- High tension in the battle for the 2021 German GT Championship title
- The penultimate race weekend at Hockenheim may bring the preliminary decision
- The top 3 in the championship do not dare to make any predictions in view of the high level of competition
The battle for the 2021 ADAC GT Masters title is still wide open. Four rounds before the end of the season, with 112 points to be awarded, no fewer than 38 drivers can still mathematically put on the championship crown. And in view of the enormous power density in the field of almost 30 GT3 sportscars from six brands (Audi, BMW, Corvette, Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG, Porsche), no one is going to go far out on a limb with their predictions.
The penultimate race weekend at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, however, will thin out the circle of title contenders considerably or may even lead to a preliminary decision. Nobody can afford to make any mistakes now, and the pressure on the championship contenders is increasing. Even if the top three in the intermediate standings, who naturally have the best prerequisites at the moment, firmly reject this.
“We’re doing our thing, as we’ve been doing all year, and we’re only looking at ourselves,” emphasises Christopher Mies (31, Düsseldorf), who is leading the overall standings together with his partner Ricardo Feller (21, Switzerland) in the Audi R8 LMS of the Montaplast by Land-Motorsport team, but is only bringing a lead of two points to Hockenheim. It sounds a similar story for the closest pursuers, Maro Engel (36, Monaco) and Luca Stolz (26, Brachbach) in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Toksport WRT. “We are in good shape, have a strong package and scored plenty of points at the Sachsenring. But that doesn’t change our approach for the time being. We’ll continue to take it race by race,” says Engel.
Defending champion Michael Ammermüller (35, Rotthalmünster), who shares the SSR Performance Porsche 911 GT3-R with Mathieu Jaminet (26, France) this season and is currently eleven points behind Mies/Feller, also says he doesn’t feel any increased pressure: “We still have to catch up, so it’s all about scoring as many points as possible. But that’s been the case all year. It always involves a bit of luck, and that won’t be any different at Hockenheim.”
It is almost impossible to identify a role for the favourites. Especially as the 4.5-kilometre Grand Prix circuit at Hockenheim, with its diverse characteristics, does not favour any vehicle concept. “We are not the favourites in terms of performance,” says Mies. “Our big advantage is that Ricky and I have the same driving style and therefore identical preferences when it comes to set-up. Others have to make greater compromises there.” Engel doesn’t want to commit himself at all: “The performance density in the ADAC GT Masters is incredibly high. It’s not without reason that the series has been elevated to the status of a German GT Championship. I have the feeling that the series has gone up another notch, it’s even tighter than in previous years.” Ammermüller also points to the car ratings: “The cars are always so close together that a few kilos up or down can have a big impact. I think we are in a good position, we won a race at Hockenheim last year with the Porsche. Let’s see what the weather will be like …”
As always, given the enormous power density, which regularly manifests itself in more than 20 cars in a second in qualifying, the little things count. Mies: “A good qualifying session is the be-all and end-all in the ADAC GT Masters. Only those who are at the front have a chance of a top result. You need a good strategy for that. Because if you come out at an awkward position in the field after the mandatory pit stop, you lose a few positions very quickly.” Engel also mentions a special feature of the Hockenheimring: “The track can change quite quickly. So it will be important to get the perfect balance for the respective track conditions.” “If you want to get on the podium, you have to start in the top five, because the pace from qualifying is usually also the pace in the race,” adds Ammermüller. “And if you start at the back, you always run the risk of getting involved in a fight after the start – and that’s what the hairpin at Hockenheim is predestined for.”
The top three in the standings are also unanimous on another point: they all always enjoy coming to the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg. “I really like the Grand Prix circuit because it is so varied,” enthuses Chris Mies. “It’s also modern, but old-school in a way, with gravel beds that you can dig yourself into really quickly if you go over the top. So catching a perfect lap takes courage and flair.” Maro Engel blows the same horn: “The Hockenheimring has a wide range of requirements, a bit of everything – fast corners, slow corners, technically difficult sections, but also long straights. Plus the kerbs, which you always have to include in your racing line. I really enjoy racing there.” Defending champion Michael Ammermüller: “Because the track characteristics are so variable, every car concept can play to its strengths somewhere. That’s why it’s always particularly close at Hockenheim. I’m really looking forward to it again!”
The best thing about it, according to the veteran Engel, is the fact that spectators will finally be able to watch the thrilling action again: “GT sport thrives on the exchange with the fans. That has been sorely lacking.”
Tickets include paddock access
The penultimate meeting of the 2021 German GT Championship and the attractive supporting races can be watched live on site. Ticket prices are, as always, extremely moderate, all tickets include paddock access as well as the opportunity to pitwalk.
Friday, 22 October: 10 EUR
Saturday, 23 October: 25 EUR
Sunday, 24 October: 25 EUR
Weekend (Fri-Sun): 40 EUR
Tickets are available via www.adac.de/motorsport and www.hockenheimring.de, by phone via the hotline +49 (0)6205 950 222 or via the ADAC offices.
Image: ADAC Motorsport