Review of the 2020 season
A difficult 2020 season has come to an end but, looking back, I am happy with what I achieved this year.
NLS: In the NLS, I competed in four out of five races and managed six wins and two second places. It wasn't enough for a class championship because I didn't start in the fifth race. However, my team mates won the CUP3 and SP7 - congratulations!
Le Mans Cup: At the end of the season we were able to finish second in Portimao. This result finally reflects the performance we have had since the third round. The enormous bad luck that has accompanied us since the race in Spa-Francorchamps made it impossible for us to convert the performance into results. At the finale in Portimao we finally managed to get on the podium, hopefully a good sign for the 2021 season!
IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge: In the USA I was able to support my protégé Efrin from September. Efrin has improved extremely since his first race in the GT3 Cup car at the beginning of 2019 and has had a really impressive season. In the end, he finished runner-up in his class. The fact that he is the fastest driver is proven by the enormous number of pole positions and fastest race laps, but he has also repeatedly lacked the necessary bit of luck.
IMSA Lamborghini Super Trofeo: A new project that I was allowed to start at the season finale in Sebring. Here I drive together with the car owner on his Lamborghini Huracan and help him to improve steadily. In the 2021 season I will also be behind the wheel and compete in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America together with Tom.
News about the 2021 season will be posted here soon!
IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge at Road Atlanta
Finally I was able to cross the pond again to help my student Efrin with words and deeds in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge. Due to the situation around COVID-19, this year there is no longer the possibility for me to test the car on Thursdays before the event.
So I had to fall back on data from last year, which we could compensate very well: Two pole positions, two fastest race laps and two victories - it couldn't be better! With the two victories, Efrin was able to get back into the fight for the title. The cooperation with Efrin's new team "TPC Racing" was also highly professional. In three weeks, the race will continue in Mid Ohio!
Michelin Le Mans Cup in Le Castellet II - Performance for winning but bad luck strikes
The third race weekend of the Le Mans Cup took us back to Le Castellet. The free practice sessions showed a clear upward trend, as we were able to get much closer to the top.
In qualifying, things were a bit more difficult. The front tires didn't get up to temperature fast enough, so I had to settle for fourth place. In the race I drove the start and in the first half hour I was able to move up to second place. Then the rain came and with it the problems started: A power failure, probably caused by the rain, was the reason that we lost our no radio communication. The lack of communication with the pits caused extreme time losses during the pit stops, so that in the end we only finished in eleventh place.
A very sobering result as we had the performance to compete for victory. The next race will be in Le Mans, certainly the season highlight for me this season!
Michelin Le Mans Cup in Spa-Francorchamps - a difficult race weekend!
The race weekend in Spa started already on Wednesday with two sessions at the so-called Collective Tests, on Friday the first and second free practice and the Bronze Test were scheduled. On Saturday qualifying and the race.
We were much closer to the top right from the start and were able to collect important data on Wednesday and during the first free practice session. But at the Bronze Test my teammate in the Eau Rouge / Le Radillion area had an accident. The damage to the car could not be repaired anymore, so our mechanics had to completely set up and tune a second car on the night from Friday to Saturday. Accordingly, the race day turned out to be very difficult and with position 11 in the race we were beaten clearly under value.
On the positive side, we were able to gather a lot of important data and knowledge to make the next steps towards the top.
A successful first race weekend in the LMP3 is behind us!
The test drives on Thursday were used to work out a race setup and also in the free practice sessions we concentrated completely on the race performance.
Unfortunately, we had some technical problems in the qualification, so that my team mate could only drive a single flying lap at the end: Starting position 16 was the result.
In the first hour of the race, however, my team mate Tom was able to move up to ninth place. I was then able to move up to fifth place in the second hour of the race. A time penalty for the competition even meant fourth place in the end!
Now we will analyse the race and the data to prepare for the next race from 07.08.08 to 08.08 in Spa-Francorchamps.
Let's go! This year, I will be allowed to drive a Protoytpen program in addition to my GT program in the NLS and at the ADAC 24h races!
With a Duqueine D08 LMP3 I will start in the Michelin Le Mans Cup to gain first experiences in the LMP3 area. The first rollout in Spa-Francorchamps was promising, from 16-18.07 we will start the first race weekend in Le Castellet, France!
With some delay the NLS started into its season and we could make a really good start into the season with both cars!
At NLS1 we could win the GT3 Cup as well as the GT4 Trophy and so we could take home the first silverware from the Nürburgring Nordschleife!
At the rounds 2 & 3 it went on like this: four times P1! However, after the second run there was a decision of the race director to be discussed, so that we could celebrate with the GT3 Cup "only" the second place. But all in all it is an absolutely satisfying start with five wins and a second place from the first six races!
The first race of the season took place at the Autodromo do Algarve in Portimao.
With a double start, again GT3 Cup and GT4, I entered the first race of the season, which was also the first 24h race for this year. Due to the difficult to assess situation around Covid-19 the start was relatively late.
We were able to do a flawless job with both cars and thus achieve the first two victories in the 2020 season.
The test day to prepare for the new season in the former VLN, now NLS, which stands for Nürburgring Endurance Series, took place on March 14 with the best weather the Eifel could think of.
With the GT4 Competition as well as with the GT3 Cup I went on the track to get new approaches in the setup area, because especially the GT3 Cup had to undergo some changes with the change to the SP7 class.
However, the first two events are already cancelled, because the current crisis situation around COVID-19 does not stop at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. So it remains to be seen when it goes on
for us here.
At the beginning of March, in preparation for the Michelin LeMans Cup 2020 in Barcelona, the team got behind the wheel of the new Duqueine D08 LMP3.
During the first two days of testing I was able to get used to the new car very well and together with the car engineer of Duqueine the times in the qualifying simulation were really promising, especially since we had the reigning champion as a reference in the car as well.
In the current COVID-19 crisis the first two events of the Michelin Le Mans Cup have been cancelled, an absolutely understandable decision. For this reason, we have to wait and see how this crisis situation develops and how it will continue.
In the2020 season I will start again in the NLS (former VLN) and the ADAC 24h race on the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Furthermore, I will also be involved in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge and the Porsche Sports Cup, so that my racing calendar with 22 race weekends and many test drives is very full again.
In addition to my racing activities, I'm also back on selected weekends for Apex Nürburg as a driver in an Apex Taxi on the Nordschleife. Additionally I am working with Apex on an interesting project, more about this later!