Nürburgring: Fresh podium success for Jeffrey Schmidt in the ADAC GT Masters
With a second podium on two consecutive ADAC GT Masters weekends, Jeffrey Schmidt continued his fine run of form at the Nürburgring, which had seen him claim a maiden podium in the Super Sports Car League at Zandvoort two weeks before. The 23-year-old from Switzerland and his team-mate Christopher Haase took third place in Sunday’s race on the historic circuit in the Eifel forest. It also meant a third victory in the Junior class for Schmidt in his rookie season in the ADAC GT Masters. On Saturday, the number 2 Audi R8 LMS was still carrying success ballast from the Netherlands weekend. Starting from 15th on the grid, the Montaplast by Land-Motorsport duo staged a heroic charge through the field to finish eighth. These latest results were good enough to take Jeffrey into the Top Three of the Junior standings. His next outing in the ADAC Masters will be the penultimate weekend of the season (15th – 17th September) at the Sachsenring.
You made strong progress through the field on Saturday from 15th on the grid to finish eighth. That can’t have been easy with all the success ballast you were carrying…
We would obviously have been quite pleased if it had rained in qualifying, after we did so well in the wet at Zandvoort. But the rain came too late, namely as I was setting my fastest lap. With the extra weight, we were losing about four tenths of a second per lap. Without the rain and the extra weight, a qualifying result in the Top Seven would easily have been feasible. From 15th on the grid, I knew that I had to take some risks at the start. That worked out well, just as it has for the whole season. I gained several places and handed over the car in seventh place. After the change of drivers, Christopher unfortunately exited behind a slow Porsche. That cost us a lot of time and quite possibly a place in the Top Five. Sometimes, there is an element of luck in picking the right window for the pit stop. We have nothing to complain about, though, and considering we started from so far back, P8 is quite respectable.
In the second race, you were back on form again with that third place. What was so different about Sunday?
First of all, we changed some minor aspects of the setup, and secondly, our result from qualifying – namely P3 on the grid – was already a lot better than the day before. The absence of the success ballast was clearly noticeable. Christopher handed the Audi over to me in fourth place, and we also gained a position thanks to a good pit stop strategy. As I got into my stint for the second half of the race, I could sense that the pace was significantly better. On the corners, I was consistently closing up on the BMW in front, but on the straights, it always managed to pull away again with its more powerful torque and higher top speed. Consequently, I never got into the perfect position to attack P2. Under the circumstances, third place was the maximum we were going to get on the day, and we’re quite happy with our points haul from this race.
In six weeks’ time, you’ll be at the Sachsenring for the penultimate race weekend of the season. What are your expectations of this highly individual circuit?
I competed there during my time in the ADAC Formel Masters, so I am familiar with the Sachsenring – although that was of course some years ago. The track was very much to my liking at the time, and it’s certainly going to be at least as much fun driving a GT car there. We will be testing at the track and doing everything we can to make sure we are fully prepared for the race weekend. Essentially, it’s a track that should suit the Audi. As in regards to our pace, we’re still not quite where we want to be. If we can find a bit more speed, we should be in with a good chance. After our recent results, we obviously want to be up there on the podium again. And who knows, if everything goes just right, we might even be celebrating a maiden victory. We came quite close to doing that at Zandvoort.