Steep learning curve in ADAC GT Masters comeback
- Schubert Motorsport gain key insights into the BMW M6 GT3
- Turnaround thanks to superb team effort goes unrewarded at the Lausitzring
- Team manager André Schubert: “When you’ve been away for a year, you’re soon reminded of how incredibly high the standard is in this series.”
Following intensive preparations during the month of July, Schubert Motorsport returned to the ADAC GT Masters last weekend after a one-year absence from the series. The Oschersleben-based outfit was fielding two BMW M6 GT3s in the season opener hosted at the Lausitzring. Lining up on the grid for the first test of strength of 2020 were 33 GT3 cars sporting the badges of no fewer than seven manufacturers. The return to action in the Super Sports Car League turned out to be more difficult than Team Schubert had been expecting. On Sunday the crew and drivers were able to demonstrate the potential of their package after putting in a long night shift, but in a turbulent race, their hard work went unrewarded.
As the weekend got underway, Schubert Motorsport gave early confirmation of the pace they had shown in the preseason tests. Henric Skoog and Nick Yelloly finished the second practice session 12th on the timesheets, not all that far off the target of being in or around the Top 10, while the number 9 sister car driven by Aidan Read and Joel Eriksson was also within striking distance in 16th place.
On Saturday, ambient temperatures of well over 30°C presented the engineers with a major challenge: the conditions required a different approach to the setup for the BMW M6 GT3 than those encountered during the July tests. Unsurprisingly in such a highly competitive field as the ADAC GT Masters, the outcome was not what the team had hoped for. With 27 cars within one second of each other, Read, albeit being fastest of all BMW M6 GT3s in the field, was unable to qualify any higher than 26th. Skoog was even further back on the 15th row of the grid.
From starting positions as lowly as these, the first race had to be regarded as a test drive under competitive conditions. Read and Eriksson crossed the finish line in 27th place at the end of the one-hour contest, while their team-mates made up seven positions to finish 23rd. The results may not have been quite what they had expected, but their persistence on this disappointing Saturday afternoon paid off the next day.
The Schubert Motorsport team turned the two BMW M6 GT3s inside out during a long night shift. Qualifying provided vindication of the engineers’ efforts. Yelloly emerged from his first qualifying session in the ADAC GT Masters in twelfth place, just three tenths shy of pole position. Eriksson qualified 19th on the grid. With 30 cars within one second of each other, the wriggle room was even less than the day before.
However, the successful transformation still failed to bring the team any luck in the race. Lying in eleventh position, Yelloly was involved in a no-fault collision with an Audi that he was about to lap. The damage sustained was such that British driver had to park the BMW shortly thereafter. Rookie Eriksson handed the sister car over to Read in fourth place at the halfway point of the race. Challenging for points, the Australian made an error which dropped him back down the field. With one retirement and a P25, Schubert Motorsport had scant reward for all the hard work.
Team principal André Schubert: “As expected, our return to the ADAC GT Masters proved to be a big challenge. When you’ve been away for a year, you’re soon reminded of how incredibly high the standard is in this series. The sheer competitiveness has never been more noticeable. With the range of performance being so narrow, attention to detail and experience make the all the difference. So it came as no surprise that not everything went according to plan for the first outing of our BMW M6 GT3. But our team responded in superb fashion and quickly identified solutions to the problems. I am also very satisfied with our driver squad. The feedback they provided played an important role, and they also delivered on the race track. It’s a pity that the results in the second race didn’t come our way. The guys really deserved to take some hard-earned points after such a massive effort. But now we’ve got one more reason to reap the rewards of our work at the Nürburgring and get our season off to a proper start. I’m confident that we’re heading in the right direction.
Aidan Read (car number 9): “It’s great to be back in the ADAC GT Masters. Working with the team and the BMW M6 GT3 went really well. Although we had our difficulties early on, we got them under control and gained important insights. Unfortunately, I was not quite up to speed in Sunday’s race, having done well the day before. Nevertheless, the weekend has been a positive one for me overall. I’m hoping that the direction we’ve set for ourselves will see us on song right from the word go at the Nürburgring.”
Nick Yelloly (car number 10): “We had worked out a good basic setup during the tests, but due to the hot conditions, we had problems with the tyres on Saturday. Heat is not something that the BMW thrives on, but we made impressive progress in the setup ready for Sunday. The team did a fantastic job which enabled me to qualify twelfth. In the race I worked my way up to the front, but in Turn 10, a lapped Audi closed the door on me and we collided. A few laps later, I suffered brake failure as a late consequence of the contact. It’s a pity to have lost out on a decent result in this way.”