The young Jacob Erlbacher drives for the traditional racing team Gebhardt Motorsport in the Prototype Cup Germany in 2022. This also brings him closer to his career goal - a start at the 24h Le Mans.
Gebhardt Motorsport is one of the teams in the recently established Prototype Cup Germany. The team from Sinsheim is a true traditional racing team and was already racing in the legendary Group C era in the 1980s and 1990s. In the 2022 Prototype Cup Germany, a Ginetta G61-LT-P3 will be fielded for Jacob Erbacher (21/Böblingen) and Michael Herich (45/Bruehl).
For youngster Erlbacher, being able to compete for Gebhardt Motorsport is something very special. "I have been supported by Gebhardt ever since I entered motor racing. I am the team's junior driver, so to speak," explains Erlbacher proudly. "So it was also clear that I would compete for Gebhardt Motorsport in the Prototype Cup Germany."
Gebhardt Motorsport has already been able to demonstrate its potential in the four 2022 classification rounds held so far. Three top-eight results and one retirement are on the books so far. "Of course, the top results are still missing. But we are new to LMP3 racing. We are learning from race to race and can always improve," describes Erlbacher. "The past weekend at the Nürburgring, for example, was important in that we were able to get to know the limit of our car. 2022 is a learning year for us. Nevertheless, we want to get even further ahead in the course of the season. I am very confident in this respect."
Erlbacher feels really comfortable in the Prototype Cup Germany, which is newly established for the 2022 season. "It's a great series and a super platform for us," he explains. "I like the format with the two sprint races and driver changes. Because you can train everything. Some of the competition is really strong. Especially for a driver like me who is new to prototype racing, the Prototype Cup Germany just fits."
The approximately 460 hp LMP3s used in the Prototype Cup Germany are the first stage of a pyramid system devised by the Le Mans organiser ACO. Drivers and teams should be able to develop via the LMP3 and the larger LMP2 class towards the king category hypercar - and then possibly compete in the big 24h race at Le Mans. "Of course Le Mans is one of my big career goals. I like the fast prototypes," Erlbacher clarifies. "But I would also like to continue competing in touring car racing in the future. That's where I come from."
Born in Austria, Erlbacher began his motorsport career in 2008 in karting and switched to motor racing in 2018. After his first races in a BMW 318ti, he moved on to the ADAC GT4 Germany via the GTC Race for the 2020 season. He also regularly competes on the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring. Erlbacher has meanwhile clinched two podiums at the legendary 24-hour race in the "Green Hell".
But the 21-year-old also really enjoys the classic racing cars - and that's where he's in exactly the right place at Gebhardt Motorsport. "Every now and then I drive in the team's historic Group C cars, for example in the Gebhardt C88, which is powered by an Audi turbo engine," Erlbacher reveals. "I also did the rollout of the Labatt Gebhardt JC 853. The car came back to the team last year and I got to be the first to get in. That was a huge honour for me."