Grasser Racing’s performance at the DTM in Oschersleben this weekend made for a great start to the season. From 26th to 28th May, around 35,000 spectators enjoyed best summer weather in the Magdeburger Börde region to see the first round of the iconic championship live. The fans of the Austrian Lamborghini Team were not disappointed. Clemens Schmid impressed in every way on the DTM premiere of the new Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 with fifth place on Sunday. With this result, the Austrian was the best-placed of the five Lamborghini drivers in the field of 27 GT3 cars. Team-mate Mick Wishofer had a strong showing on his DTM debut with fourth place in Qualifying on Saturday. In the races though he was out of luck.
The achievements of the two 60-minute races at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben are a promising start to the team’s 2023 DTM campaign. Thanks to the strong team performance, GRT sits eighth in the team standings with 15 points after the first of the eight race weekends. Clemens Schmid is in 9th place in the driver standings with 16 points, thanks to scoring in both races and receiving a bonus point in Sunday’s qualifying. For Team Principal Gottfried Grasser’s squad the next round in the DTM is up at Zandvoort in the Netherlands from June 23-25.
Clemens Schmid (AUT)
#63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2
Qualifying 1: P12 – Race 1: P12
Qualifying 2: P3 – Race 2: P6
Clemens Schmid had a good start into his second DTM season on Saturday with a points result. The 32-year-old from Steinach am Brenner in Tyrol had qualified on the sixth row of the grid for the first race on the 3.667 km-long circuit. He then executed a clever strategy in the first stint. During the first half, he was initially stuck behind slower cars in traffic. During the pit stops he then matched the lap times of eventual race winner Franck Perera while driving in clean air. Thanks to his competitive pace and an overcut on the 25th lap, he gained several positions against his direct rivals. At the finish he was rewarded with four points for twelfth place.
On Sunday, Clemens Schmid seamlessly continued this strong performance. In the second qualifying session he secured third place on the grid as the fastest Lamborghini driver in the field and therefore secured an extra championship point. He missed pole position by a mere 0.089 seconds. At the start of the race, he beat Porsche driver Tim Heinemann on the run down to the first corner and took over second position. In the battle for the win, he held his own in the leading group until a safety car period neutralized the race on lap nine. At the restart and during the subsequent pit stops, he fell behind a Porsche quartet due to a tire disadvantage. In the second half of the race he then confidently kept up with the cars in front of him. After 41 laps he crossed the finish line in fifth place, less than five seconds behind the winner.
Clemens Schmid: “I feel very relieved after this weekend. We had more than one score to settle after last season and did an almost perfect job here in Oschersleben. I wasn’t entirely happy with my qualifying on Saturday, but we’ve already seen in the first race what’s possible with our pace. I knew that I just needed a better starting position on Sunday, and I got that done. A podium would have been possible in the race, maybe even victory. But unfortunately the safety car robbed us of this chance. The Porsche drivers got their front tires up to temperature much faster, so I didn’t have the tools to fight at the restart and after the pit stop. Nevertheless, fifth place is a great result on which we can build. I’m already looking forward to Zandvoort.”
Mick Wishofer (AUT)
#19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2
Qualifying 1: P4 – Race 1: DNF
Qualifying 2: P12 – Race 2: DNF
Mick Wishofer’s debut weekend in the DTM started with a great showing on Friday. In the second practice session, the 23-year-old delivered a successful dress rehearsal with a strong fourth place. Qualifying on Saturday confirmed his good form. In his first qualifying session in the DTM, he put GRT’s Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 on the second row of the grid. The DTM rookie missed pole position by the tiny margin of 0.115 seconds. In the race, he was denied the deserved reward for his strong performance. After holding his own in the Top-10 during the first stint, he was set back by an unfortunate pit stop on lap 15. A few laps later, he ended his race prematurely as a result.
Luck was not on the Austrian’s side on Sunday either. In qualifying he again secured a promising starting position with a place on the sixth row of the grid. In the intensely contested midfield, he found himself in fierce duels for the points from the very first lap. Before his pit stop on the 15th lap, he was eleventh and within striking distance of the Top-10. Immediately after the tire change, he was hit on the right rear wheel by a competitor through no fault of his own. The contact damaged the suspension and the tire, making it impossible to continue.
Mick Wishofer: “We definitely deserved more in the races, but sometimes things go against you. On the other hand, there were a lot of positives. The pace was there since the tests and we showed that on the race weekend as well. I think in the end the higher temperatures threw a spanner in the works for us. In qualifying the balance on one lap was very good, but in the race we still have some work to do on the setup of my car. It’s a shame that we didn’t score any points, but it was still a good debut. We’ve seen what’s possible and we just have to get it right at the next race.”
Gottfried Grasser, Team Principal of GRT: “The weekend felt better for us than some of our victories. We rearranged the team for our second season in the DTM. To get off to such a start makes me immensely proud. Clemens and Mick are two drivers who work very hard to raise the budget for the DTM with their sponsors and they really stood up to the manufacturers’ factory drivers here. That was the result of a fantastic team performance. The whole crew did a mega job, our pit stops were amazing and our drivers did a phenomenal job of delivering the performance on the track. Clemens was top-class in terms of driving on Sunday. Not only was he the fastest Lamborghini driver, he also left the entire field behind him except for the Porsche armada. For me, he won the DTM today, just not the Porsche Cup. The success this weekend really means a lot to me. Thank you to the entire team for this fabulous performance.”
Source. GRT Grasser Racing/Photo. Axel Weichert