ART Grand Prix to debut in DTM
Preparations for the upcoming 2015 DTM season continue apace. Last week, the Mercedes-AMG DTM Team tested from Monday to Wednesday at the Portuguese Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão. Also present, new DTM race team, ART Grand Prix.
The outfit managed by team boss Frédéric Vasseur joins the DTM this year to become the third team to compete under the banner of the Mercedes-Benz brand. ART completed their first test kilometers with a DTM car in Portugal.
For this test, team leader Gary Paffett handed over his EURONICS Mercedes‑AMG C 63 DTM to the two rookies, Lucas Auer and Maximilian Götz. The reason: Regulations stipulate that another car may only be deployed when driven by a newcomer.
Monday, 2 March 2015:
ART Grand Prix had a tough time at their very first DTM test. Technical problems presented the team with some challenges which they were able to master during the day, finding out some pieces of information on the way. The test schedule was changed after the first day. Götz and Auer were both meant to spend a day and a half in the car, but after the teething difficulties of the first day, the rookies completed one full day of testing each on Tuesday/Wednesday.
Driver: Maximilian Götz, Laps: 20 (93.840 km)
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal ART Grand Prix: “There were a few hiccups at the start, but overall, our first DTM test was a thrilling experience for the whole team, from the drivers and mechanics to the engineers. I want to say a big thank you to HWA (Competition department of Mercedes-AMG) for the terrific way they supported us. We’ve worked very hard over the past few months to get to know all the procedures in the DTM and are satisfied with the results of testing at Portimão. Max is very experienced with GT cars thanks to his years in the SLS AMG GT3. He was able to give us excellent feedback and drove as if he’d spent years in the DTM. Lucas has had more experience with single-seater cars and had to learn the track first, so many things were new to him, but he too steadily improved during the day. We’re on track.”
Tuesday, 3 March 2015:
One of the team’s main goals for the first test was to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM and how best to work with HWA. At the same time, this was a good opportunity for the drivers and the team to put in plenty of test kilometers and gain a better understanding of setup. During the test, both drivers and their engineers were able to experiment with different setups and collect important data about the car.
Driver: Maximilian Götz, Laps: 103 (483.276 km)
Maximilian Götz: “I’m really pleased to be under way once again. My first laps out on track this year were great. Now I can’t wait to get the bit between my teeth. I posted more than 100 laps and we tried out a lot of different things on the car. Also, we improved the way we work and communicate as a team. Everything went really well and I was aware of setup changes to the car straightaway, which is especially important where developing confidence in the car is concerned. I’m now looking forward to the next test in Estoril.”
Wednesday, 4 March 2015:
Lucas Auer and Maximilian Götz completed a similar test program on their respective test days. Both were given the opportunity to make short and long runs and work on setup. Pit stop practice was not on the agenda in Portimão, though, because the team was not at full strength since they were at the circuit with only one car. However, ART Grand Prix have already been practicing pit stops at the factory almost daily for two months. At the next test, the team will have their first live run-through of pit stop procedures at the track.
Driver: Lucas Auer, Laps: 104 (487.968 km)
Lucas Auer: “The first day of testing with my new team went well. ART and I improved with every run. We worked on set-up and practiced the various routines. Working as a team with the mechanics and engineers was really great. Of course, there’s still a lot to learn before the season opener, but being able to cover over 100 laps in a DTM car was a very useful experience.”
Other things that happened: Apart from ART Grand Prix, Team HWA was busy at the Portimão track from Monday to Wednesday with drivers Paul Di Resta, Christian Vietoris, Pascal Wehrlein and Robert Wickens testing for the squad.
Ulrich Fritz, member of the board at HWA AG: “Our team had a great first week testing this year. We learned a lot and were able to drive forward preparations for the new season. Our new team ART Grand Prix also did well on their first sortie. Cooperation and coordination within the team are already at a high level, but before the season starts, there’s still a lot to do to get the maximum possible out of the Mercedes‑AMG C 63 DTM in readiness for the first two races at Hockenheim. The next test will also take place in Portugal at the Estoril track where our third team Mücke Motorsport will also be busy testing along with HWA and ART Grand Prix (25th-27th March).”