Visit from Japan
A prominent visitor from Japan called in on the ADAC GT Masters tests at Oschersleben. Daisuke Kikuchi from the Suzuka circuit was there to tell the ADAC GT Masters team managers all about the 10 Hours of Suzuka. For the past two years, the ADAC GT Masters champions have received an automatic invitation to compete in the historic Japanese event which has now been incorporated into the Intercontinental GT Challenge. Last year, the 2017 champions Callaway Competition took up the offer and lined up on the grid in collaboration with the Bingo Sports customer team. This year's running of the endurance race (weekend of 23rd 25th August) will be the 48th.
Alternating fortunes at the top
The six sessions of the test saw four different brands top the timesheets - Audi, Corvette, Ferrari and Porsche. The absolute fastest time over both days was set by Montaplast by Land-Motorsport driver Dries Vanthoor in an Audi. Porsche topped two of the four sessions.
New co-driver for Robert Renauer
At Oschersleben, it was at last revealed who reigning champion Robert Renauer will share a cockpit with in the defence of his title. The new partner and successor to Mathieu Jaminet in the Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by Precote Herberth Motorsport is Austria's Thomas Preining, winner of the 2018 Porsche Carrera Cup Germany. "The ADAC GT Masters is a great series, so I definitely wanted to compete in it this year," said the 20-year-old ADAC Formula 4 graduate, who clocked one of the session best times. "I want to compete with the best, and I have this opportunity in the ADAC GT Masters. The highlight of the season for me is obviously going to be the race at the Red Bull Ring. I'm really looking forward to this home fixture."
Solid performance from HCB-Rutronik Racing
The Audi outfit HCB-Rutronik Racing made a promising debut in the ADAC GT Masters. After Carrie Schreiner and Dennis Marschall were runners-up in the first session, Kelvin van der Linde, who is partnered by Patric Niederhauser, went one better by setting the fastest time in the final session. "We came through our programme well," said team boss Fabian Plentz. "We also tried out everything we had planned to do. We are therefore satisfied. There is still a lot to do before the season opener, but we're pleased that it won't be long now."
Setbacks for PROpeak Performance
Newcomers PROpeak Performance put an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 at the disposal of their four-man driver squad - Maxime Martin, Daniel Keilwitz, Hugo de Sadeleer and Valentin Hasse-Clot. But right at the start, a defect in the area of the turbocharger led to a severe power loss in the four-litre V8 engine. It was caused by a small part which had to be specially flown in. But then a collision with the barrier brought the first test day to a premature conclusion. "Even though the engine ran smoothly in the end and we were still able to try out a few different settings, the test was not as helpful as we had hoped in our preparations for the upcoming season," said team manager Steve Buschmann.
Comeback after seven years
Aston Martin works driver Maxime Martin is returning to the Super Sports Car League for the first time since 2012. The Belgian, who won two races in 2009 and three in 2012, is happy to be returning: "It's great to be back," said the former DTM driver. "The series has evolved incredibly during my absence. Since I was instrumental in developing the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and it's very similar to the GTE version that I drove in the WEC, I only took it out on track on Monday. On Tuesday, it was important for my team-mate Daniel Keilwitz to put in as many kilometres as possible."
Valuable experience for Junior pairing
T3 Motorsport are the third of three new teams to have registered for this year's ADAC GT Masters. In newcomers Maximilian Paul and Simon Reichert (both 19 years old), the Saxony-based outfit has the youngest and most inexperienced driver pairing on the starting grid. "We are satisfied with the test," said team boss Jens Feucht. "It's the first time we have had the chance to put the Evo kit of the Audi R8 LMS through its paces. We finished a couple of sessions in the midfield, which is not bad for beginners."
Kilometres, kilometres and more kilometres
The 19 teams present at the test made extensive use of the two days at Oschersleben to prepare for the season ahead. Between them, the 30 cars completed 4,231 laps in the six test sessions, equivalent to a total distance of 15,515 kilometres.
Zandvoort winner Perez Companc looking for a cockpit
Argentina's Ezequiel Perez-Companc drove for not one but two teams. The winner of last year's Zandvoort race took the Audi R8 LMS of Aust Motorsport out on Monday and impressed with P3 in the third session. He then took over at the wheel of the BMW M6 GT3 brought along by MRS GT-Racing. "I would very much like to compete in the ADAC GT Masters again this year," said the 24-year-old. "I really like the series. Let's see what emerges from talks with the teams."