Marius Zug is the youngest driver on the 2020 ADAC GT Masters grid Photo: ADAC GT Masters
Marius Zug is the youngest driver on the 2020 ADAC GT Masters grid Photo: ADAC GT Masters

Marius Zug: Not feeling any pressure

17-year-old to make his ADAC GT Masters debut in a BMW M6 GT3

ADAC GT4 Germany graduate Marius Zug will contest his first season in the ADAC GT Masters this year - as the youngest driver in the field.

Zug, who comes from Pfaffenhofen north of Munich, embarked on a motorsport career in 2012, competing in kart races at the age of nine. Success was not long in coming. He was soon talent-spotted by ADAC Sports Foundation scouts and has been sponsored by the organisation since 2016. Zug’s biggest success to date was winning the OK Junior class in the 2017 ADAC Kart Masters. Last year, he made the step up to automobile sport, making an instant impression: partnered by co-driver Gabriele Piana, Zug won the opening race of the 2019 ADAC GT4 Germany at Oschersleben as the youngest driver in the field. He was 16 at the time - too young to drive a car around the streets of his native Bavaria but licensed to steer a 430-horsepower BMW M4 GT4 around a high-speed race track. At the end of the year, Zug and Piana narrowly missed out on the overall title in the ADAC GT4 Germany after a retirement in the Sachsenring finale, but the youngster was the runaway champion in the Junior classification.

He now faces the new challenge of GT3 racing in the ADAC GT Masters. As a member of the MRS GT-Racing squad, Zug will share the cockpit of a BMW M6 GT3 with works driver Jens Klingmann. „The sense of anticipation is immense,“ says Zug, who continues to attend a specialist sports school in Munich. „Unfortunately, we have not been able to test during the lockdown, so I’m hoping that things will get going again soon and that I can get back behind the wheel of the BMW M6 GT3. I can’t wait for the campaign to start.“

Although he has only completed one season in motorsport, Zug considers himself well equipped for his new role: „I feel ready. I was thrown in at the deep end in 2019 too, and that went very well. Of course, it would be mega if we could notch up similar results this year as well. It’s my first year in the ADAC GT Masters, so the main thing for me will be to learn my way around. But if we are able to get in among the front-runners, we’ll definitely give it our best shot.“

The youngster doesn’t anticipate any problems getting used to the car: „I’m already reasonably familiar with the M6 GT3. I contested two races in the Italian GT Championship at Monza towards the end of the 2019 season, and we did two test sessions at the beginning of this year. The M6 is much bigger than the M4; it has more power and more downforce. But so far, everything has gone well and without any hitches.“

The fact that he is again the youngest driver on the grid and therefore attracting greater scrutiny does not bother the series rookie. „I take a rather relaxed view of it all. I think that, as the youngest driver, you’re under less pressure because the expectations are not yet all that high. But even so, I am ambitious and want to do as well as possible. It would be cool if I were to win the Pirelli Junior classification this year. As for the overall championship, I’ll be taking a realistic approach, just as I did last year. We’re aiming for a steady improvement in results over the season by dint of solid performances in free practice and attention to detail.“

Zug’s new team-mate, Jens Klingmann, is one of the most experienced drivers in the field: in 2019, sharing an MRS BMW M6 with Nikolai Sylvest, he secured a ninth career victory in the Super Sports Car League at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. Zug is delighted to have Klingmann as a mentor: „I want to learn as much as possible, and Jens is just the right person for that. I’ve known him since last year from us both being part of the BMW motorsport family. We have seen quite a bit of each other, and we already worked together on the tests in Portimao. I’m looking forward to the season with him.“

Despite the enforced break, Zug has had no opportunity to get bored: „I’m probably even busier at the moment than during a normal season. In the mornings I have school, in the afternoons I do sport and from about 3 or 4pm, I prepare for the upcoming races on the race simulator. All in all, it’s quite time-consuming."

2020 Season