Dear Racing Fans
I recently took part in my third ADAC GT Masters race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. One thing was clear from the get-go: we were going to fight our way to the front in spite of the tricky conditions.
We knew right from the start that we had a tough weekend ahead of us. This track has very long straights, which isn’t ideal for the Audi R8 LMS due to its relatively low top speed. On top of all that, we had to deal with a slight setback during the practice sessions on Thursday and Friday due to a few technical issues. But we managed to quickly find a race setup that we were pretty sure would get us where we wanted to be.
I ended Saturday’s qualifying session in 21st position on the grid. Given the circumstances it was the best we could have hoped for. After we carried out a couple of slight adjustments to the car’s setup, I made a strong start to the race and was able to make up a few places right away. I managed to fight my way up to 17th place before the pit window. My team colleague Christopher then got behind the wheel and immediately benefited from the safety car backing up the pack. He was able to leapfrog the four-way battle in front of him, gaining four places in one go, which really gave us a boost. And the field backed up one more time as the safety car returned. This allowed Christopher to make up three more places with some great overtaking maneuvers. At the end of the first race, we had managed to jump 11 places from 21st to 10th and got another championship point.
Christopher drove during qualifying on Sunday. The time for his quickest lap was scratched as he exceeded the track limits. Unfortunately, this meant that he only qualified in 24th place.
The sun was really beating down when the race started, but heavy rain had started to fall by the second lap. A lot of the drivers changed to wet tires right away (the pit stops lasted around a minute). We decided to try and stay out on slicks until the pit window. And Christopher did this brilliantly. Driving a GT3 car on slicks in the wet without spinning off the track or losing time to drivers on wets is no mean feat! I then got into the car on wets, and the weather improved more quickly than we had expected. During the final stages of the race, we lost four of our hard earned places driving on wets on a dry track.
Despite the poor result we can still look back on a positive weekend overall. In total we gained 20 places and were involved in some exciting but fair challenges for places. Favre-Leuba’s brand claim, “Conquering Frontiers”, really inspires me when racing and is something that I experienced in its purest form on the track, as we overcame all obstacles by fighting as a team.
We are already looking forward to the next race weekends. The Audi is ideally suited to the next few tracks we will race on, so we should be able to secure top-ten or even podium spots. Up next is the famous Nürburgring on the first weekend in August.