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ADAC GT MASTERS 2021
A STRONG START NOT FULLY REWARDED
It was expected to be tough for Callaway Competition at the season opener in Oschersleben: A strong performance in qualifying and a solid fourth place on the grid for the Sunday race didn’t pay off. Instead, a crash caused bitter disappointment. The knowledge gained and the season’s first points from the Saturday race provide confidence for this season.
Last weekend (May 14-16), it happened again. With the first and second races of the ADAC GT Masters series, the 2021 season of the “League of Super Sports Cars” commenced. It was a fast and exciting start to the 15th edition of the German GT Championship, letting the engines rev at the Motorsport-Arena Oschersleben.
Also this year, due to the ongoing Corona pandemic, the German Corvette team from Leingarten had to start its 15th ADAC GT Masters season in front of empty spectator stands and changing weather conditions.
The new Callaway driver duo, consisting of returning Marvin Kirchhöfer (27 / Leipzig) and the Swiss Jeffrey Schmidt (27 / Liestal), presented themselves as a tight-knit unit from the start and improved steadily from one session to the next.
In the first qualifying session, Jeffrey Schmidt still lacked a bit of luck for a better starting position. In his fast lap, of all places, qualification was canceled because of a disabled racecar on the track.
The first of the two races started late on Saturday afternoon. From Position 11 on the starting grid, Schmidt had to let two racers pass during the chaos at the start so as not to risk anything and fell in line in 13th position. Later, another driver managed to get past the 27-year-old Swiss in a hard-nosed battle. Schmidt kept up, but overtaking on the Magdeburger Börde racetrack proved difficult to complete. Kirchhöfer took over the #77 Corvette in the middle of the race in 14th place and was able to make up one position towards the end, and the first points were tallied.
The next step forward at Sunday noon. Marvin Kirchhöfer qualified the Corvette with fourth place starting in the second row and hopes for a podium in the second race were high. However, these were quickly nipped in the bud during the first lap. Immediately before the race there was a heavy rain shower, so the race started with rain tires. At the exit of the third turn, the former Formula 1 driver Markus Winkelhock lost control of his Audi on the wet track and touched Kirchhöfer just enough that he lost control of the Corvette and crashed into the boundary. Unfortunately, the Leipzig driver's Corvette was so damaged that it was impossible to continue and it had to be parked in the pits after just one lap.
It was a bitter, disappointing end to a weekend that began so strongly. However, when the weekend is viewed as a whole, one can look forward to the rest of the season with confidence.
In mid-June, Callaway Competition will head to the Red Bull Ring, where they plan to be among the frontrunners again.
“The weekend is, of course, difficult to digest. But I see it from the positive side. We improved continuously from Thursday to Sunday and made good progress. This is very important to me and I’m very confident about the coming races. I'm so sorry for the team as they worked so hard over the past few days and haven't been rewarded. They deserved to enjoy success too. I think we'll have more chances as the season progresses to bring home victories. I have a good feeling about the next races and I'm happy to be part of the team again.” Driver Marvin Kirchhöfer
“First of all, thanks to all of our partners, sponsors and, above all, the team, that this GT Masters venture can be continued. Big kudos to the guys from the team; they delivered a great performance. We improved step-by-step, learned a lot and held many meetings. We had a great car for Saturday and Sunday, but we didn't have the necessary racing luck on our side. But I think the stars are good that this will change soon. The team is very well positioned and I'm looking forward to the next race.” Driver Jeffrey Schmidt
“Even though the outcome of the Sunday race was, of course, disappointing, we can look forward to the upcoming races confidently, given the performance shown. Special thanks also go to every single one of our team which, despite some restructuring, worked perfectly." Crew Chief Mike Gramke
Text: A. Dannenberg / Motorsport-Karriere
Photos: Axel Weichert
English Translation: M. Vendetto / www.vendetto-marketing.com