(Motorsport-Total.com) – After the most exciting year in the history of the series so far, the GT Masters is looking for the Champions 2019. At the season opener in Oschersleben next weekend (26-28 April), who has made the best use of the winter break and whom the best start to the new season succeeds.
Victory candidates are many: 19 teams with supercars from Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Corvette, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes AMG or Porsche compete in the first two races of the season. Both races will be broadcast live and in full length by SPORT1 on Saturday and Sunday (starting at 1:00 pm). In addition, they are online in the livestream on sport1.de to see.
That the power density in the GT Masters will be high again this year, already hinted at the preseason test: With Audi, Porsche, Corvette and Ferrari, four of the eight represented brands achieved at least one fastest time in the six test sessions.
How difficult a prognosis is for the opening, is also the view into the winner list of the track near Magdeburg: In the past eight races there have won vehicles from seven different manufacturers. The unpredictability also underlines the success of serial newcomers in Oschersleben. So Luca Ludwig scored a double victory in 2009, Kelvin van der Linde won in 2014 as the youngest driver to date and last year were among the four winners three rookies.
Photo gallery: GT-Masters 2019: All teams and drivers
# 1 – Herberth Motorsport – Thomas Preining / Robert Renauer – Porsche 911 GT3 R photo gallery
"Oschersleben is a challenging course that is a lot of fun," says Audi driver Max Hofer (Land Motorsport), last year with Philip Ellis winner of Saturday's race and now new teammate of former champion Christopher Mies. "Oschersleben is one of my favorite tracks as the driver can still make a difference."
"The fact that there are often surprises there may also be due to the fact that at the first race of the season after the long winter break, not all drivers are able to get their performance to the point, which is a disadvantage especially in qualifying, because overtaking in Oschersleben is not easy is, a good starting position is very important. "
Confident for the season opener is defending champion Robert Renauer. With Porsche Carrera Cup champion Thomas Preining, the Bavarian has a new teammate who has already made a promising impression at the preseason test with a best time in the new Porsche 911 GT3 R.
"The anticipation for the season and especially for the new car is great," said Renauer. "We are glad that we were able to put together a good package for the title defense project, it is difficult to make any predictions as the starting field is again very well filled, of course, our goal is to fight for victories in Oschersleben was the Porsche always good, so we expect good chances. "
Highly motivated is also Mercedes-AMG driver Maximilian Götz (Team HTP). In 2018, he had until the season finale title chances, but finished after two collisions only fourth overall. This year is finally the second title after 2012 ago. "I've been close to it several times since then, but it did not quite suffice in the end and now I'm attacking again, we've prepared well for the season, we'll have to reckon with it," says Götz, who is getting a Mercedes-AMG GT3 first time with Indy Dontje shares.
"We're not the favorites at the season opener, but we want to finish in the top 5. We saw in the test that we should be good on longruns." At the center of interest will be team mate Fabian Vettel on Germany's northernmost racetrack. The younger brother of four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel makes his debut in Oschersleben in the GT Masters.
Highlights GT Masters test drives Oschersleben
The GT Masters started the new season with two-day test drives in the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben – the best scenes and a few voices
Also much noticed in Oschersleben is the debut of the two Aston Martin Vantage GT3, with which the British brand returns to the GT Masters. However, Aston Martin factory rider Maxime Martin still piles deeply: "Basically everything is possible, but we have to realistically consider that the GT Masters is largely uncharted territory for us, not least our Aston Martin Vantage GT3, a placement in the points should be a realistic goal. "
The Belgian, who shares a Vantage at Propeak Performance with GT Masters record winner Daniel Keilwitz, has fond memories of Oschersleben: "I drove four races in Oschersleben in 2009 and 2012 and won three, it's a technical circuit, I would say it's 'tricky', the straights are pretty short, you need a lot of downforce and the triple left is special, I'm definitely looking forward to my comeback in the GT Masters, 2012 was the full season, that was a long time ago. Now I'm curious what's coming. "