the finish line will now score championship points, which promises to make the season even more exciting than previous ones. There has also been an adjustment to the handicap weights, the purpose of which is to make a level playing field. Whereas two pro drivers previously had to take an extra 30 kilos of ballast on board, this has now been reduced to 20.
Comments about the upcoming season
Michael Weiss (Technical Director): “The season opener in Dubai did not go 100 percent as we had hoped, which has sharpened our focus on our third season in the ADAC GT Masters. We have already gained experience with the product update from Audi and will consolidate this with further testing. At the moment, our overall impression is positive. Now we have to wait and see how the balance of performance turns out and where the Audi R8 LMS features in the ranking. In my opinion, Dubai worked out mainly OK for us. With our continuity of drivers, we are convinced that we can score points and have a say in the championship. The sense of anticipation is immense.”
Matthias Kieper (PR & Team Management): “All good things come in threes! This is our strong belief as we embark on our third season in the ADAC GT Masters, with the championship firmly in our sights. The cars are optimally prepared, our driver pairings give us hope of top results, and our team setup is outstanding. We’ve already finished third in the team championship before, and we are now aiming to go even higher. Obviously, we can’t afford to underestimate the strength of the opposition which includes numerous factory drivers from Audi and other brands, but we have no reason to be overly modest about our own package. Special thanks go to our title sponsor BWT and also to our partner kfzteile24 for the loyalty they have shown as we enter our third season and without whom these successes would not have been possible.”
Peter Mücke (Team Principal): “The ADAC GT Masters is getting to be a tougher nut to crack every year. You should never underestimate the opposition or set your expectations unrealistically high. It all depends on the circumstances on the day and also on the whim of the racing gods. Anyway, we are well prepared and have continuity in our squad of six top drivers, which should of course work to our benefit. We all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and everyone is perfectly attuned to each other. Nevertheless, I’m reluctant to make any forecasts because, in the ADAC GT Masters, the outcome depends on the moment. Even if we have a first-class car and first-class drivers, we cannot automatically assume that we are going to win. For me, the ADAC GT Masters is the most competitive GT series in the world. But every silver lining has a cloud. It is doubtful how long this series can survive, as it keeps getting more and more expensive. There is a lack of support from the series organiser, the manufacturers and also the sponsors. The teams themselves can no longer bear the costs alone. It’s time to take some tough decisions about the future.”
Source. BWT Mücke Motorsport