GT Masters takes on Nurburgring: we take a look


Johannes Brock was at the Nurburgring over the weekend for the ADAC GT Masters.  Here we take a look at what he saw.


Wirth/Keilwitz win gamble with tyres at Nürburgrin

Corvette duo Andreas Wirth/Daniel Keilwitz win on drying track. Porsche driver Handlos takes seventh win of season in Gentlemen class.


A shower of rain shortly before the race, a gamble with slicks/full wets and a safety car period in the second half of the race, those were the ingredients that went to make up one of the most exciting ADAC GT Masters races of the year. Andreas Wirth (29, Germany) and Daniel Keilwitz (29, Germany / both Callaway Competition) made a good gamble at the Nürburgring and went onto slicks despite the wet track. Consequently, on a drying track, the Corvette drivers moved to the very front of the field from grid position 17. This twelfth race win in total makes title defender Keilwitz the most successful driver ever in the ADAC GT Masters. A happy Keilwitz said: “We didn’t have a great deal to lose today in view of our P17 on the grid, so we were prepared to take the risk and start on slicks. That was exactly the right decision. Second place went to Kelvin van der Linde (18, South Africa) and René Rast (27, Germany / Prosperia C Abt Racing) in the Audi R8, who now become the new leaders in the standings with four races still to come. On his first weekend in the ADAC GT Masters, former DTM driver Renger van der Zande (26, Netherlands) in third place finished on the podium in the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG along with Maximilian Götz (28, Germany / both HTP Motorsport). The Mercedes pair missed a possible victory through a pit-stop mistake.


Rast and Götz set pace in first half of race

A brief shower of rain just a few minutes before the start made tyre choice a lottery at the Nürburgring. Pole-setter Nicki Thiim (25, Denmark, Prosperia C Abt Racing) went for YOKOHAMA wet weather tyres, as did fellow Audi driver Rast and Götz in the Mercedes. Thiim converted his pole position to P1 in the sprint to the first turn but coasted to a stop a few hundred metres later with a defective alternator. Rast took the lead from Götz and maintained P1 until the driver changeover, closely followed by the Mercedes on a track that was quickly drying out.


However, danger threatened from behind: Keilwitz and Jaap van Lagen (37, Netherlands / GW IT Racing Team, Schütz Motorsport) in the Porsche 911 took the gamble of starting on slicks and consequently were as much as seven seconds quicker than the front-runners on wets until the mid-way point of the race. After the driver changeover, the impressive charge of Keilwitz saw his team-mate Wirth emerge on the track as the new front-runner in front of van der Linde, whose team, Prosperia C Abt Racing, used the driver changeover to also switch to slicks. Corvette and Audi had an action-packed scrap for the lead, which was interrupted 22 minutes before the end of the race by a seven-minute long safety car period that was brought about by the need to repair a crash barrier damaged when the McLaren 12C driven by Florian Spengler (26, Germany / MRS GT-Racing) went into a spin.


Ten seconds cover Top Ten

The scrap continued into the dying minutes of the race until Wirth secured his fifth Nürburgring victory in the ADAC GT Masters with a lead of 0.6 seconds on the South African driver. Wirth: “I had to really push myself after the scrap with the Audi following the driver changeover, since I first had to find my bearings on a track that was still damp in parts. Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche were all at an advantage in the slippery conditions, but after a few laps, I was able to control the lead well in close scraps with my pursuers and use our Corvette’s strengths to the full.


Keilwitz said: “We were not in the best of moods, as the rain set in as it came down so heavily. After a few laps, though, we were quicker than the opposition on wets. Things kept getting better and the gamble soon paid off. Once the track had dried out, I was able to pull well ahead.


These wins for the Corvette in the two Nürburgring races make the American sports car that has taken part in every race in the series so far the most successful super sportscar ever in the ADAC GT Masters with a total of 21 race wins to its name.


The battle for the remaining positions was equally as gripping. Just ten seconds covered the Top Ten at the finish line. Mercedes driver van der Zande won through in a scrap for P3, consigning van Lagen and Christian Engelhart (27, Germany) to fourth place. Van Lagen in second place in the standings has now become the major rival of van der Linde/Rast with a deficit of only three points.


Max Sandritter (25, Germany) and Jens Klingmann (24, Germany / both PIXUM Team Schubert) finished fifth in the best-placed BMW Z4, while their team-mates Claudia Hürtgen (42, Germany) and Dominik Baumann (21, Austria) took the chequered flag in P15 after spinning off. Maro Engel (29, Germany) and Jan Seyffarth (28, Germany / ROWE Racing) in the Mercedes-Benz took sixth place from Robert Renauer (29, Germany)/Norbert Siedler (31, Austria / TONINO Team Herberth) in the Porsche 911 and from the two Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG driven by Alon Day (22, Israel)/Luca Ludwig (25, Germany / both BKK MOBIL OIL Zakspeed) and Mathias Lauda (33, Austria)/Luca Stolz (19, Germany / both HTP Motorsport). Patrick Assenheimer (22, Germany) and Diego Alessi (42, Italy / both Callaway Competition) booked tenth place in the Corvette. Winners of Saturday’s race, David Jahn (23, Germany) and Sven Barth (33, Germany/ both RWT Racing Team), were unable to start in Sunday’s race due to a defective fuel tank.


