– Successful debut year for exclusive tyre partner Pirelli
– An interview with Michael Blaufuss, Head of Motorsport Pirelli Germany
– Eager to put experience to good use in the 2016 season
Munich: With a successful first year in the series now behind them, Pirelli are preparing for the new campaign. The ADAC GT Masters organisers will once again be relying on the tyre manufacturer as their exclusive supplier. As the Super Sports Car League prepares to enter its tenth season with the traditional season opener at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben (15th – 17th April), Michael Blaufuss, Head of Motorsport Pirelli Germany, talks about the prospects for a second season as tyre partner to the ADAC GT Masters.
How would you sum up your first season as exclusive tyre partner to the ADAC GT Masters and ADAC Formula 4 last year?
Michael Blaufuss: « For Pirelli, 2015 was the perfect debut as exclusive tyre supplier to the ADAC GT Masters and the ADAC Formula 4. The way the season developed with the very different weather-related demands made on both man and machine was exceptional, extremely fascinating and a real challenge. »
– What feedback did you get from the teams and the drivers?
Michael Blaufuss: « Consistently very positive – both during and after the season. This relates primarily to the performance of the race tyres, but also to the logistical provision in the background and to support for the teams at the track in terms of service and fitting. The communication worked really well. The transparency in our collaboration with the teams, their feedback and the support delivered by Pirelli manifested itself in immediately apparent and generally successful outcomes. For us, these are valuable insights which we can incorporate directly into the development of our tyres and which may ultimately find their way into series production for road vehicles. This is precisely the sort of open communication you need to gain the maximum amount of experience and information. »
– How does the large number of manufacturers in the ADAC GT Masters affect your work?
Michael Blaufuss: « The sheer variety of vehicle concepts obviously presents us with a challenge. Thanks to our many years’ experience in GT3 racing, however, we can call on our correspondingly longstanding expertise. We also supply tyres for many of the series production versions of the cars that compete in the ADAC GT Masters. Our engineers are consequently fully familiar with the individual parameters of the models. There is a strong synergy between racing and production technology which works to the benefit of both. »
– You bring approximately 500 tyres to every ADAC GT Masters race weekend, plus 650 for ADAC Formula 4. How do you manage such a mammoth task?
Michael Blaufuss: « The prerequisites for mastering this challenge are meticulous and intelligent planning, efficient organisation and close coordination as well as good cooperation with all partners. And above all an extremely motivated team who have a healthy passion for motorsport running through their veins. »
– The 2016 ADAC GT Masters season, which will be the second one for Pirelli, is just around the corner. How do Pirelli intend to approach the season?
Michael Blaufuss: « Due to the growing importance of the series and the now bigger starting grid, which obviously entails a larger volume of tyres and narrower time window for service and fitting, we at Pirelli need to partially re-evaluate our activities at the trackside. In addition, we have to get used to a lot of new teams and drivers with whom we will be collaborating for the first time and who will expect premium tyres and top service from us. But based on our experience from last year, we are well prepared for this and optimistic that 2016 will be a strong season with plenty of fascinating motorsport. »
– This year, a number of new super sports cars will be lining up on the grid. What challenges does that present for Pirelli?
Michael Blaufuss: « The majority of the new contestant vehicles are not new for Pirelli. We have already successfully tested and used our tyres with these manufacturers in 2015. That paved the way for the increased field in 2016. At the track itself, we will obviously be giving our active and professional support to all the teams, including those who are entering new models or cars from other manufacturers. »
– Which of the seven circuits on the 2016 ADAC GT Masters calendar will put the tyres under the biggest strain?
Michael Blaufuss: « The different tracks present different challenges, many of which stress the tyres to the limit. Of the venues on the 2016 race calendar, the Sachsenring certainly stands out. The uphill and downhill sections and the short straights will really test the tyres, because the longitudinal and lateral forces which they are subjected to will be enormous. The characteristics of the track result in a permanent strain on the tyres which are required to continuously channel a tremendous amount of energy. »
All ADAC GT Masters races will once again be broadcast live and in full during 2016 by SPORT1 on free-to-air TV. The 2016 ADAC GT Masters season opens on the weekend of April 15th-17th, 2016, in the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. Tickets are available in advance online at www.adac.de/motorsport from 20 euros upwards.