A newcomer, with a familiar name in the background: In ZVO Racing, a new team will be making its debut in the German GT Championship and ADAC GT4 in 2022. We take a look behind the scenes at the racing team from the Rhineland-Palatinate, which will run Mercedes-AMG race cars in both series.
The team, which will officially be known as “Drago Racing Team ZVO”, was launched by Philipp Zakowski (35), until recently one of the managing directors at Zakspeed, and former DTM race winner Jörg van Ommen (59). “I decided to do something new and got in touch with Jörg. We have known each other since I was a boy, as our parents are friends. Jörg also drove for Zakspeed in the 1990s, and I later drove in his karting series.”
Van Ommen has had his own racing team JvO Autosport since 2005 and also made a name for himself organising events. “We last worked together last winter, when we took on some races for Zakspeed due to scheduling clashes.” It is from this basis that ZVO Racing was formed. “I would not have done the ADAC GT Masters alone,” says van Ommen. “I am of the older generation, but the younger generation has to be involved in that kind of project. That is where Philipp is exactly the right man.” The team headquarters remains Hangar Zero at Mendig Air Base, which was already home to JvO Autosport. “The hangar is ideal and one of our unique selling points,” says van Ommen. “We can organise events there, and the adjoining test track allows us to offer demonstrations and taxi rides, as well as roll-outs.”
ZVO Racing focuses on the ADAC GT Masters platform
The two team principals decided on the ADAC GT Masters platform as their area of activity – an easy decision for Zakowski: “I know the ADAC series very well from recent years. The format is right for us and they are an ideal platform for partners and sponsors. As such, this was really the only option for us.” The issue of sustainability also plays an important role. Zakowski: “I believe the ADAC is ahead of other racing series in that regard. For example, we find the concept of the “Bottle-Free Zone”, which was developed together with BWT, a very good one. We want to build on this and get involved in the topic of sustainability ourselves. We have set aside a relatively large budget for this purpose. We want to race in a way that allows us to offset our CO2 in 2022.”
Due to the early start to the project, ZVO Racing is already well into its preparations for 2022. “Thanks to our main sponsor Georg Haub and his companies, we were able to finalise our plans at an early point in proceedings. Without him, this project would not be possible. We now have a full team, every position is occupied,” says Zakowski. “We have mechanics who have been working in GT racing for ten years, and we are also well positioned on the engineer side.”
Last week, the team collected its cars for the coming season from AMG in Affalterbach. “Running Mercedes-AMG cars was a logical step,” Zakowski continues. “I have been working with Mercedes-AMG for many years and have good contacts there. The cars are competitive at every circuit, and the way they are built makes them very safe. They are now being prepared meticulously,” says Zakowski. “With our GT4 team, we want to spend a few days testing in Portimão before Christmas. For the GT3 car, the first test will realistically be towards the end of January or start of February. We want to do several days in a row in southern Europe, and run through the scenario of a full race weekend – from assembling the garage to race simulations, including pit stops.”
The plan is to run one car in each of the ADAC GT Masters and ADAC GT4 Germany series, as well as entering the GT4 European Series. While the driver line-up for the German GT Championship is yet to be announced, Gabriela Jilkova and Robert Haub will be behind the wheel in ADAC GT4 Germany. “We know that, in the ADAC GT Masters, we are entering the Premier League of GT3 cars. We are approaching it with humility, but want to compete at the front. Otherwise, all the effort we are putting in is for nothing. We also want to produce some highlights in ADAC GT4 Germany. In Gabi and Robert we have two strong drivers. Gabi is the fastest female racing driver I have ever seen,” says Zakowski confidently.
While Zakowski has been active in the ADAC GT Masters in recent years, Jörg van Ommen is making his comeback in the series: In 2008, JvO Autosport made one guest appearance at the Nürburgring with a Cup Porsche. One of the drivers back then was the new German GT Champion, Christopher Mies.
Source. ADAC GT Masters