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SSR Performance: From ADAC GT Masters newbies to double champions

What an achievement! In their debut year in the ADAC GT Masters, Munich-based SSR Performance have not only won the drivers’ title thanks to the efforts of Michael Ammermüller (34, GER) and Christian Engelhart (33, GER) but also the highly competitive team classification. “I am simply speechless,” said SSR Performance Managing Director Stefan Schlund after the two podium ceremonies. “Today was really not a day for anyone of a nervous disposition. I congratulate our drivers and the whole team on this sensational performance.”

After a highly instructive guest appearance at Hockenheim in 2019 – the first ever Super Sports Car League outing for SSR Performance – the team contested its first complete season in the series this year with a Porsche 911 GT3 R. Two veterans of the sports car brand were recruited as drivers, namely Michael Ammermüller (34, GER) and Christian Engelhart (33, GER). It was an encouraging debut: in the season opener at the Lausitzring, they booked their first podium finish with a P2; two weeks later at the Nürburgring came their first pole position and race victory. At Hockenheim, Ammermüller and Engelhart made further progress, chalking up victory number two and moving briefly to the top of the drivers’ and team standings. From then on, SSR Performance were consistently within striking distance of the championship leaders, eventually taking over at the top on the final weekend after posting win number three.

 
The team management had not been expecting the season to be so successful. “Sure, we wanted to be competitive and get ourselves established,” says team boss Wolfgang Hatz, who counts as the father of Porsche’s successful LMP1 project and therefore brought a lot of motorsport experience to the team. “But we didn’t think that we would be in contention for the championship right away. No one could have foreseen that. After all, the ADAC GT Masters is probably the most competitive national GT3 series in the world, with so many professional teams in the line-up, and it would be presumptuous to think that, as a newcomer without much experience, you can be competing right at the front of the field.” SSR Managing Director Stefan Schlund adds: “We had not set ourselves any specific target, but we had hoped that we could position ourselves somewhere around the P5 to P7 mark – which is already impressive in the ADAC GT Masters anyway.”
 
Wolfgang Hatz sees several factors contributing to the successful debut: “One absolutely basic requirement is to have the right people in the right positions in the team. The second point is perfect preparation of the car. We do not make any compromises in this regard. And the third factor is that we have two good drivers who have made the most of what we’ve given them.” In the initial phase, the team did not find it easy to sign top drivers. “I wanted to put together a professional team in the first year and to choose the drivers myself,” says Schlund. “Of course, I had to do a lot of persuading, because nobody in motorsport had heard of SSR Performance. But the trust we placed in Christian and Michael has paid off.”
 
SSR Performance left nothing to chance in their quest for success. Copious testing served as preparation, and to compensate for the initial lack of experience in certain areas of the team, SSR Performance enlisted the support of Manthey-Racing. “If you try to work out everything for yourself, it will cost you in the end,” says Stefan Schlund. “We wanted to avoid that, so we brought in good teachers to help out.” Team manager Wolfgang Hatz takes a similar view: “That was important for us in the beginning. Some of our people were completely new to motorsport, and in that way, we were able to show them how things work and what processes are involved. I have to compliment everyone. Throughout the year, we didn’t make any avoidable errors. Mistakes are always going to happen, that’s normal, but you have to make sure they are not repeated. And the guys have always done a perfect job.”
 
There was also a lot of praise forthcoming from the two drivers. “We’ve had a great team spirit,” says Michael Ammermüller. “Everyone could rely on everyone else.” Partner Christian Engelhart concurs: “An incredible season – we’ve done it! Together with Michael, I’ve managed to have a great season. The team provided us with a perfect car, and we didn’t have the slightest technical problem during the whole season.”
 
SSR Performance see motor racing as a platform
2020 has been an important year for SSR Performance GmbH, and not only because of the two title wins in the ADAC GT Masters. The company, which was founded in 2016 and quickly made a name for itself in the development, upgrading and optimisation of sports cars as well as classic cars, opened its new High Performance Automotive Center in a northern suburb of Munich at the beginning of this year. The premises extend over six floors and approximately 10,000 square metres of floor space: “For us, the prestigious ADAC GT Masters offers an excellent platform to showcase our company and its products.”

Source. ADAC GT Masters

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