Jeffrey Schmidt to drive for ADAC GT Masters championship-winning team Montaplast by Land-Motorsport this year
After four years in the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany and Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, Swiss racing driver Jeffrey Schmidt is taking the next logical step in his career. Early this January, the 22-year-old got the opportunity to compete in the legendary 24-hour race of Daytona for Land Motorsport. Schmidt passed the baptism of fire and was recently confirmed as one of four top-notch drivers in the championship-winning Audi R8 LMS from last year. He will share the cockpit with Christopher Haase, who won the very first championship title in the ADAC GT Masters. Reigning champions Connor De Phillippi and Christopher Mies will be in the sister car.
So Schmidt will be in illustrious company. During his four years in the two Porsche one-make cups, he secured five pole positions, four wins and 18 podiums. In 2015, he finished third in the drivers’ standings of the highly competitive Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland.
Schmidt has found a new home at Montaplast by Land-Motorsport. The team from Niederdreisbach caused a sensation in their first full season in the ADAC GT Masters. Connor De Phillippi and Christopher Mies may have won only one race in 2016, but their consistent showing with six podiums and other regular points-scoring finishes were the key to success. With another finish in the Top Three, the sister car fielded by Montaplast by Land-Motorsport also did its bit to secure the win in the team standings.
Schmidt will have a lot more power to handle with his new ‘company’ car, the Audi R8 LMS, than was formerly the case with the Porsche 991 GT3 Cup. Pumping out 585 bhp, the Audi delivers no less than 125 more horsepower than the Porsche. Fans will again be able to follow the Super Sports Car League on TV during 2017. SPORT1 will broadcast all ADAC GT Masters races live and also upload them as livestream on SPORT1.de. The new season kicks off on the weekend of 28th – 30th April in the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben.
Three questions for Jeffrey Schmidt
Jeffrey, many congratulations on your well-deserved move up to the ADAC GT Masters. How does it make you feel?
I’m very pleased to be lining up for Land Motorsport this season in one of the world’s strongest GT racing series. After being invited to take part in the 24-Hours of Daytona in January, I can hardly wait for the season to start. I’m very grateful to Team Principal Wolfgang Land for giving me this chance to contest my first GT season with such a strong team. Apart from the seven race weekends in the ADAC GT Masters, more outings are planned in other race series.
How do you rate your chances in the 2017 ADAC GT Masters?
A quick look at the field of entrants is enough to make you realise that the 2017 season of the ADAC GT Masters is likely to be the toughest competitive GT championship ever. The field consists of a great number of works drivers, successful DTM aces, WEC drivers and many other ADAC GT Masters race winners. The season will be a huge challenge for the team and me. There are some 20 cars in the field in total, any of which are quite capable of winning. We’ll simply have to give it our best shot this year. My goal is a top-five finish in the championship.
You got acquainted with the Audi R8 LMS at Daytona. What are the biggest differences as compared to the Porsche 991 GT3 Cup? The two cars have completely different design philosophies. The Porsche’s engine is at the rear, but the Audi is mid-engined, so the feeling you get when driving the two cars is fundamentally different. The Porsche has a lot of traction at the rear axle. Thanks to its mid-engine, though, the Audi is much better balanced where grip levels are concerned. The Audi’s steering is also much more direct, and the slightest steering input can be immediately felt. The Audi is simply a cracking racing car. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming season