Markus Pommer and Marvin Kirchhöfer celebrated three wins in 2019 Photo: ADAC GT Masters
Markus Pommer and Marvin Kirchhöfer celebrated three wins in 2019 Photo: ADAC GT Masters

Pommer: I'll be competing in 2020 ADAC GT Masters

Corvette driver sums up his season

Markus Pommer's 2019 season - his first at the wheel of a Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R - was characterised by highs and lows.

The campaign got off to a tremendous start for Pommer, his partner Marvin Kirchhöfer and their Callaway Competition team, with three wins from the first three race weekends and an impressive early second place in the championship table. "The first race weekend in Oschersleben went far better than we could have hoped for," says Pommer. "We had not been expecting to win the rain-affected race there on Saturday. Anyway, it was a dream start. On the Most weekend, we were handed a drive-through penalty on Saturday, but on Sunday we got our second win of the season. And then at the Red Bull Ring, we won from pole position on Sunday. Except for a few minor hitches that are par for the course, those three weekends actually went according to plan."

But then came the first setback at Zandvoort. Pommer and Kirchhöfer came away empty-handed from both races in the Netherlands: "The changeable conditions did not work in our favour. Despite that, we were well placed in the Saturday race when we had a technical problem: our timekeeping system let us down and our pit stop was too short." A week later at the Nürburgring, things began to look up again. Although the qualifying sessions produced only a lowly P30 and P19 on the grid, Pommer and Kirchhöfer mounted determined pursuits and clawed back a total of 30 positions over the two days. On Saturday, they finished seventh, and the following day, they were twelfth: "Our charges through the field on both days were really enjoyable, and they were certainly also entertaining for the fans. The first race in particular was among the best of our season. The car was really good. It was extremely frustrating to be unable to post a qualifying lap because of a fuel leak, but we made the best of a bad situation."

The absolute low point of the season came the following race weekend at Hockenheim, which was unfortunately also the home race for Pommer, a native of Neckarsulm, and for Callaway Competition who are based in Leingarten. "That was probably the worst weekend of my career," concedes Pommer. In both races, the Corvette was involved in no-fault collisions on the first lap, causing heavy damage and two very early retirements. "The two situations were unfortunate. We both had to start from midfield, because we had been unable to achieve more in qualifying. The field was again extremely close together, and a few tenths of a second make a huge difference. When I got out of the badly damaged car on Saturday, I was thinking that my weekend was effectively over. But the team put in an incredible night shift and managed to get the car repaired in time for the second race. And then we were again involved in a collision, this time as early as the first corner. That was really hard to take."

For Callaway, the second accident had major consequences in regard to the season finale at the Sachsenring: the damage to the Corvette was so severe that Mike Gramke's team were unable to repair it in time and were obliged to sit out the weekend. Pommer found a temporary home for the event with Aust Motorsport, the outfit with which he registered his first victory in the Super Sports Car League in 2017 at the Nürburgring: "The offer came only a few days before the final weekend. Callaway had no objection. So at the Sachsenring, where Callaway were present despite the non-start, I kept switching between the two teams at the autograph session. The race weekend went OK, but it was a bit difficult readjusting to the Audi. With a little more preparation time, the weekend could have gone even better."

In 2020, Pommer intends to compete in the ADAC GT Masters again, a series in which he made his debut in 2016 and has won at least one race per season since 2017. "I'll definitely be there," says the 28-year-old German. "The year spent with Callaway was very nice overall and was a lot of fun. The team worked well. We may not have achieved what we had hoped for, but that's motor racing for you. We are discussing our options for next year, but it is still too early to be more specific."

2020 Season