BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert has won the Team Championship in the ADAC GT Masters for the first time in the team’s history. After narrowly missing out on two titles, a fourth place and a third place for Dominik Baumann (AT) and BMW DTM driver Bruno Spengler (CA) on the final race weekend of the season at the Hockenheimring (DE) proved enough to catch and pass the Zakspeed team, who had come into the final weekend with a twelve-point lead.
The Team title was consolation for the fact that Dominik Baumann was unable to reel in Sebastian Asch (DE) and Luca Ludwig (DE) in the Drivers’ Championship, despite fighting hard and producing a magnificent comeback on his birthday. In the end, the 23-year-old, who arrived at Hockenheim trailing the leaders by 31 points, came up just 13 points short with a season total of 186 points. Baumann’s regular partner Jens Klingmann (DE), whose outing for BMW Motorsport in the United SportsCar Championship (USCC) in Road Atlanta (US) meant he was unable to start in Hockenheim and was replaced by Spengler, ended the year in third place with 156 points.
The weekend proved to be a miserable one for Claudia Hürtgen (DE) and debutant Niklas Mackschin (DE). In race one, Mackschin was forced to retire on lap one after a big crash, from which he fortunately emerged unhurt. The number 19 BMW Z4 GT3 was so badly damaged that it was unable to start on Sunday.
Baumann had been able to call upon some top-class reinforcement in the number 80 BMW Z4 GT3 powered by HUAWEI, in the form of BMW DTM driver Spengler. Baumann produced an impressive opening stint in Sunday’s final race to climb into fourth place and pull well clear of the rivals from Zakspeed. After the driver changeover, Spengler made up another position to earn a spot on the podium.
Mere seconds separated horror, relief and new title aspirations in race one. Mackschin, who had turned 21 the previous day, was shunted by another car just metres into his debut and had no chance of regaining control of the car. He hit the crash barriers at speed before skidding back onto the track. There was huge relief among the team when Mackschin immediately climbed out of his BMW Z4 GT3, which was a total write-off. Just a few metres and a matter of seconds later, Baumann and the team’s chances of securing the title improved dramatically when overall leaders Asch/Ludwig collided with third-placed Klaus Bachler (AT). Both crashed out. Asch/Ludwig were subsequently relegated three places on the grid for race two. Baumann/Spengler finished fourth, meaning Baumann started the final race 19 points off the lead. In the Team competition, meanwhile, BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert pulled level on points with Zakspeed, but topped the overall standings due to a higher number of race wins.
Torsten Schubert (Team Principal): “Winning the Team title is a great success for our team and a nice way to bid farewell to the BMW Z4 GT3. The fact that we came up just short of winning the Drivers’ Championship was not down to this weekend. We lost it at the start of the season. We scored heavily in the final races. We will now celebrate the team title and second and third place in the Drivers’ Championship for Dominik and Jens, who I am sure did not expect to end the season third. Bruno Spengler did a superb job. It was a great pleasure to work with him at a race for the first time.”
Timo Frings (Team Manager): “Today is tinged with a bit of disappointment that we were unable to pull off the impossible and still win the Drivers’ title, even though Bruno and Dominik did a mega job. However, I am sure we will all be pleased about our first Team title tomorrow – if not before. I would like to thank Torsten Schubert, who made this project possible, our drivers and, in particular, all our engineers and mechanics, who have done a very good job all year.”
Claudia Hürtgen (BMW Z4 GT3 #19): “The team thoroughly deserves this title, having missed out by a whisker twice in the past. It has been a season of highs and lows for me. Unfortunately the great weekend at the Sachsenring was followed by nothing but lows. The last two weekends were very disappointing. It is good that Niklas was not hurt in the crash. As soon as I saw his car flying through the air I left the garage immediately.”
Niklas Mackschin (BMW Z4 GT3 #19): “I obviously hoped my first race in the ADAC GT Masters would turn out differently and, above all, would be a bit longer. I actually made a good start and was well positioned until the impact from behind. After that, I had no chance to avoid the crash. I am very happy that I emerged from the car in one piece. Fortunately the car is built to be very safe. Thank you to the team, who made me very welcome. I felt right at home.”
Dominik Baumann (BMW Z4 GT3 powered by HUAWEI #80): “For the team, the title is great confirmation that they have done a very good job all year. For a driver, the Drivers’ Championship is obviously the biggest goal. However, I remain realistic, as an awful lot more would have had to come together for me to emerge triumphant in that competition. Even if we had won the final race, it still would not have been enough. Congratulations to Sebastian and Luca, who were very impressive all season. Bruno Spengler once again added a few new ideas and fresh impetus. He was in very good form here, is ultra-professional and is a very nice guy.”
Bruno Spengler (BMW Z4 GT3 powered by HUAWEI #80): “The Team title is the reward for the great work put in throughout an entire season. I would obviously have liked to help Dominik to the Drivers’ title. We tried everything, but in the end it was important to score points for the team. The guest appearance here in the ADAC GT Masters was very enjoyable. It is a great series with good drivers, and is very fiercely-competitive.”