Feeling well prepared for the ADAC GT Masters: Tim Zimmermann Photo: ADAC GT Masters
Feeling well prepared for the ADAC GT Masters: Tim Zimmermann Photo: ADAC GT Masters

Newcomer Zimmermann sets himself ambitious target

Lamborghini rookie aiming for Pirelli Junior Championship title

Tim Zimmermann looks forward to his first season in a GRT Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo with confidence.

The 23-year-old together with Dutch co-driver Steijn Schothorst will be competing for the Austrian outfit which took second place in both the drivers' and team championships in the 2019 ADAC GT Masters. Zimmermann got to know Gottfried Grasser and his crew last autumn: “The team organised a sort of junior test at Paul Ricard. I tested there for two days in the Lamborghini and, as Gottfried saw it, probably put in a decent performance. Afterwards we sat down and decided we could work together. I'm very happy about that, because he obviously had multiple options. After all, Grasser are a top team in the ADAC GT Masters.”

But that's not the only reason why Zimmerman is impressed by the Austrians: “You can tell that they are really passionate about motorsport. I like that a lot. It's important how you feel in a team, because that is one of the factors that determine success or failure. I got to know the guys even better at the Daytona 24-hour race in January. You can tell just how much heart and soul they put into it.”

Although he is only 23 years old, Zimmerman has been organising his career moves himself since he was 16: “That's when I started my own company in order to independently finance my karting activities. Because even then, everything was very expensive, and my father couldn't afford to support me anymore. In the first year, I held 130 meetings with companies in order to be in a position where I could put together an adequate budget. I gave it everything I'd got and developed a strategy that worked for me. More recently, I've been doing this full-time. During the week, I make phone calls and keep partners and sponsors in the loop. At the weekends, I race. I also offer an online tutorial for finding sponsors, which can be downloaded from my website, and I give lectures on the topic, because I want to share the experiences that I have gained over the years.”

After several successful seasons in karting, the former ADAC Sports Foundation protégé switched to single-seater racing, finishing third in the ADAC Formel Masters series at the first attempt. In 2016 and 2017, he made podium appearances in the ADAC TCR Germany before switching to the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland in 2018. He also competed in LMP3 and GT races in China in 2018 and 2019. Zimmermann now reckons that he is ready for the ADAC GT Masters: “I have competed in many other different types of racing car – Formula 3, LMP3, TCR and even GT3 – so I already knew what it feels like to drive such a car. I was told that, if you're capable of being fast in a Cup Porsche, you should also be OK in a GT3 car. And I certainly noticed that at Paul Ricard. The Carrera Cup also provided perfect training in the matter of tyres. At the end of the day, of course, the real skill is in getting the last few tenths of a second out of them. Every car is difficult in that respect, whether you're in a kart or a GT3 car.” Zimmerman knows, however, that there is still a lot to learn: “For example, the flying starts are new to me. I think that, with more experience, I will improve from race weekend to race weekend. In addition, with the team fielding more than one car, there is a lot of data I can fall back on. In the second Grasser car, there will be two high-powered drivers who will be pushing the whole team. I can certainly learn a lot from them, and I will be copying what I see.”

Zimmermann, who hails from Langenargen on Lake Constance, is sounding upbeat about the season that is due to start in April: “The setup here is such that I can achieve success, so I'm setting my sights correspondingly high: I aim to win the Pirelli Junior classification. GRT Grasser Racing is an absolute top team and Steijn is a superb team-mate; he is certainly one of the best Silver class drivers around. At the moment, everything around me is feeling very structured and tidy, which is good.”

2020 Season