Handlos makes further progress in hunt for Gentlemen title

After three Corvette victories in recent fixtures, Herbert Handlos (31, Austria / TONINO Team Herberth) secured his seventh win of the season in the Gentlemen class to reclaim his position on the top rung of the Gentlemen podium. “I was beginning to get withdrawal symptoms in view of the fact that I’ve not had a win in a while,” said Handlos with a chuckle. He has now taken another important step on his way to securing the Gentlemen title. Dominic Jöst (35, Germany) and Florian Scholze (41, Germany / both TONINO Team Herberth) in the Porsche 911 took second place from fellow Porsche drivers Anton Wossos (48, Greece) and Wolf Nathan (45, Netherlands / GW IT Racing Team, Schütz Motorsport).


Race 1: RWT Racing secure maiden win in ADAC GT Masters

Podium for local boys Luca Ludwig and BKK MOBIL OIL Zakspeed. Toni Seiler notches up another win for Corvette in Gentlemen Class.


Two surprise winners clinched their first success in the ADAC GT Masters at the Nürburgring. David Jahn (23, Germany) and Sven Barth (33, Germany / both RWT Racing Team) unexpectedly won the eleventh ADAC GT Masters race in a Corvette. On the Nürburgring´s short sprint circuit, Alon Day (22, Israel) and Luca Ludwig (25, Germany / BKK MOBIL OIL Zakspeed) finished second on the podium for the first time this season ahead of the Porsche 911 of Robert Renauer (29, Germany) and Norbert Siedler (31, Austria / TONINO Team Herberth). “We´ve already proved with our podium at the Slovakia Ring that we can compete with the front-runners. However, to actually clinch the win is just fantastic,” said Jahn. RWT Racing Team boss Gerd Beisel was also lost for words after his team´s maiden victory in the ADAC GT Masters. “I´m totally overcome. We won as a result of our own efforts and didn´t make any mistakes.”


Jahn gains after mistake by pole-sitter Day at the start

Pole-sitter Alon Day held onto the lead for only a very short time in the Mercedes-Benz. The Israeli driver locked up in the first turn and had to run wide to the outside, allowing Jahn to take out a lead in the Corvette on Porsche driver Renauer. Day told us: “Unfortunately, I was a bit too optimistic about my braking point but missed running into the gravel bed, luckily.” While Jahn ensured that a Corvette took the lead, dreams of a successful title defence by fellow Corvette driver Daniel Keilwitz (25, Germany, Callaway Competition) received a set-back. In an accident in the Mercedes arena during the start, the Corvette bearing #1 driven by Keilwitz´s team-mate Andreas Wirth (29, Germany) had to retire from the race, as did Nico Bastian (24, Germany, ROWE RACING) and Sebastian Asch (28, Germany / Farnbacher Racing) in a Porsche 911. The safety car came out for two laps after the collision, and on the restart, Jahn retained P1 in the Corvette. Renauer and Day shadowed Jahn in his slipstream right up until the mandatory pit-stop.


After the driver change-over, Barth edged out in front, momentarily extending his lead to as much as 3.7 seconds. The line-up behind Barth changed several times in the second half of the race. Ludwig took second place from Norbert Siedler thanks to a better timed pit-stop. Positions remained the same until the final lap, when Barth was once again in danger of losing his lead over the final few metres. Barth: “I was stuck in third gear in the final chicane but fortunately managed to make it to the finish line.”


“The Porsche piled on the pressure in the first half of the race, but I managed to control the lead,” said Jahn, talking about the start period. “We were bunched very close together, but I was never in any danger. We´re really pleased but haven´t really had time to take in this victory yet.”


Ex-DTM driver Maro Engel (29, Germany) and Jan Seyffarth (28, Germany / ROWE RACING) in fourth position achieved their best result of the season so far in the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Jaap van Lagen (37, Netherlands) along with Christian Engelhart (27, Germany / GW IT Racing Team Schütz Motorsport) crossed the finish line in fifth place. The Dutchman reclaimed the lead at the head of the standings after former front-runners Claudia Hürtgen (42, Germany) and Dominik Baumann (21, Austria / PIXUM Team Schubert) placed ninth. Kelvin van der Linde (18, South Africa) and René Rast (27, Germany / Prosperia C Abt Racing) finished sixth in the Audi R8, jumping up into second place in the standings as a result.


Ex-DTM driver Renger van der Zande (26, Netherlands) got off to a good start in the ADAC GT Masters, booking seventh place along with Maximilian Götz (28, Germany / HTP Motorsport) ahead of the Audi R8 driven by ex-Formula 1 driver Markus Winkelhock (34, Germany) and Christer Jöns (27, Germany / both Prosperia C Abt Racing). Mathias Lauda (33, Austria) in another gull-wing Mercedes placed tenth at his second ADAC GT Masters race weekend along with Luca Stolz (19, Germany / both HTP Motorsport).


Seiler wins Gentlemen Class

Toni Seiler (56, Switzerland) made this a clean sweep for Corvette at the Nürburgring. The Swiss driver took his Corvette to victory in the Gentlemen Class, aided by Jeroen Bleekemolen (32, Netherlands / both Callaway Competition). Remo Lips (32, Switzerland) and ADAC Sports Foundation protégé Lennart Marioneck (25, Germany / both Callaway Competition) ensured a one-two victory for Corvette, consigning Herbert Handlos (31, Austria / TONINO Team Herberth), who leads the Gentlemen standings, to third place.



Photos by Johannes Brock  August 2014

Words by PR materials

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