Team principal Frank Aust turns to the Ligier JS P320. Dino Steiner and Constantin Schöll to drive the French racer. Initial tests at the Hockenheimring have been positive.
In its second season, Prototype Cup Germany is pleased to welcome on board a number of renowned teams who have signed up to the series for LMP3 racing prototypes for the first time. One such team is Aust Motorsport, who will go in pursuit of points and trophies with drivers Dino Steiner and Constantin Schöll. “LMP3 has been a dream of mine for a long time. I just didn’t expect it to come true so quickly,” said a beaming Steiner.
The Swabian was one of the driving forces behind Aust Motorsport’s switch from GT racing to Prototype Cup Germany, as the 54-year-old has already gained experience on the racing prototype scene. “At the end of the 90s, I was racing in the LMP675 class in the USA, and actually gained some LMP1 experience back then. Unfortunately, in my only outing with the LMP1, which should have been the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2000, we suffered engine damage on the formation lap and our race was over before it had even started.” Steiner then continued to drive in GT races until he decided to focus on his family business. “I was actually done with racing, but I found my way back in again through an acquaintance in 2021.” Last year, Steiner started alongside Max Hofer in the GTC Race series and won the GT3-Am title in the GT Sprint competition.
Team principal Frank Aust was soon swept up in Steiner’s LMP3 dream. “LMP3 is the future of motor racing. Many manufacturers are involved in the 24 Hours of Le Mans again, and the LMP3 class is the entry-level class for prototype racing. Motorsport youngsters, who are now turning to LMP3, have very attractive prospects.” When Aust speaks of youngsters, he is referring to 24-year-old Austrian Constantin Schöll. “He is the perfect age for LMP3.” It took no more than a few minutes to realise that Schöll was the man to share the Ligier cockpit with Steiner. “The chemistry was right from the word go,” Steiner reveals.
At the start of the year, Aust Motorsport backed up the words of its team principal and purchased a Ligier, “with precisely no kilometres on the clock”. In the meantime, Steiner and Schöll have now completed their initial tests and everyone is impressed. “We didn’t do anything crazy, but just tested the basics at first. How suited is the car to us drivers, how do all the processes work,… Constantin and I both completed about 50 laps without any issues, and our lap times were immediately right up there.” Steiner was also very impressed by the handling: “The LMP3 is just like driving a Formula car, and nothing like our GT3 racer from last year.” Aust is not expecting his team to have any major problems adjusting. “The Ligier also has four wheels and four dampers. If you understand the aerodynamics and the third damper element, then it should be okay. You obviously have to prepare wisely, but then the LMP3 is definitely not witchcraft.” For good measure, Aust has employed a mechanic who already has experience of these prototypes.
As far as the goals for the season are concerned, the team principal does not want to specify positions. “We are initially viewing the season as a chance to see where we stand.” And with that in mind, he can definitely imagine running a second Ligier. “We do not have a definite second pair of drivers, but the plan is to have a second car.”