In the run-up to the fourth fixture of the 2020 ADAC GT Masters at the Sachsenring, BWT Mücke Motorsport had to change their driver line-up: Mike Beckhusen was out with a shoulder injury, so Mike David Ortmann stepped in to take his seat in the number 25 BWT Audi R8 LMS. The 20-year-old is a familiar face in the Berlin-based outfit, having competed for them from 2017 to 2019. On his comeback, he was to share a cockpit with Igor Walilko. The driver pairing for the sister car remained unchanged, with Stefan Mücke partnering Ricardo Feller in the number 26 BWT Audi R8 LMS.
Facts about the weekend
Successful comeback: Ortmann soon adjusted to being back in the team and at the same time took on a new challenge – for the first time, he was booked to contest the Sunday qualifying session, where the standard is traditionally even higher than on Saturday. It is a factor that makes it all the more difficult for younger drivers to shine. Ortmann had to contend with the additional handicap of being forced to break off his hot lap due to a red flag. The consequence was that he was unable to qualify any higher than 25th for the Sunday race.
The second race of the weekend got off to an untidy start and was interrupted by two safety car deployments. Ortmann and Walilko nonetheless worked their way up to 18th place, only just missing out on points. They improved on their Saturday result by one position to post the best result of the season so far for the BWT Audi R8 LMS #25.
In Race 1 at the Sachsenring, they had fought their way up to 19th place after initially dropping back in the early jostling for position. Having booked 17th on the grid, Walilko had not only secured a promising position for the race but also achieved his best qualifying result so far. He scored 22.5 points in the Junior classification at the Sachsenring – more than on any previous weekend. Ortmann likewise banked 22.5 points to his account in the classification for drivers under 25 years of age.
A step in the right direction: The number 26 BWT Audi R8 LMS was certainly not lacking in pace, but it did not have the benefit of racing luck. Feller impressed on Friday with third-best practice time among the Junior and Trophy contestants. In the first qualifying session, the Swiss youngster looked set to improve on his eventual P16, but unfortunately his hot lap was ruled out because of a violation of the track limits. In Saturday’s race, he mounted a strong early charge to work his way up to tenth place, a position he then held on to until the change of drivers, despite a slow puncture.
ADAC GT Masters regulations prescribe a minimum duration of 70 seconds for the standard compulsory pit stop with driver change. This starts when the car enters the pit lane and ends when it exits. If a damaged tyre needs changing, the minimum duration is increased by ten seconds. In the highly competitive field of the Super Sports Car League, this entails considerable loss of position. Mücke came back onto the track in 21st place after the driver and tyre change. In his stint, he then proceeded to work his way up to 17th.
On Sunday, Mücke started the second race from 29th position. In a chaotic first couple of corners, a collision between two cars triggered a costly chain reaction. As several drivers braked hard, Mücke was unable to take evasive action and rear-ended the car in front of him. The number 26 BWT Audi R8 LMS was damaged so badly that a continuation of the race was out of the question. Feller’s services were not even called on, and he had to content himself with the nine points he scored in the Junior classification on Saturday.
Two weeks from now, the ADAC GT Masters ventures outside Germany for the first time in the current campaign, when the Red Bull Ring hosts the series on the weekend of 16th – 18th October. BWT Mücke Motorsport came away from the equivalent fixture last year at the Formula 1 and MotoGP race track in Austria with three points finishes.
Comments on the weekend
Stefan Mücke (BWT Audi R8 LMS #26): “The first race went great until the pit stop. Ricardo did a fantastic job and gained several positions. Ultimately, a place in the Top Ten would have been achievable. Unfortunately, the longer pit stop with tyre change set us back, and there was not a lot I could do to catch up in my stint. On Sunday, I got off the line well. Further ahead in the field, there was an accident which caused a chain reaction. The car in front of me jammed on its brakes, and I was unable to avoid hitting it. We watched the videos of the incident several times and still couldn’t identify a clear culprit. It was just pure bad luck. It was such a pity that our race was over so quickly.”
Ricardo Feller (BWT Audi R8 LMS #26): “Unfortunately, we’ve been dogged by bad luck. We had a very strong car, but I lost my best lap time in qualifying. That’s why I didn’t start as near the front as I had hoped. In the race, I got off to a great start, and in my stint I managed to advance to tenth place. Shortly before the driver change, I realised that we had a slow puncture, which dashed any prospect of going on the attack. The pit stop was extended by ten seconds because of the tyre change. It was frustrating, because the team had provided us with a great car.”
Igor Walilko (BWT Audi R8 LMS #25): “We took a step forward this weekend. We improved our pace in qualifying as well as in the races themselves. The partnership with Mike David is working out really well. We give the same feedback on the car and are pulling together in the same direction. The qualifying on Saturday was my best of the season so far. Unfortunately, the start was chaotic. I was pushed to the outside and lost a few positions. We finished 19th on Saturday and 18th on Sunday – those were the best results for the number 25 so far. We want to build on that at the Red Bull Ring.”
Mike David Ortmann (BWT Audi R8 LMS #25): “It was nice to be back with BWT Mücke Motorsport competing in the ADAC GT Masters again. Igor and I drove a couple of clean races. We steered clear of all the mayhem, which was especially important this weekend. We made progress in terms of pace, which is something we can build on. I am already looking forward to the upcoming races. Hopefully we can score points at the Red Bull Ring. We came close this weekend.”
Michael Weiss (Technical Director): “We have seen an uptick at the Sachsenring. The result in the first race was OK, considering the fact that the track with its unique layout offers very few overtaking opportunities. Mike David put in a solid performance in his first ever Sunday qualifying session. He was unlucky to be caught out by a red flag on his flying lap. Mike David and Igor drove a clean race and gained a lot of experience. We aim to build on their good performances at the Red Bull Ring in a fortnight’s time.”
Peter Mücke (Team Principal): “Without the puncture for the number 26, the first race could have had a much better outcome. It went better for our Juniors in the sister car – they achieved a good result. Stefan’s accident in the second race was unavoidable. The car in front braked very hard, and with everyone being so tightly bunched in the first few corners, there is not a lot you can do at such a moment. That spelt the end of the race for the number 26. Mike David and Igor were involved in some nice battles for position in the number 25. Generally speaking, it is difficult to overtake at the Sachsenring. Consequently, the result is definitely OK. Finally, a word about Mike Beckhusen: he injured his shoulder in a bicycle accident, so we had to look for a replacement. We all wish him a speedy recovery!”
Source. BWT Mücke Motorsport/Photo. Gruppe C Photography