At the season-opening weekend of the ADAC GT Masters, the best Porsche 911 GT3 R scored fourth in a thrilling race on Sunday. Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet (F) and Robert Renauer (D) drove a gutsy race for their Precote Herberth Motorsport team and fought a gripping duel for the podium. The GT3 R manned by the two-time outright Le Mans winner Timo Bernhard (D) and his works driver teammate Kévin Estre (F) saw the flag in seventh place. IronForce by Ring Police with drivers Jan-Erik Slooten (D) and Lucas Luhr (D) secured a podium finish ranking third in the ADAC GT Masters Trophy class.
In a turbulent second race of the season with two safety car phases, the ca. 500 hp GT3 R delivered a commendable performance. The vehicle fielded by Precote Herberth Motorsport took up the race from position seven on the grid. Early on, start driver Jaminet lost four places in the initial turmoil of the 35-strong field. However the 23-year-old Frenchman gradually worked his way up the ranks to sit sixth at the half-way mark. A late pit stop earned the team fourth place, where a fierce battle for fourth broke out. When the safety car was deployed six minutes before the end of the race, the field again bunched together. However, the one final free lap was not enough to clinch a podium spot. “I had to brake hard for a collision in the first lap to avoid a serious accident and retirement. Afterwards I managed to make up several places, although it’s very difficult to overtake on this racetrack,” said Jaminet.
As seventh and thus the second best Porsche, the KÜS Team75 Bernhard squad earned their first championship points with the sports car world champion Bernhard and Estre. Taking up the race from twelfth on the grid, start driver Estre made good ground with his 911 GT3 R to reach position nine. In brilliant sunshine and a temperature of 17 degrees Celsius, Bernhard crossed the finish line in seventh place. “The driver line-up in our team is new so we first have to get used to each other. We’ve learned a great deal during this weekend, which we’ll take with us to the next race weekend,” explained Bernhard.
The sister car run by Team75 driven by the Belgian Adrien de Leener and Klaus Bachler from Austria finished the 60-minute race in twelfth. “We made up seven places in the race and our speed was good. At the next race weekend we need to be two to three tenths of a second faster in qualifying to make it into the top five,” said Bachler.
The black and white liveried Porsche 911 GT3 R campaigned by the IronForce by Ring Police team saw the flag in 22nd. The amateur pilot Jan-Erik Slooten and Lucas Luhr secured a spot on the podium in the special Trophy category. “Our setup was better compared to the first race, however we have a lot of work ahead of us. In race two we enjoyed some gripping and fair fights out on the track and managed to advance up to sixth place,” explained the team founder and driver Jan-Erik Slooten.
Marc Lieb, Manager of Customer Racing, said: “We witnessed a great performance from our customer teams in the second race. The hope for a podium result was there and all of our driver pairings managed to make up places in the race. The qualifying on tracks like Oschersleben plays an important role because it’s difficult to overtake. In this area, we still see a need to do better in the upcoming races and we can improve on this. Technically, everything ran smoothly over the weekend.”
Races three and four of the ADAC GT Masters are held from 27 to 29 April at the Autodrom Most. The 4.148-kilometre circuit in the Czech Republic hosts the series for the first time. Seven race weekends in four countries make up the 2018 calendar.