Currently best Audi driver of ADAC GT Masters: Jeffrey Schmidt Photo: ADAC GT Masters
Currently best Audi driver of ADAC GT Masters: Jeffrey Schmidt Photo: ADAC GT Masters

Jeffrey Schmidt: We could be even further ahead

Audi man hoping for strong second half to the ADAC GT Masters season

Jeffrey Schmidt is one of the shooting stars of the 2018 ADAC GT Masters. He has not only claimed a maiden victory but is also the best-placed Audi driver.

Schmidt embarked on the current season with great expectations. In his debut year of 2017 - at that time still driving an R8 LMS entered by Montaplast by Land-Motorsport - he made podium appearances on the final four race weekends of the Super Sports Car League. Schmidt is seeking to build on these results in 2018 with his new team, BWT Mücke Motorsport. In DTM star Jamie Green and WEC driver Stefan Mücke, he has two well-known team-mates. He experienced no teething problems after changing teams in the winter break: "I feel really at home here. We are in perfect harmony. With my team-mate from last year, Christopher Haase, also being part of the setup, it did not feel all that new anyway."

Although the season opener at Oschersleben did not go too brilliantly, with only a P8 finish to celebrate, the second round at Most was almost perfect for Schmidt. "At Oschersleben, there were a few little things that did not work optimally. For example, we made mistakes during the pit stop. But we already gave an indication of what we were capable of. Most was the perfect weekend, although we went into it with a handicap. Unlike most of our opponents, we hadn't done any testing there, and on Friday we were unable to put in more than a few kilometres after the car developed a fault. But on Saturday, everything came together for us: I got my first pole position, and in the race, Stefan Mücke and I secured our first victory."

In the next round at the Red Bull Ring, Schmidt had another P8 finish, this time partnered by Audi works driver Jamie Green who had stepped in for the absent Stefan Mücke. After the first six of 14 races, the Swiss 24-year-old is sixth in the championship, making him the best-placed of the Audi contingent and putting him ahead of several works drivers for the team with the four rings. "Sixth place is good, of course, but we also missed out on some possible points. So I feel we could be even further ahead. But the ADAC GT Masters is not a straightforward series. The established teams and drivers are not always to be found at the front, and that's what makes the series so fascinating."

The victory at Most confirmed Schmidt's belief in himself and also in the team: "After four podiums, I was still looking for my first win. I knew we were strong enough to achieve it. Now that we've got the win, it obviously comes as a boost and additional motivation - not just for me, but for the entire team. In 2017, I learned a lot from my team-mate at the time, Christopher Haase. It was more a matter of taking than giving. Now I'm driving with Stefan Mücke and Jamie Green, again with two top drivers. But this year, I'm also able to pass on tips and advice. For me, it's really exciting to talk to Jamie and Stefan, because they've done so much in motor racing. It would be hard to get more insider knowledge than I'm getting now. It's cool when you see that you are growing as a driver and contributing more to making the car go faster. People see you in a different light and no longer as a blank slate."

Next up on the calendar are the Nürburgring, Zandvoort and the Sachsenring - all tracks that should really suit the Audi R8 LMS. Schmidt agrees enthusiastically: "Last year, I got onto the podium at all of those venues. That's why I'm very optimistic. After the recent victory, of course, expectations are getting bigger. Four podium finishes in a row like last year would be great. It will be difficult, though, because the standard in the ADAC GT Masters is even higher this year. But that's what we're aiming for."

2020 Season