You started out with title ambitions this season. You finished third overall in the end and missed coming second by one point. How would you sum things up?
Maximilian Götz: "We expected to achieve more, although we managed to finish in the leading group again. We had a particularly strong second half to the season when we caught up in leaps and bounds, fighting our way from sixth to third in the championship and missed out on second place in the standings by a whisker."
Why did the second half to the season go so much better?
"We had a technical issue in the first couple of races and were off the pace at times. For example, Oschersleben was tough, and Zandvoort, a circuit that I really love, didn’t go well either. Maybe we lacked the preparation time that was necessary in view of the highly competitive nature of the ADAC GT Masters. We then made some adjustments in the team and focused on what we’d done previously. Things then went smoothly again."
You achieved the most decisive victory of the season at the Sachsenring, which must certainly have given you some satisfaction.
"Definitely! The podium at Hockenheim earlier proved that we are a force to be reckoned with. That was a good end to the season. It was very important for us to come back again and show that we can still cut the mustard."
You had a new team-mate in Indy Dontje, but you already knew him from previous years. What was it like to share a car with him now this season?
"Things went well from the start, as I’d raced with Indy before in other series. We didn’t need to get used to one another. We just got into the car and performed. Of course, we had to play around with setup, but Indy knows what he’s doing, and I’ve been at it long enough too, so it was a quick process."
Two young, relatively inexperienced drivers, Philip Ellis and Fabian Vettel, were in the second car fielded by Mann-Filter Team HTP. Did you take on the role of mentor to them?
"Yes, I did, but Indy also supported the pair of them. We sat them down and showed them a few tricks and gave them some tips. It’s great when you can help young drivers and show them the way. Fabian in particular had had very little experience. The ADAC GT Masters was completely new to him while Philip was already familiar with the series from the previous year. Of course, it was apparent that this is not an easy series. I think it is probably the toughest GT series around, but when everything went well, Philip and Fabi were on the pace. They actually produced some decent results and you could see the enormous progress they made during the season."
The evo version of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 will debut in the ADAC GT Masters in 2020. What have fans got to look forward to?
"The car looks really great, especially with its aggressive looking front-end and large grille. When other drivers see it coming in the rear-view mirror, then they had better move over straightaway, otherwise they’ll get gobbled up! The GT3 has been refined in all areas. The cooling system and ABS are new and the aerodynamics have also been revised. There’s now a quick way to adjust the rear wing, simplifying setup. The car is now much better balanced. It’s a step in the right direction and will definitely be successful again."
Will we see you in the new car in the ADAC GT Masters again in 2020?
"Well, right now, I’m looking forward to the winter break. I’ve had a lot of races this year but will be heading straight back to Dubai again in mid-January. I will definitely be back with the Mercedes-AMG squad of drivers, for sure. Planning for the season is obviously in full swing. Everyone who knows me will be well aware that I would love to contest the ADAC GT Masters once more and fight for the title again. We’re currently putting together a package that looks very promising."