Two pole positions, two podium appearances and second place in the Junior class for drivers under 25 years of age. A respectable tally for Luca Stolz, who comes from the Westerwald region in the west of Germany, with five of the seven ADAC GT Masters race weekends now completed. "The season hasn't gone at all badly so far, as the narrow points gap in the championship table confirms," says the 22-year-old. "We have consistently performed well in qualifying, especially in Q1. Of course, the aim must always be to convert a pole position into victory. But the ADAC GT Masters is on such a high level that you can't simply conjure up a race win out of nothing. We seem to have been short on that elusive element of luck. We've also allowed mistakes to creep in here and there, which has cost us vital points. Especially at Zandvoort, where we lost out big time."
With four races still to go at the Sachsenring and at Hockenheim, however, Stolz is still in with a great chance of finishing the campaign as best Junior. And with 100 points still up for grabs in the Junior stakes, he is currently 28 behind Corvette driver Jules Gounon. "It would obviously be great to win the class. But it has to be said that the Corvette with Gounon at the wheel has been consistently strong. If the Corvette were to finish outside the points, though, it would be a chance to get on level pegging. Anyway, it's going to stay exciting right through to the end."
Stolz has had to adapt to a new driving environment for this year. In 2016, he drove a Lamborghini Huracán GT3 for the GRT Grasser Racing Team, but this year, he is competing as a member of the Mercedes-AMG team ZAKSPEED squad with Luca Ludwig as his co-driver. "Our working relationship is very good," says Stolz. "We are a long-established team and we work well together. Everyone makes an input to getting the best possible setup for the race weekend. We are generally in agreement on this matter. At Zakspeed, I've felt very welcome and well looked after right from the first minute. The team has an incredible tradition and huge potential."
Stolz is also familiar with the Mercedes-AMG: "You obviously need time to adjust at the beginning. The Mercedes-AMG is a very good-natured car, so the changeover was quite easy. Furthermore, I drove a Mercedes SLS GT3 in the 2014 season. Some characteristics have remained the same from the old to the new model."
He is optimistic about the final two weekends of the campaign: "I am very confident that we will get our first win of the season. The objective is to pick up as many points as possible. I'm looking forward to the Sachsenring in particular - the up-and-down nature of the track makes it one of my favourites. Our Mercedes AMG should perform very well there. But we won't know where we're going to end up in the championship until after the second race of the grand finale at Hockenheim."