Moving up to join the Super Sports Car League: Dennis Marschall with Audi in the ADAC GT Masters during 2017
The biggest challenge of his motor racing career awaits Dennis Marschall in 2017. The young talent from Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen in south-west Germany will line up for Aust Motorsport in the ADAC GT Masters. He is now being promoted directly to the Super Sports Car League after finishing championship runner-up in the 2016 Audi Sport TT Cup.
The current generation of the Audi R8 LMS which Marschall will race this season for the team from Rietberg in north-west Germany has only seen use in GT3 since 2016, but the racing car from Ingolstadt with over 580 bhp on tap won the ADAC GT Masters championship in its first season.
Marschall learned the necessary skills to be well prepared for the challenge of Audi’s high-tech sports cars during two seasons in the Audi Sport TT Cup. From a total of 26 races in the top-class Audi one make cup, Marschall secured 6 wins, 14 podiums, 8 pole positions and 6 fastest laps.
Marschall will go up against the elite of GT3 motorsport alongside Swiss team-mate, Patric Niederhauser, at Aust Motorsport. The team led by its founder, Frank Aust, first raced in the ADAC GT Masters in 2016 and immediately excelled in a field of more than 30 super sports cars with finishes in the Top Ten.
During his rookie season in the ADAC GT Masters, Marschall will contest seven race weekends, each featuring two races. The season opener will take place on 29th April at Oschersleben. The other venues include well-known Formula 1 racing circuits such as the Nürburgring, the Hockenheimring and Austria’s Red Bull Ring. The season finale on 23rd September will also be a special highlight for Marschall, since this will be a major home race for him at Hockenheim. SPORT1 will again broadcast all 14 ADAC GT Masters races live and in full this year.
Dennis, how did you come to join the ADAC GT Masters with Aust Motorsport?
A move up into GT3 was always my goal from the start. In the long term, I see my motorsport career developing in the world of sports car racing. I’m now well prepared for the challenge after two successful years in the Audi Sport TT Cup. Aust Motorsport had an impressive showing in the ADAC GT Masters last season, rapidly gaining in strength, which is why we thought about joining them right from the beginning. I’m also looking forward to working with my new team-mate, Patric Niederhauser, who has gained a lot of experience both in GP3 and in the GT3 racing car. I know we can make a competitive pairing and that I can learn a lot from Patric.
What do you expect to find as you switch from touring car to sports car?
At the end of last season, Audi made it possible for me to have a test day in the Audi R8 LMS at the Nürburgring where I posted a few kilometres, and it all went extremely well. Of course, the GT3 car has much more power than anything I’ve ever driven before. It’s really hard to make comparisons, but I was able to rely to some extent on my experience from single-seater racing, like when dealing with the rear-wheel drive and the aerodynamics, for example. As I drove the Audi R8 LMS, I soon noticed in the fast turns that it has strong aerodynamics and that downforce plays a major role. Driving it was really great fun, and I can hardly wait for the first race.
What goals have you set yourself for your maiden season in the ADAC GT Masters?
The car is obviously a really big step up for me. There was a limited range of setup possibilities in the Audi Sport TT Cup, unlike on a GT3 car which has any number of different options. I’ll definitely need some time to settle in and develop a feel for it. My goal, though, is to regularly finish in the Top Ten. A podium finish in my first year would be terrific, for sure, but I’m facing the biggest challenge of my career to date. The standard in the ADAC GT Masters field is not far behind that of the DTM. There are some ex-DTM drivers taking part, plus one or two who definitely have what it takes. Winning through against such tough and experienced opposition is not going to be easy.