The 2021 ADAC GT Masters again features a top-class field: ten title winners, plus one world champion and two World Cup winners, will line up at the opening round of this season’s German GT Championship in Oschersleben this weekend (14th to 16th May).
Heading the array of title winners are last year’s champions Michael Ammermüller (35/Rotthalmünster) and Christian Engelhart (34/Starnberg). Team-mates last year, they have gone separate ways this season and will attempt the difficult task of defending the title – something no driver has achieved in the previous 14 seasons of the ADAC GT Masters – with new partners. Ammermüller remains with last year’s championship-winning team SSR Performance and will contest his second season with the Munich-based outfit. The Bavarian is regarded as a Porsche specialist and has really caught the eye in recent years, particularly in the Swabian manufacturer’s one-make cup competitions. Ammermüller has been racing on and off in the ADAC GT Masters since 2010. Last year’s title win marked the big breakthrough for the former Red Bull Formula 1 test driver. His new team-mate is former champion Mathieu Jaminet (26/F). The Frenchman enjoyed a sensational ADAC GT Masters debut in 2017, winning the opening race in Oschersleben from pole position. He then won the title the following year. Porsche signed him up as a works driver on the back of this success, and has employed him in international races. In March, he claimed a class victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Christian Engelhart (34/Starnberg), the second part of 2020’s championship-winning duo, switched team in the winter and will now drive a Porsche 911 GT3 R for Küs Team Bernhard, the team belonging to two-time Le Mans winner and FIA WEC champion Timo Bernhard. Engelhart is one of the most successful drivers in the history of the ADAC GT Masters. Since his victorious debut at the Red Bull Ring in 2011, the Bavarian has made it onto the top step of the podium on 15 occasions. Last year, he finally got his hands on the title.
Also lining up in a 911 is Robert Renauer (36/Vierkirchen), who was crowned champion alongside Jaminet in 2018. The 36-year-old is one of the most successful Porsche customer drivers of recent years. Together with his twin brother Alfred, Renauer is also a team principal of Precote Herberth Motorsport. At the start of 2021, Renauer won the GT title in the Asian Le Mans Series. In doing so, he secured a starting place at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time.
Returning to the ADAC GT Masters is Mercedes-AMG works driver Jules Gounon (26/F). The Frenchman drove in the series in 2016 and 2017, during which time he not only claimed six race wins with Callaway Competition, but also won both the Driver title and the Pirelli Junior competition in his second season. For the past three seasons, he has lined up internationally as a Bentley works driver, winning the 12 Hours of Bathurst in 2020. This season, Gounon drives a Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo for the Zakspeed Mobil Krankenkasse Racing team.
No fewer than five former ADAC GT Masters champions will be at the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS in the 2021 German GT Championship. In new signings Sebastian Asch (34/Ammerbuch) and Daniel Keilwitz (31/Villingen-Schwenningen), Aust Motorsport has acquired the services of two of the most influential drivers in the history of the series. Bitter rivals for the title on several occasions, they will now share a car for the first time. Asch has been racing in the series since 2008 and, with 177 races to his name, is the record starter in the ADAC GT Masters. The Swabian has twice won the championship: in 2012, finishing just ahead of Keilwitz in second place, and 2015. As such, the winner of ten races is also one of just two drivers to have won the championship twice. His team-mate Keilwitz is best-known for his seasons with Callaway Competition. His record: 22 race wins – more than any other driver – and the title in 2013.
Also among the most experienced men in the field is Audi Sport driver Christopher Haase (33/Kulmbach). The man from Kulmbach was involved in the very first ADAC GT masters race in 2007, and won the title in that inaugural season. Last year, he claimed his twelfth race win in the championship at the Lausitzring. In the second Montaplast by Land-Motorsport car is another driver from the Audi Sport squad: Christopher Mies (31/Heiligenhaus) is contesting his sixth season with the team from the Westerwald region, with whom he was crowned champion in 2016.
Rounding off the quintet of champions in the Audi R8 LMS is Patric Niederhauser (29/CH). The Swiss won the title in 2019 and has been an Audi driver since last year. This season, he is at the wheel for Phoenix Racing in the German GT Championship for the first time.
As well as the ADAC GT Masters champions, the field also includes more renowned drivers, who have also won prestigious titles. For example, former Formula 1 driver Markus Winkelhock (40/Berglen-Steinach, Car Collection Motorsport) won the FIA GT1 World Championship, and Lamborghini works driver Mirko Bortolotti (31/I, GRT Grasser Racing Team) was crowned Formula 2 champion. Mercedes-AMG drivers Maro Engel (35/Monte Carlo, Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT) and Raffaele Marciello (26/I, Mann-Filter Team Landgraf – HTP/WWR) were victorious in the FIA GT World Cup. In total, 29 of the registered drivers – that is roughly half the field – have already won at least one race in the ADAC GT Masters.
Source. ADAC GT Masters