European debut: the Schubert-Honda NSX Photo: ADAC GT Masters
European debut: the Schubert-Honda NSX Photo: ADAC GT Masters

Torsten Schubert: It wasn't planned to be this way

Challenging year for Honda Team Schubert Motorsport

Team boss Torsten Schubert reviews the return of his team to the ADAC GT Masters.

Comeback with a new manufacturer: Between 2010 and 2016, Schubert Motorsport enjoyed considerable success fielding BMW cars in the ADAC GT Masters. During this period, they won ten races and also claimed the 2015 team title. After one season away from the Super Sports Car League, the Oschersleben-based outfit returned to the series with a surprise announcement - the new partner was Honda. Schubert were not only introducing a new brand to the ADAC GT Masters but also a car that had not been seen racing in Europe before.

The team also hired two ADAC GT Masters newcomers as drivers - Giorgio Maggi and Christopher Dreyspring. Schubert were therefore facing the twin challenge of getting to know a new car and introducing the duo to the ADAC GT Masters which, in 2018, had perhaps the strongest driver line-up of its history.

The season was unsurprisingly a tough one. Schubert's highest-place finish of the campaign was a P6 in the Saturday race at the Nürburgring, which also earned them a P3 podium in the Pirelli Junior class. Dreyspring had already earned plaudits for his qualifying result, narrowly missing out on the Top Ten. "I can be very satisfied with the performance of the two guys," says team boss Torsten Schubert. "We were maybe hoping for a little more overall, but for both it was an apprenticeship and their first ever year in the ADAC GT Masters. They learned a lot during the season and repeatedly showed the potential of our package."

In addition to the relative lack of experience of the Honda NSX GT3, the team and the drivers suffered a further handicap in terms of unfamiliarity with the venues on the calendar. Coming from the Lamborghini Super Trofeo series, Dreyspring had not competed on several of the racetracks before and only knew them from the simulator. "He first had to familiarise himself with the circuit to be able to drive at the limit. Consequently, we could have benefited from a second car with experienced drivers to help the two Juniors." Nevertheless, the youngster from Nuremberg frequently excelled with fast laps in the training sessions. On race day, the two rookies were very disciplined. This is normally an advantage, but according to Schubert, "they were perhaps just that bit too cautious to push themselves forward".

The second vehicle, which the team had long considered desirable, eventually put in an appearance at the Red Bull Ring, courtesy of Honda development partner JAS Motorsport. However, it was the only time in the season that two NSXs were fielded. A no-fault collision in the Saturday race and a wrong tactical decision at the onset of rain on Sunday prevented Philipp Frommenwiler and Honda works driver Esteban Guerrieri from finishing in the points on either occasion.

For Schubert, the regular use of a second car is an important cornerstone in the plans for 2019: "In order to build on our successes of past years, we need a second car. We are currently in negotiations with Honda, drivers and sponsors. But nothing has so far been agreed for the upcoming season."

2019 Season