After an intensely busy few weeks in the USA, the GRT Grasser Racing Team can now look forward to a well-deserved trip to seaside. Next stop after Watkins Glen is Zandvoort on the Dutch North Sea coast and the good vibes that come from renewing the chase for the 2021 ADAC GT Masters title. Rounds five and six of this year’s Super Sports Car League are due to be hosted by the Netherlands next weekend (9th – 11th July). Team principal Gottfried Grasser and his crew are aiming for a first win of the season and have therefore recruited from Italy to reinforce the squad manning their four-strong fleet of Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO cars.
Lamborghini Junior Tim Zimmermann will share the cockpit of the number 82 car with experienced pro Marco Mapelli. The Italian Lamborghini Squadra Corse factory driver is making a return to the ADAC GT Masters after a two-year absence and has the perfect CV for the Zandvoort event: in the equivalent fixture in 2018, he won the Saturday race on the legendary dunes rollercoaster in a GRT Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO.
The 33-year-old has also served the Austrian outfit well in recent weeks. In Detroit, Mapelli and partner Misha Goikhberg were runners-up in the Sprint Cup of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. On the two weekends in Watkins Glen, he handed over the seat alongside the Russian to Franck Perera and Tim Zimmermann. The latter caused a minor sensation in the 6-hour race by setting the fastest race lap, but the team unfortunately missed out on another top result in the US racing series.
In the ADAC GT Masters, GRT Grasser Racing are on a mini run of two podium finishes from the first two events, which they aim to continue or even improve on at Zandvoort. In the team standings of what now also constitutes the International German GT Championship, GRT Grasser occupy second place. Lamborghini works drivers Mirko Bortolotti and Albert Costa Balboa are also within striking distance of the leaders in the drivers’ championship. Bortolotti emphasised the duo’s title ambitions in the team’s home race at Spielberg by setting the best time in qualifying.
Circuit Park Zandvoort, which was upgraded for the return of Formula 1 in 2020, would be a highly appropriate venue for GRT Grasser Racing to pull off their first win of the season. Bortolotti matched Mapelli’s triumph of 2018 by booking pole position and converting it into the race win in 2019 when Zandvoort last hosted the ADAC GT Masters. The Italian pro and Costa Balboa in the #63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO are just one of four Grasser crews who will be vying for glory on the 4.26km circuit. Expectations will also be running high in the cockpits of the sister cars.
Zimmermann and Mapelli in the number 82 car are looking to make their mark for the first time this season after a challenging start to the campaign. Silver driver Rolf Ineichen together with Lamborghini factory driver Perera put in a brilliant performance at the Red Bull Ring, narrowly missing out on a Top Three finish. The fourth driver pairing also have a clear objective at Zandvoort: Mike David Ortmann and Clemens Schmid have been knocking on the door of the Top Ten lately and have their eyes firmly set on a first top result together.
Team Principal Gottfried Grasser: “Our trip to the USA turned out be an extreme test. Between the two events in Watkins Glen, our crew had to completely rebuild the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO within the space of two days. We would have loved to bring home another trophy, but at least we come away having boosted our self-belief. Getting the Lamborghini ready to race in such a short time was a mega achievement and impressive testimony to the strength of our teamwork. We’re looking forward to harnessing this fighting spirit and going on the attack again in the ADAC GT Masters at Zandvoort. Our season has got off to decent start, but there’s more to come. The entire crew and all of our drivers are highly motivated. In Marco, we have also brought a superb reinforcement on board, and I’m very happy that he’s back in one of our cars again. Our line-up with four Lamborghini factory drivers makes me very proud and holds out the promise of a successful weekend.”
Source. GRT Grasser Racing Team/Photo. Axel Weichert