Christopher Mies (32/Düsseldorf) was crowned ADAC GT Masters champion in 2016 and still has a chance of claiming another title this season. Approaching the fourth of seven race weekends in the German GT Championship at the Lausitzring (10th–12th September), he is in third place in the standings with his team-mate Ricardo Feller (21/CH). The German-Swiss duo is competing in an Audi R8 LMS from Montaplast by Land-Motorsport. Christopher Mies is in his sixth straight season in the ADAC GT Masters with the racing team from the Westerwald.
Mr. Mies, you are in a promising position in the battle for the ADAC GT Masters title and are one of the top championship favourites. Why are things going so much better for you than in past years?
“For one thing, I have a real top team-mate this year in Ricardo Feller. I feel that is a decisive factor – a good, harmonious combination of drivers. It is a partnership of equals, we push each other on and really drive one another. It is also true to say that 2020 was anything but an easy year, with the Coronavirus pandemic. This meant that Montaplast by Land-Motorsport worked harder than ever over the winter. So, we are definitely better prepared in the 2021 season. Overall, our setup is better, as a team and in terms of the combination of drivers.”
How do you rate Ricardo Feller as a driver?
“Incredibly strong! I have known ‘Ricky’ since 2017. Back then, he was sixteen years old and the youngest ever driver in the ADAC GT Masters at the time. We then drove together for Land-Motorsport for the first time in the IMSA in America. He was already very strong then and has progressed quickly since then. Overall, he is a very complete, mature racing driver.”
Do you share any great similarities as racing drivers?
“We are similar inasmuch as we both prefer the same driving style.”
What does that mean specifically?
“If I were to tell you, I’d be revealing all our tricks.”
Not if you were just to reveal what you look for during setup.
“OK, well, I’ll say this much: Neither of us like understeer.”
You have had your ups and downs but this is now your sixth season in the ADAC GT Masters for Montaplast by Land-Motorsport. No other driver in the German GT Championship has remained loyal to one team for such a long time. What do you appreciate most about the team?
“I just feel at home with Montaplast by Land-Motorsport. It is a good fit on a personal level and in technical terms. The personal aspect is particularly important for my well-being. I prefer to drive a car that might not be technically perfect, for a team that gets it right on a personal level, rather than the other way around. We have had times when things have not gone so well, but I have never doubted the team and never felt uneasy. I can speak freely and discuss anything with team founder Wolfgang Land, team principal Christian Land, head of technology Achim Becker, or the mechanics.”
What is special about the racing team?
“Montaplast by Land-Motorsport takes care of its drivers very well. They are a very professional and highly-qualified top team, not just during driver preparations and the races themselves. They also pay attention to other aspects that are important for top performances in the cockpit: the right nutrition, the right ways to find some calm and a take a break between training sessions and racing stints. All that is important for my well-being. Especially as I am already a little bit older …”
Is it more important to have continuity in the team, or to retain the same driving team-mate?
“Of course, I don’t have much influence over who my team-mate is in motor racing. There are a lot of factors involved that I cannot control.”
Would you like to still be sharing a car with Ricardo Feller after 2021?
“Of course I would! But I assume that ‘Rocky’ will soon get a contract as a works driver, thanks to his outstanding performances. This lad really should get a works driver contract, for sure! But then it’s doubtful whether we would both be driving for one and the same team.”
What can you achieve in the battle for the ADAC GT Masters title?
“The title is wide open. It depends on recording good results and scoring as many points as possible. And it’s about staying calm and not going nuts. Then things have their own momentum.”
How useful are the experiences you gained in previous title battles?
“Especially when the finale gets closer, your experience helps you to stay calm and relaxed. I know what it feels like to be under exceptional pressure as the season draws to a close.”
For drivers, what makes the difference at the end of the ADAC GT Masters season?
“Primarily, it is about being able to apply all your skills under this heightened pressure. When the pressure increases, you are generally more tense, more nervous, and it’s easier for mistakes to get made. That’s why you have to keep your emotions in check and just do your job. That sounds easier than it is, as a special situation like the ADAC GT Masters season finale plays on your mind more than usual and makes it more difficult to focus. I think that if you are consciously aware of that, rather than just knowing it, it is easier to do it.”
You have something to celebrate in 2021 in any case: you have been involved in motor racing for exactly 20 years. How have you developed as a racing driver since 2001?
“I have matured as a person and as a racing driver in this period. Back then, I was a spiky little hothead. I always looked up to Uwe Alzen. I still see him as a really great guy, a wonderful person. Uwe the racing driver often picked fights with his superiors and his team-mates. I used to think that was cool and exciting. But I have learned something: acting like that holds you back a bit in motor racing. I think I have found a pretty good mix. I stay honest and true, but also pay attention to that and I know my limits.”
Source. ADAC GT Masters