You had a great start of the season with a podium at Monza but since then it has been a little like a roller-coaster for the team?
“I think we had quite high expectations this year with both the Pro-Am and the Gentlemen class Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 car as well. The Gentlemen class is much stronger than it was last year. 2012 was pretty easy while this year is very difficult and the competition has gone up a significant level. The guys have been great at Monza, but unfortunately since then, a few mistakes have been made in the races which happen in endurance racing. They have not scored as many points as they should have but that is the nature of this level of racing sometimes.”
How much of a boost has Adam (Christodoulou) been to the Pro Cup car? He has been a revelation for many in the series this year.
“Not to me. I have known him since go-karts. He is a good friend with Klaas now, who took him under his wing and gave him a big chance in the GT world. He is a really nice guy and a really good driver with a great attitude. He is also quick to improve and learn about all the intricacies of endurance racing.”
How is Klaas (Hummel) feeling his way around the Mercedes this year?
“He drove the Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 once last year. He mainly drove a McLaren before that, and he also got some Ferrari driving as well. I think it is only his fourth year racing anything, so he is doing really well considering the relative lack of experience. Klass is really enthusiastic about his racing, which he genuinely loves. He works hard; he doesn’t go home early, checks in at the factory, works with Adam very well and always wants to keep improving. A great guy to work with.”
You have got a nice balance with Steve Jans in the team as well who is showing some great speed in 2013?
“Yes. He is still an Am classed driver, and like Klaas he is also just starting in his racing career. I think going into GT3 cars last year was a bit too early for him but he learned a lot even if it was more difficult initially. He is quick but he was lacking experience to get strong results consistently in 2012. But this year he has that now and he is reliable so this is good for everyone because he blends in so well with Adam and Klaas and of course with the Black Falcon team.”
In terms of entries for the Nürburgring, what can we expect?
“I think we will enter a Pro Cup category car for Nürburgring. Last year we had a real Pro Cup entry because we wanted to try to win it even if unfortunately we did not due to many reasons. This year at Nürburgring I think we are going to have a Pro Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 just because of the categorisation of the drivers we will enter that makes them Pros. I think they can be good and they can win but I think it will be close as there is so much different competition now. Andreas Simonsen will be one of the drivers for sure. He was actually the fastest driver in our team at 24 Hours of Spa, with Tomas Jäger. At Nürburgring 24 Hours in May he was always at the top of the times sheets. Very impressive.
So, back in Nürburgring. It is going to take a lot to top the highlight of your season, the victory at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, right?
“Nürburgring is our home race; our factory workshop is five minutes away. We also did the VLN championship there, and it is home, so we are all going there with high expectations to challenge for victories in both classes.”
What is your opinion on the BOP this year?
“I do appreciate the difficult job that the technical guys are doing. Last year was atrocious for us; we had a hell of a BOP! This year, I think that it is pretty good for the Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, and I think that the BMW is quite similar too. Ferrari and Porsche fair well, and Audi might have been a bit lower at Spa, but they always find a way to get to the front. So, yes, it has been ok, not bad and it is the system we have to work with and get on with the job at hand.”
Mathematically, the title is still within the reach of Klaas, Adam and Jans. Has that been a discussion in the team?
“Not really, not at this stage. At the beginning of the season after the 3rd place at Monza it was a priority of course, but after Silverstone it started to slip away and we really wanted to win the Spa race, especially with Tomas (Jäger onboard). But we had some difficulties and at the end we were not really in contention anymore. So no, we are not really thinking about the title but they obviously want to go home with a trophy, so I hope it is the winning trophy, especially at home.”
In terms of competitiveness, with all the series that you do, would you say that Blancpain is the most competitive?
“Yes, I would say so. The Blancpain Endurance Series is competitive throughout the classes now. So it is a big challenge for everybody, which is why we are in this business!”