No Austrian driver has been able to secure victory in their ADAC GT Masters home fixture at the Red Bull Ring since 2011. Five local heroes are keen to finally bring an end to this long spell without a win in the third round of the Super Sports Car League this weekend (June 7th-9th). The squad from the Alps will be beefed up by former DTM driver Lucas Auer (24, A), who is returning to race in the series in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 prepared by Team Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing.
Auer, who is competing in the Japanese Super Formula this year as a Red Bull Junior, raced in the DTM from 2015 to 2018 and made his ADAC GT Masters debut two years ago at the Red Bull Ring. He took a win at the very next meeting at the Nürburgring. At the Red Bull Ring, he will be standing in for regular driver, Jeroen Bleekemolen (37, NL) and will share the drive in the car bearing #21 with Jimmy Eriksson (28, S), as the Dutchman is otherwise engaged in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “It didn’t take me long to think about it when I got the call from Germany and the details were quickly ironed out,” said Auer. “Now I’m just looking forward to the weekend, because at the start of the year, I would never have thought for one minute that I would now be lining up in my home race.” ADAC GT Masters series newcomer, Mick Wishofer (19, A) also drives for Team Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing. The teenager from Vienna shares the second car belonging to the well established outfit with Kelvin Snoeks (31, NL). Wishofer secured a podium in the ADAC Formula 4 last year at Spielberg and feels very confident despite having had a lot of bad luck during the first two race weekends. He does not see his lack of experience as a disadvantage: “We are well prepared and have already tested at the Red Bull Ring. We will do everything we can to achieve a good result. I already know the track from two seasons in the ADAC Formula 4 and have already posted plenty of kilometres there. We’re definitely going to see some exciting racing. I’m looking forward to having Lucas Auer as my team-mate this weekend. I think he can certainly teach me a thing or two.”
The chances of the two Austrian Porsche drivers are also good as they contest their home fixture. Newcomer Thomas Preining (20, A, Precote Herberth Motorsport) caused a sensation earlier during the season opener at Oschersleben when he managed to take a win in the Super Sports Car League at his first attempt along with defending champion Robert Renauer in the new Porsche 911 GT3 R. “My first home race in the ADAC GT Masters will, of course, be very special,” said Preining, who won an ADAC Formula 4 race at Spielberg in 2016. “We want to secure a good haul of points, but it’s not easy to say where we stand. The Red Bull Ring is very demanding even though it only has eight corners. Every little detail counts, because the gaps between drivers are always very small. Consequently, you cannot make any mistakes.” Fellow Porsche driver, Klaus Bachler (27, A, Küs Team75 Bernhard), who shares the 911 with Le Mans winner Timo Bernhard (38, GER), has the shortest route to the track of any of the five Austrians. “I get to sleep at home, as I live just 25 minutes or so from the Red Bull Ring. The races will definitely be one of the highlights of my season. I’m really looking forward to them. I think our car will suit the Red Bull Ring, so we should have a good chance. The track looks easy but has many different sides to it, which puts huge stresses on brakes, aerodynamics and mechanical grip. You never know when it might rain in Spielberg, but the new Porsche feels excellent in the wet. It’s very consistent in a variety of situations.”
Max Hofer (20, A) wants to continue on his upward trend. He’s partnering ex-champion Christopher Mies (30, GER) at Montaplast by Land-Motorsport for the first time in 2019. They achieved their first podium of the season last time out at Autodrom Most. “The races at the Red Bull Ring are always something special and I always look forward to driving in front of a home crowd. As far as I’m concerned, the ADAC GT Masters is the strongest GT3 racing series in the world. The fans will certainly see plenty of thrilling scraps.”
Source. ADAC GT Masters