The results of the teamwork between Keilwitz and Callaway Competition in the ADAC GT Masters are impressive with a record number of 22 race victories and a title, but a new chapter will start for the champion from 2013 when he lines up for newcomers PROsport Performance in the all-new Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
Mr. Keilwitz, your move to PROsport Performance is one of the biggest surprises of the off season. How did it come about?
Daniel Keilwitz: "The first contact came following the team's announcement that they would be racing Aston Martins in the ADAC GT Masters. It all happened very quickly after that. One of the main reasons for my decision was that I simply wanted to do something different after nine years with Callaway Competition. I hope, of course, that I can be just as successful at PROsport. Things look promising."
Still, your departure from Callaway certainly cannot have been easy and it must have been a stressful time for you?
"Yes, indeed. It was a tough decision to make after all our great years together. Moving on hasn't come easy. Callaway are a great team, and I've got a lot to thank them for."
You will be racing for a team who are new to the ADAC GT Masters, and what's more, in a brand new vehicle, the Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Will you, though, fight for the win from the outset or will the team need a certain amount of time to get used to things?
"It would be presumptuous of us to assume that we might be contenders for the win early on in the season opener at Oschersleben. The level of competition in the ADAC GT Masters is so high that you shouldn't get your hopes up. Other famous outfits have already found that out to their cost in recent years. Once we've taken delivery of our first car, we'll do some extensive testing in order to be as well prepared as possible. PROsport have been in motor racing for a lot of years and are very experienced, but of course, we first have to get used to the brand-new Vantage GT3. Our goal as a team is to become established among the front runners in this strong field of GT3 cars as quickly as possible and to fight for podiums and victories over the course of the season."
Ex-DTM star and Aston Martin works driver Maxime Martin will be your team-mate. How do you expect him to shape up?
"Maxime Martin is very experienced and already knows the new Vantage GT3, as he's an Aston Martin works driver. We can certainly benefit from that. Maybe I can even learn a thing or two from him, since he's one of the all-time, top GT riders. I remember when he first joined the ADAC GT Masters. He won quite a few races back then, and we had some terrific scraps out on track. I'm delighted to be racing alongside him. He's a great guy and fast too. I'm really looking forward to working with him."
Will you find switching to a different car problematic after so many years in the Corvette?
"I don't think so. GT3 cars are very similar in the way they drive, and there's hardly any difference in terms of speed. Sure, you have to make certain adjustments with a new car, but I don't expect any big surprises. The Aston Martin's engine is up front just like the Corvette's, and I'm familiar with turbo-engined cars from having driven the Ferrari 488 GT3 in the Blancpain GT series."
Which circuits will best suit the Vantage GT3?
"That's hard to say, you know, as I've never driven the Vantage, but I think it will be a good all-rounder, similar perhaps in many ways to the Mercedes-AMG GT3, for example. It should go well at every track."