Dienst first raced in the Super Sports Car League in 2016 and was with the team managed by Christian Schütz even back then but at the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 R - as reigning ADAC Formula 4 champion. "It was like jumping in at the deep end," said Dienst in retrospect. "I was fresh from racing single-seaters and my team-mate was also new to GT3. It was also the team's first year with the GT3 R from the 991 series. The car didn't arrive until two weeks before the start of the season and budget constraints meant that we didn't have a single day's testing during the season. Nevertheless, we gradually improved as the year progressed. By the end of the season, we were well placed both in terms of driving and setup." That became evident in the finale at Hockenheim where Dienst and Christopher Zanella achieved their maiden podium finish on Saturday. "I now intend to build on that result. We had actually intended to contest the ADAC GT Masters in 2017 and 2018, but our plans were suddenly dashed twice without warning, so you can understand why I'm looking forward so much to our return. I've still got a score to settle."
The ADAC's 2017 Junior Motor Sports Person of the year is pleased to be making his comeback with Schütz Motorsport. "We get on really well together," said Dienst. "Although we didn't compete in the ADAC GT Masters in 2017 and 2018, we still continued working together. I've been regularly involved in customer racing for Schütz these last few years." However, Dienst's main programme of events over the last couple of seasons has been centred around endurance racing in the FIA WEC and ELMS. "It was great to go racing all over the world. Being at Le Mans in 2017 was terrific too. It's every racing driver's dream as you can see now with Fernando Alonso. And for me, too, there are still some classic races out there that I want to enter," he said. "But for now, I'm looking forward to the sprint races in the ADAC GT Masters with their tough scraps. Every hundredth of a second counts, as the level of competition is so incredibly high. It's also going to be great to race at Hockenheim again, because that's my home track, but there are other terrific circuits on the calendar too. The Sachsenring is mega. Most is the only track that's new to me, but I shouldn't be at too big a disadvantage since the other teams have only competed there once."
While he has driven mainly Porsche GT sports cars since switching from single-seater racing, Dienst is familiar with his 'company car' for 2019, the Mercedes-AMG GT3. "I've already contested a number of races in it with customers of Schütz. The main focus was on having fun and not on posting super fast lap times, but it's enabled me to form my impressions of the Mercedes-AMG. The biggest difference, though, will be that we'll be running on Pirelli tyres. Still, we'll do a lot of testing and be well prepared for the season."
It's not yet been decided who will partner Dienst. "Talks are still in progress," he told us. "We should know by March at the latest." As regards his goals for 2019, he said: "We want to perform well and not sell ourselves short. We intend to fight for podiums from the outset and show that we are a force to be reckoned with. At the moment, as far as GT racing goes, there's no way that you can avoid taking part in the ADAC GT Masters. If you want to become a works driver, which is another long-term goal of mine, you simply must race in this series and be successful. I'm looking forward to showing what I can do, for sure!"