The ADAC GT Masters passes another milestone next weekend (16th – 18th October) when the Red Bull Ring in Austria hosts the 100th event and the 200th race on Sunday. The ‘Super Sports Car League’ was inaugurated in 2007 and is now considered to be one of the world’s leading GT series. The ADAC recognised the potential of the GT3 class as soon as it was introduced 14 years ago, and the ADAC GT Masters is now the longest-running series in the world based on this successful concept. SPORT1 will be showing both races from the Red Bull Ring, with live coverage on Saturday and Sunday commencing at 13:00 CEST.
“The ADAC GT Masters has developed strongly in recent years,” said ADAC Sports President Hermann Tomczyk looking forward to the 200th race. “There is now hardly a single GT driver who would spurn the chance to compete in the ADAC GT Masters and challenge for the title. Consequently, the series has established a reputation for being highly competitive and of a high quality standard. The driver line-up is so strong because of the teams who have remained loyal to us over the years and their ability to recruit these top drivers. One of the key ingredients of success for the ADAC GT Masters, apart from the spectator-friendly concept, which means that we bring motorsport as close as possible to the fans, is focusing on the needs of the teams. We have designed the series in such a way that fans can experience it up close and teams find it an attractive environment in which to operate.”
The success story of the ADAC GT Masters began on 8th June 2007 at the Nürburgring. Christopher Haase, a relative unknown at that time, booked pole position for his Lamborghini Gallardo and, partnered by ex-Formula 1 Ferrari driver Gianni Morbidelli, went on to win the inaugural race and the title. For the Bavarian, this victory was the first in an illustrious career which has included triumphs in the 24-hour classics at the Nürburgring and in Spa. He will also be there on the grid for the 200th race on Sunday as one of numerous drivers for whom the ADAC GT Masters was the springboard to a career as a professional racer. René Rast was promoted by Audi to the then Le Mans programme after his 2014 title, and factory cockpits were also the reward for Le Mans winner Nick Tandy and former ADAC GT Masters champion Maximilian Götz. Connor De Phillippi, Jules Gounon and Sheldon van der Linde also secured a works contract following their victories in the Pirelli Junior classification of the ADAC GT Masters in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively.
The ADAC GT Masters has been thrilling its fans for many years by virtue of the sheer variety of super sports cars, the talent of its top drivers and professionalism of its teams. In the 2020 season, more than half of the 70 or so contestants are full-time professionals, most of them contracted to major manufacturers. The 13 ex-Formula 1 drivers also testify to the standard of competition in the ADAC GT Masters. They include Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Bernd Schneider, Markus Winkelhock, Karl Wendlinger and Jan Lammers. The GT series has also proved to be highly attractive for stars from other disciplines: ski jumping legend Sven Hannawald even made it onto the podium, and six-time rally world champion Sébastien Ogier also did well, finishing eighth on his 2014 guest appearance in an Audi.
Over the course of the 99 events held so far, the ADAC GT Masters has established itself as the most important platform for the fostering of junior talent in Germany. The ADAC Formula 4, ADAC TCR Germany, ADAC GT4 Germany and the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland series, which are held within the overall framework of the ADAC GT Masters race weekends, provide talented youngsters with the ideal framework for further development. Talents for Formula 1 as Lando Norris and Mick Schumacher came from ADAC Formula 4, and no fewer than eight of the ten top drivers in the current Pirelli Junior classification of the ADAC GT Masters learned their trade in ADAC Formula 4.
Since the series made its debut, one of its trademarks has been brand diversity, with 34 different models from 19 manufacturers having appeared on the grid to date. This year, the field comprises more than 30 super sports cars from seven manufacturers, packing a grand total of around 18,000 horsepower between them. The most successful model in the Super Sports Car League is the first-generation Audi R8 LMS. The 26 race wins posted by the 2009 version of the car and the 17 for the successor model make Audi the most victorious brand in the ADAC GT Masters. The sports car with the four rings on its grille has been engaged in a long-term duel with its Callaway Competition neighbours who build their Corvette in the immediate vicinity of the R8 production facility at Heilbronn. Callaway Competition are the longest-serving and most successful racing team in the ADAC GT Masters with a tally of 34 victories to date.
The ADAC GT Masters has long been a global trademark; last year, 52 TV channels provided coverage of the series in 182 countries.
Even before the 200th race, the ADAC GT Masters has already set a course for the 15th season in 2021. The series will have its prestige further enhanced by being given the additional status of ‘International German GT Championship’. Hermann Tomczyk: “I hope that the ADAC GT Masters will maintain the same high level over the course of the next 200 races. That’s going to take a lot of hard work, because we are always asking ourselves how we can further improve what we have achieved to date. We are starting from a solid basis with the ADAC GT Masters, and we can look to the future with confidence.”
Source. ADAC GT Masters