It’s all go as the DEKRA Lausitzring prepares to host the sixth of the seven fixtures on the 2020 ADAC GT Masters calendar this coming weekend (30th October – 1st November). The previous race event at the Red Bull Ring left the title chase even wider open than before, with championship leaders Patric Niederhauser (29, CH) and Kelvin van der Linde (24, ZA, both Rutronik Racing) nursing only a one-point lead over their closest challengers, Michael Ammermüller (34, GER) and Christian Engelhart (33, GER) in the Porsche fielded by SSR Performance. The third-placed pairing of Mercedes-AMG drivers Luca Stolz (25, GER) and Maro Engel (35, Monte Carlo, both Toksport WRT) are also within striking distance.
With four races still to go, the points tallies (129, 128, 123 and 109) of the Top Four in the overall ADAC GT Masters standings suggest that the battle for the title still has plenty of drama in store. Championship leaders Patric Niederhauser and Kelvin van der Linde aim to become the first drivers ever to mount a successful defence of the ADAC GT Masters title. Their chances at the Lausitzring look promising, with fellow Audi drivers Charles Weerts (19, BEL) and Dries Vanthoor (22, BEL, both Team WRT) having won one of the two races in the season opener, which suggests the R8 LMS is a force to be reckoned with again this time. However, the cards will be reshuffled on the penultimate race weekend. Also victorious in mid-August were Luca Stolz and Maro Engel, who are running third in the championship table. Christian Engelhart and Michael Ammermüller, currently occupying the runner-up spot and winners of two previous races this season, as well as fellow Porsche drivers Robert Renauer (35, GER) and Sven Müller (28, GER, both Precote Herberth Motorsport) also ascended the Lausitzring podium in the season opener. Ex-champion Renauer and his partner Müller are currently in fourth place overall. Rounding off the quintet of prime contenders are the Lamborghini works driver duo of Franck Perera (36, FRA) and Albert Costa Balboa (30, ESP, both GRT Grasser Racing Team) on 87 points. However, with nine different winners in the ten races held so far this season, there are numerous other candidates for the top positions this weekend.
Pirelli Junior classification and Pirelli Trophy
The decisive phase in the title battle has also begun in the Junior classification of the ADAC GT Masters. Leading the standings in the run-up to the last four races is Lamborghini driver Tim Zimmermann (24, GRT Grasser Racing Team, 225 points). The German rookie and his Dutch team-mate Steijn Schothorst (26) are currently in excellent form, having booked both pole positions last time out at the Red Bull Ring. Zimmermann’s biggest threat comes from Porsche driver Jannes Fittje (21, GER, Küs Team75 Bernhard). Fittje had taken the Junior victory in the Saturday race of the opening weekend and then led the standings for five races before he was ousted by Zimmermann. Third in the classification for drivers under the age of 25 are the Audi pairing of Carrie Schreiner (22, GER) and Dennis Marschall (24, GER, both Rutronik Racing). In the Pirelli Trophy classification for amateur drivers, Elia Erhart (32, GER, EFP Car Collection by Tece) is well placed to wrap up the title early at the Lausitzring.
There will be one major difference between next weekend and the season opener, with the ADAC GT Masters being contested on the 4.57km version of the circuit – the first time that this has ever been used in the series. It is approximately one kilometre longer than the sprint configuration, although it likewise incorporates sections of the oval perimeter and the infield. The races at the weekend will go ahead without any spectators in attendance to comply with the biosecurity measures agreed between the ADAC GT Masters and the relevant authorities. There will be plenty of additional motorsport action this weekend, as the ADAC GT Masters shares the billing with the ADAC GT4 Germany, ADAC Formula 4, the ADAC TCR Germany and the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland series.
ADAC GT Masters eSports Championship powered by EnBW mobility+
Excitement is also mounting in the ADAC GT Masters eSports Championship powered by EnBW mobility+. On Saturday at 18:30 CET, the simracers will be starting their sixth race of the season on a virtual Zandvoort circuit. The current leader in the eSports series, which comes with a prize pot of EUR80,000, is the UK’s Jack Keithley (Williams Esports), who recently claimed victory number two of the season on the Red Bull Ring virtual circuit. The race will be shown live on youtube.com/adac and adac.de/motorsport.
Comments ahead of the race weekend
Patric Niederhauser (Rutronik Racing, Audi R8 LMS): “We are feeling confident about the upcoming weekend. In the season opener at the Lausitzring, things weren’t quite going for us at that stage. We hadn’t driven there with this team before. We learned a lot and gained some valuable experience, so I’m very optimistic now. I think it’s cool that we’ll be driving on a different track this time. It’s new for me, and it makes for a bit of variety. Even though we are only one point ahead, we are in with a great chance of retaining the title. Last year, we had the luxury of becoming champions in the penultimate race. This time, the title race is much tighter. That makes it extra special for all of the drivers. From now on, every point counts, and no one can afford to make mistakes. But we are all in the same boat – we all have the same pressure to cope with.”
Christian Engelhart (SSR Performance, Porsche 911 GT3 R): “Our objective hasn’t changed: we intend to take maximum points from every race. Consequently, we work hard and give our best. The fact that we will be competing on a different track layout adds a certain element of excitement and makes it more difficult to predict the outcome. We’re familiar with the Lausitzring from the start of the season, but the longer version makes a different track out of it. I myself have extremely fond memories of the Lausitzring, because it’s the only place where I have ever managed to win both races on a single ADAC GT Masters weekend – that was in 2012 when I was sharing a Porsche with Nick Tandy. However, the conditions were completely different back then, and the cars are now completely different as well. But it’s a memory that provides added motivation! I am curious to see how well we do. If you look at the standings, we are obviously in with a reasonable chance of winning the title. But it’s also incredibly close, which means we have to give our best in every race. So far, we have done well in that regard. Even where we didn’t manage to win, we have at least scored points. We will continue to give our best in the knowledge that we have the best team backing us up.”
Robert Renauer (Precote Herberth Motorsport, Porsche 911 GT3 R): “It is obviously unfortunate for us that we are not able to race at Zandvoort, as it is one of our favourite circuits and we have won there before. But things have always gone well for us at the Lausitzring, too. In almost every season so far, we have stood on the podium or even won. I am intrigued by the new track variant: it offers one or two additional overtaking opportunities and therefore guarantees a lot more racing action.”
Source. ADAC GT Masters