On 22nd and 23rd April, two 60-minute races in the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben get the new ADAC GT Masters season underway. Including the season finale at Hockenheimring on 23rd October, the prestigious sprint race championship will be in action again at seven circuits in Germany, Austria and The Netherlands. Like in the previous year, Mercedes-AMG will be represented by three Customer Racing Teams. MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF is expanding its involvement by an additional car and will be running two Mercedes-AMG GT3s in the championship in 2022. Spanish outfit Madpanda Motorsport and the newly formed Drago Racing Team ZvO will be making their respective debuts in GT Masters during the opening round in the Saxony-Anhalt region. Drago Racing Team ZvO will hit the track with two Mercedes-AMG GT3s, one of them will compete as a performance car under the name Mercedes-AMG Team ZvO.
Three race wins and nine further podium results: that was the considerable track record for the Mercedes-AMG customer sport teams at the end of their 2021 ADAC GT Masters campaign. Without any doubt, the highlight of an action-packed season was the sensational triple victory at Lausitzring that made it into the history of the brand-internal Customer Racing Programme. Eventually, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport’s achievements included third, fourth and sixth place in the drivers’ standings and fourth, fifth and sixth place in the teams’ standings.
2022 race calendar includes 14 races at seven traditional European circuits
Now, the aim is to build on these outstanding achievements as this weekend’s opening round in the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben gets the 16th ADAC GT Masters season underway. Twelve further races at six circuits in three European races will follow: round two will be held at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg in Austria (21st/22nd May), with further rounds of the “super sports car league” scheduled at Zandvoort in The Netherlands (25th/26th June), the Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit (6th/7th August), Lausitzring (20th/21st August), Sachsenring (24th/25th September) and Hockenheimring (22nd/23rd October). With regular race wins and podium results at the seven traditional circuits, the next step is to be made this year with an eye on the title. To achieve this ambitious goal, the cockpits of the five Mercedes-AMG GT3s were taken by a high-class driver line-up.
Three customer sport teams running five Mercedes-AMG GT3s in ADAC GT Masters
Newly formed during the winter, Drago Racing Team ZvO, that has entered two Mercedes-AMG GT3s for its maiden season, will be running the only car with extended works support in 2022. At the helm are ex-DTM driver Jörg van Ommen and Zakspeed boss Philipp Zakowski, two well-known names from German motorsport who have joined forces to initiate the ZvO project. Following his achievements in ADAC GT4 Germany last year, Jan Marschalkowski (GER) will be racing the eye-catching pink-coloured Performance car, backed by Austrian water treatment company BWT. His teammate in the #8 GT3, running under the Mercedes-AMG Team ZvO banner, is 30-year-old Daniel Juncadella (ESP) who, after successful years in DTM, has now found a new challenge in ADAC GT Masters. Jules Gounon (FRA), who won the series’ title in 2017, will be racing for points in the car with starting number four together with Mercedes-AMG junior driver Fabian Schiller (GER). The two drivers already know each other from the Nürburgring 24-hour race and will embark on a full-season campaign together for the first time this year.
MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF is expanding its presence and will be strengthening the field of 23 cars in total with a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT3s. Mercedes-AMG Performance Driver and GT3 specialist Raffaele Marciello (SUI) will be sharing driving duties in the #48 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Jonathan Aberdein (RSA) who most recently made a name for himself with strong achievements in DTM and various single-seater categories. Frank Bird (GBR), a two-time race winner in the 2021 GT World Challenge Europe, and 18-year-old motorsport talent Elias Seppänen (FIN) are the driver pairing in the sister car with starting number 84.
With numerous achievements in various SRO championships as a reference, Madpanda Motorsport is the first Spanish team to make its ADAC GT Masters debut. Ezequiel Perez Companc (ARG), who already scored two race wins in the sprint series in 2017 and 2018, will be taking on a double role as the team principal and driver of the #90 Mercedes-AMG GT3. The 27-year-old will be supported by Jannes Fittje (GER), who, like his teammate, already got initial experience in the series and will be making his comeback at Oschersleben.
New season starts with modified regulations
In 2022, a pit stop with driver change in a defined time window around the halfway point of the race is mandatory again. New for this year is, among others, a reduction of the maximum speed in critical situations. For instance, instead of the previous 60 km/h, the permitted speed in the pit lane is now only 50 km/h and the same applies to the individually designated penalty zones. As an additional safety measure, the tyre regulations were changed during the winter break as well: instead of three sets in previous years, four new sets of tyres will now be allocated to each car for practice, qualifying and race, one of them to be used exclusively during the free practice sessions.
The new rules are coming into force during the season opener at Oschersleben where, for the first time in two years, all restrictions for spectators have been lifted. The pandemic permitting, all of the season’s 14 races could therefore be held again in front of packed grandstands. .
ADAC GT4 Germany on the support programme
During six ADAC GT Masters race weeends, ADAC GT4 Germany is part of the support package again this year, promising exciting and high-class competition with a record field of 31 cars. There, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport will be represented by four teams, all of them racing in the series for the first time. Drago Racing Team ZvO (#4, #8), Schnitzelalm Racing (#15, #18) and CV Performance Group (#84, #85) will be running two cars each in the twelve one-hour races while the seventh Mercedes-AMG GT4 has been entered by the Eastside Motorsport outfit (#20).
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “We are happy that we will be on the ADAC GT Masters grid again with a top line-up in 2022. In the past, many thrilling races and strong competition were characteristic for the series. With our Customer Racing Teams, we intend to build on the good past season in which we were able to rack up three overall wins and nine podium results and in the best case make the next step. That is the goal we want to use as an orientation. Howver, first of all, we are now looking forward to this weekend’s season opener, the return of the spectators and we wish all the teams and drivers good luck.”
Philipp Zakowski, team principal, Drago Racing Team ZvO: “We have prepared for our participation in ADAC GT Masters in the best possible way and we have established a top-notch team. We are very grateful for the chance to be able to race with Mercedes-AMG in this highly competitive series and of course we want to do our utmost. We have a huge programme in GT Masters with two cars, one of them as a Performance car sponsored by BWT, a support for which we are just as thankful as for the backing by Mercedes-AMG Motorsport. Moreover, for the driver line-up, we have found a good mix of experienced and young and talented drivers, making us very optimistic going into the season.”
Jules Gounon, driver, Drago Racing Team ZvO #4: “Being allowed to race for Drago Racing Team ZvO in 2022 is making me very happy and I am proud of being part of this new project together with Fabian Schiller. I have known him for a couple of years already and therefore I know that we will be a strong driver pairing together. We will both work hard and try to contribute to this project with our experience so that, hopefully, we can hold the trophy for the ADAC GT Masters title winner in our hands in October.”
Raffaele Marciello, driver, MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF #48: “For me, there was no doubt at all that I wanted to attack in 2022 with MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF in ADAC GT Masters again. The series simply is great fun as, firstly, the level of the drivers is very high and secondly, competition between the teams is so close that small things are often decisive. Last year, we didn’t always have luck by our side. Therefore, I really hope that 2022 has more in store for us than just one race win.”
Ezequiel Perez Companc, team principal and driver, Madpanda Motorsport #90: “I am really looking forward to competing in ADAC GT Masters with Madpanda this season. Because of my history in the series, I know how demanding and exciting this competition is. In the past years, we have had a remarkable development of which we are very proud. We have achieved top results in GT World Challenge Europe like the Silver Cup title in 2020 and our victory in the same class in the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa in 2021. I am convinced that we will make a name for ourselves in this series as well and can be in contention for podium results.”