They came, they saw, they conquered. Following the title win by Patric Niederhauser (27, CH) and Kelvin van der Linde (23, ZA, both HCB-Rutronik Racing) in the drivers' classification earlier, HCB-Rutronik Racing also clinched victory in Sunday's race at the Sachsenring and with it, the team championship title. As a result, the outfit from Germany's south-west achieved the double to round off their first season in the Super Sports Car League. "What an amazing season," said Team Principal, Fabian Plentz. "The team really deserve this title. They've worked incredibly hard to achieve success."
The team was founded in 2010 by Hans Christoph Behler, whose initials give the team its name. Initially, the focus was mainly on races and championships in amateur competitions where they secured numerous victories and titles. The next step took the outfit into GT sport. In 2016, HCB-Rutronik Racing raced for the first time in the FIA GT World Cup at Macau where, with works support from Audi Sport customer racing, they will line up again in November with newly crowned ADAC GT Masters Champion van der Linde. After a great deal of forward planning, HCB-Rutronik Racing joined the Super Sports Car League at the start of this year. "Preparation was key to our success," said Fabian Plentz. "Our entry into the ADAC GT Masters was a long process, taking almost two years, but we thought of absolutely everything." Success was not long in coming with their maiden podium in the very first race, first pole position, first victory and the championship lead during the second race weekend at Autodrom Most. By the end of the year, the outfit had notched up three race victories, four pole positions and eight podiums in addition to the drivers' and team titles.
Plentz had not expected to achieve so much success: "Obviously, the plan is to win when you race, but of course, it was never our intention to lift the title in our first year. My goal was to finish on the podium, which in itself means you've been really successful in such a hard-fought series as the ADAC GT Masters. However, we did that in the first race, and once we'd taken our first pole position and race win in the second round at Autodrom Most, then at some point, we began to think in terms of the championship. I knew we could be successful, but it's incredible the way things have turned out." Plentz is very pleased with his four drivers: "Patric and Kelvin have done a top job. Our two younger competitors, Dennis Marschall and Carrie Schreiner, gradually improved during the course of the season and even claimed a podium at Hockenheim. Dennis was extremely strong in the second half of the season in qualifying, took a pole position and started out three times from the front row. For Carrie, this was always going to be a year of learning on the job right from the start. She's gained a lot of experience, though, and has made great progress, especially in the scraps."
The signing of ex-Le Mans winner Manuel Reuter as Sporting Director has been another important factor in the team's success. "We do a lot to ensure there's a good atmosphere in the team. That was another one of the reasons why we brought Manuel Reuter into the team. He just knows where it's at. I've always told everyone - team and drivers - they should really look forward to racing in the ADAC GT Masters, and I think we've made quite a good job of things there," said Plentz.
Team headquarters for HCB-Rutronik Racing are located in Remchingen, about 20 kilometres from Karlsruhe, in a modern, 4,000 square metre unit where they have a range of facilities, including a vehicle workshop, spare parts/tyre warehouse and a driving simulator. The outfit's fleet of ten Audi R8 LMS and R8 LMS ultras, three SEAT León Supercopas and six Radical sports cars is also based there.