ADAC GT Masters drivers are normally well represented in the 24-hour race and are regularly among the winners. Last time out, four drivers and an outfit from the 2017 GT Series triumphed in Germany's largest motorsport event.
Two of the four who won then, Christopher Mies and Kelvin van der Linde, will line up again for Audi Sport Team Land. Their squad will be boosted by the two former ADAC GT Masters champions, René Rast and Christopher Haase. Car Collection Motorsport will field two Audi R8 LMS cars, including one that enjoys works support. Among the drivers will be ADAC GT Masters regulars, Markus Winkelhock (24-hours winner 2012, 2014 and 2017) and double entrant Haase (winner 2012 and 2014). The team from Walluf to the south of Frankfurt will also deploy an Audi R8 LMS GT4. Pierre Kaffer, Frank Stippler, Frédéric Vervisch and Dries Vanthoor will make up a team of four to race the GT3-R8. Local hero Stippler will also drive another R8, along with 2013 winner Jeroen Bleekemolen among others. "I'm really looking forward to the race. We've got a good driver pairing and a good team with Phoenix Racing," said Bleekemolen. "I competed in my first 24-hour race with them in 2003. The race is not going to be easy. Once again there will be more than 30 GT cars driven by excellent drivers on the grid. I've raced many sports cars for many different brands previously but never an Audi."
2012 ADAC GT Masters Champion Maximilian Götz will be in a Mercedes-AMG GT3. "It's the highlight of my year," he told us. "It's one of the biggest races in motor sport and has the most participants, even more than Le Mans. My seventh time in the line-up will be very special. I'm delighted to once again be part of the works squad with Mercedes-AMG and in a top car. We've still got a score to settle, because we were strong last year but had an accident relatively early on. We had to fix the car and were well down, but we always had plenty of pace, so hopefully, we'll be up there with the front-runners again this year."
The participation of Fabian Vettel, who will also race a GT3 vehicle from the brand with the star, is certain to generate a great deal of interest this weekend. The brother of F1 star Sebastian Vettel is facing a big challenge with his first time competing in the endurance classic. Two of his co-drivers also come from the ADAC GT Masters - Luca Ludwig, the champion from 2015 and British driver, Philip Ellis, with whom Vettel normally competes for Mann-Filter Team HTP. "For me, starting in the 24-hour race on the Nordschleife is a big dream come true," said Vettel. "It's going to be a special moment for me. You have to respect the track. I've never raced at night, and traffic will also be a big issue. You have to find your rhythm, lap after lap."
Jens Klingmann is fresh from his ADAC GT Masters victory at the Red Bull Ring. He will also be at the wheel of a BMW M6 GT3 in the Eifel. The Austrian, Klaus Bachler, competes for the same team. However, he will be in the team's sister car, a Porsche 911 GT3 R. Current ADAC GT Masters champion Robert Renauer will also be in a 911. He will share the drive in the one-day classic with his co-driver from this year, Thomas Preining, along with others. Iron Force Racing will make their debut in the 24-hour race with their 911 GT3 R. Apart from the familiar faces of Jan-Erik Slooten and Lucas Luhr, a third driver from the Super Sports Car League, the Belgian Adrien de Leener, will also race the "Ufo 2.0". Italian Porsche protégé Matteo Cairoli is a member of the squad in another GT3 R.
Prosport Performance, going by the name Propeak Performance in 2019, are competing with two Aston Martin Vantage GT3s for the first time in the ADAC GT Masters. They will field the GT4 version of the British sportscar in the Eifel. Their four drivers include ADAC GT Masters Junior, Mike David Ortmann. "It's the first 24-hour race for the Vantage GT4 and we've got a strong squad of drivers, but the competition in the SP10 class with Audi, BMW and Mercedes should not be underestimated," said Team Principal, Christoph Esser, who is celebrating the 40th anniversary of his first 24-hour race. Daniel Keilwitz, the one who actually drives for Propeak in the ADAC GT Masters, will be in a Ferrari 488 GT3 this weekend at the Ring while Dutch driver, Indy Dontje, has stepped in to take the wheel of the team's sister car at short notice. "The driver originally scheduled to take part didn't get his licence through in time, so I got the call on Wednesday and set off," he told us. Lamborghini works driver, Marco Mapelli, will be at the wheel of a Huracán GT3 Evo.
20-year-old Carrie Schreiner, the only female driver in this year's Super Sports Car League will also want to do well. She will debut in the 24-hour classic alongside three other lady drivers in a VW Golf GTI, competing in the SP3T class with Team Girls Only. Two other drivers who have already seen action in the ADAC GT Masters this season, Christopher Dreyspring (BMW M2 Competition) and William Tregurtha (BMW M240i Racing), will also contest the race in the "Green Hell" at the weekend.