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ADAC GT MASTERS 2021
POINTS-RICH SPECTACLE IN THE ZANDVOORT DUNES
Callaway Competition confirmed its good form in Zandvoort. The only Corvette racing team in the ADAC GT Masters scored important points at the third meeting of the ADAC GT Masters season on the Dutch North Sea coast and remains near the top of the championship standings. With a strong team effort, Jeffrey Schmidt and Marvin Kirchhöfer fought their way to P7 and P4.
Inspired by the terrific second event of the season, four weeks ago at the Red Bull Ring in Styria, Austria, where Callaway Competition took its first win of the season, the hard-working team from Leingarten in Baden-Württemberg, Germany traveled to the Dutch North Sea coast in Zandvoort last weekend, July 9th to 11th, for the second ADAC GT Masters weekend held outside Germany.
The newly rebuilt course in the Dutch North Sea resort of Zandvoort, around 40 kilometers west of Amsterdam, is one of the most challenging tracks on the ADAC GT Masters racing calendar. Even though Callaway Competition has been able to celebrate successes here in the past, the racetrack is not necessarily a Corvette track. Consequently, even before the race weekend began, team boss Mike Gramke’s crew understood that they had to be prepared for a difficult task.
The only Corvette team in the “League of Super Sports Cars” championship had done its homework. In the few practice sessions, they were able to develop a plan to let them have a say in the points chase.
During Saturday's qualifying, Corvette driver Jeffrey Schmidt (27 / Liestal, Switzerland) was the victim of numerous interruptions once again, such that he was denied a better starting position. In Saturday's race, Jeffrey Schmidt and his teammate Marvin Kirchhöfer (27 / Leipzig, Germany), started from P12 and fought to gain five positions. On the first day of the race weekend, they were able to score critical championship points with a good seventh place finish.
Marvin Kirchhöfer had a little more luck in qualifying on Sunday. The Leipziger, who is participating in his third season in the Corvette C7 GT3-R for Callaway Competition, secured fifth starting position in a very competitive qualifying session. The second run of the race weekend was less spectacular for the Corvette team. Early in the race, the #77 Corvette was able to gain a position because of a problem with a Lamborghini. The Lamborghini held up the remaining field considerably, which gave the Corvette a slight advantage. However, it wasn’t enough to attack the podium. Even late safety car laps could not help. The Callaway team finished fourth.
The third ADAC GT Masters race weekend in Zandvoort, Netherlands was certainly more successful than expected. Much more successful than its last appearance two years ago at Zandvoort, when Callaway Competition had to return home with zero points. This time, the world looked much better.
The longest-serving team in the “League” remains in the battle for the championship with 68 points, in fifth place overall. And because the leading competitors did not score any points in the Sunday race, the Corvette duo moved closer to the top quartet. Only one point separates them from third and fourth place.
Neither the sand on the track nor the stiff North Sea breeze could stop the German-Swiss combination, which seemed to be coping well with the reconfigured Formula 1 racetrack.
“I'm really happy after the weekend. On Saturday, things went really well for us with a seventh-place finish. We were able to lay the foundation for Sunday in qualifying. Of course, we were a little lucky with all the safety car phases. To be honest, we didn't really have the speed to start fifth. We knew that Zandvoort would be a difficult track for us. Under the circumstances, I'm even happier with fourth place on Sunday than third place at the Red Bull Ring. We made the best of it and the track renovation certainly suited us, even if nothing changed in sector two, which is what worried us the most. I'm excited to see how we can handle the next mission at the Nürburgring.” – Marvin Kirchhöfer
“The starting position was not easy for us. The racetrack has never really been a Corvette course, and many other teams had already been testing there and we hadn't. But I think that's what sets us apart as a team; we're working so well this year. We were able to set up the car incredibly well during the two practice sessions and really scored a lot of points this weekend. The second free practice went even better than the first, because the team did such a great job between the sessions. On Saturday, we couldn't quite turn the success of the second practice session into a good qualifying session, however. Once again, the red flags held us up. Thanks to the great teamwork, we were able to finish seventh in the Saturday race, which earned us important points. The fourth-place finish on Sunday was the absolute greatest. More than that certainly wouldn’t have been possible, so fourth place at Zandvoort feels like a victory. We’re happy to take that with us because the championship is really very close.” – Jeffrey Schmidt
“The weekend went unexpectedly better than expected. Naturally, we were also a little lucky at one point or another, but that is just as much a part of it as bad luck. We actually had no chance against the fastest competitors, with a real gap of five-tenths of a second per lap. With such a deficit, you usually don't get that many points in the ADAC GT Masters. We are absolutely satisfied with the results and now we’re looking forward to the next task." – Mike Gramke (Team Boss)
Text: A.Dannenberg / Motorsport-Karriere.de
Photo: Axel Weichert & Bernd Röttgers