In her first year in the ADAC GT Masters, Carrie Schreiner scored 22 championship points, made a podium appearance and registered one race win in the Pirelli Junior classification. Carrie made her series debut as a 20-year-old member of the HCB-Rutronik Racing squad: "For me, this has been a year of ups and downs. When I signed for the series, it was clear that it was not going to be an easy ride. After all, the ADAC GT Masters has an elite driver line-up. But from my personal perspective, I’ve been able to see a clear improvement over the year in terms of race performance." As the only female contestant in the series, she was up against some established ADAC GT Masters stars, so there was never going to be much opportunity for settling in gradually: "As we say in German 'Friss oder stirb' - basically eat or be eaten - so you have to learn how to cope with every new situation as quickly as possible. It's extremely character building, but that’s the only way to learn."
Carrie shared the cockpit of an Audi R8 LMS with an old acquaintance, Dennis Marschall, against whom she had already competed in karting some years before: "We got along extremely well. It’s been a very harmonious partnership – we have always supported each other, analysed the data together and jointly discussed the areas in which we can improve." Schreiner and Marschall registered their best result of the campaign at Hockenheim when they booked Saturday's pole position and went on to finish third for a podium appearance on Carrie’s birthday and the highlight of her rookie season: "Without exaggeration, that really was the best day of my life. This past year has sometimes been very tough, but eventually everything came together. Emotionally, I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. I admit to having shed the occasional tear."
Carrie was already acquainted with HCB Rutronik Racing prior to entering the Super Sports Car League, as they had worked together in various other series in 2018. She was instantly impressed by the level of support she received from the team: "You soon realised that everyone would do anything for each other. We are more than just a team - we have become real friends, like a small family. And when things were not going all that well, the team always tried to help me - for example with test sessions and sharing data with my team-mates. Although it was the first year in the series for the team, they arrived with a lot of experience. We believed in each other from the start, and we embarked on the ADAC GT Masters venture together."
Because HCB Rutronik Racing were new to the ADAC GT Masters, they recruited no less a figure than two-time Le Mans winner and ITC champion Manuel Reuter. In his role as mentor, he coached Carrie through her rookie season. "Manuel is an outstanding professional and a real racer. He always goes right to the nub of the matter and tells you what he thinks. It’s immensely helpful if you have someone like that who doesn’t mince his words."
And the mentoring paid off: the debut season of the outfit led by team boss Fabian Plentz was highly successful. Carrie’s team-mates Kelvin van der Linde and Patric Niederhauser won the drivers' title at the first attempt and HCB-Rutronik Racing took the team title, a triumph to which Schreiner and Marschall contributed with their points haul.
In preparation for the 2020 season, which gets underway in April, Carrie is undertaking an intensive fitness programme and practising laps on the simulator. The races of the 2019 campaign are also coming in for in-depth analysis. But quality time at home with family and friends is not being neglected. "I competed in 22 races this year, so it’s nice to be able to do something with my friends and just relax a bit."
One key area in which Carrie sees room for further improvement in 2020 is qualifying: "That's actually the biggest hurdle for the next season. If I can raise my performance here, I can look forward to a much brighter future." She has already set objectives for her second ADAC GT Masters season: "To score more points and compete as near the front of the field as possible."