Images - Creventic, ADAC
After the finale of the Prototype Cup Germany, the Mühlner Motorsport camp was able to celebrate. The pairing of Donar Munding (20/Stuttgart) and Matthias Lüthen (41/Hamburg) not only took third place in the drivers' standings, but also secured the Junior (Munding) and Trophy (Lüthen) crowns. In the process, they had to tremble once again on the last race weekend: In the first race, Munding handed over the number 21 Duqueine to his partner Lüthen in the lead, but when the Hamburg driver tried to drive off, the engine wouldn't start. Only after his team had pushed the car did he move from the spot, but more than seventh place - partly due to a drive-through penalty for pushing - was not possible. In the final heat of the year, they secured fifth place and thus had the titles of 'Best Junior' and 'Best Trophy Driver' in the bag. "I'm very happy that Donar and Matthias won the Junior and Trophy classifications respectively," beamed team boss Bernhard Mühlner.
The blue and white LMP3 car started the season in Spa-Francorchamps with positions four and seven. At the Nürburgring, the first podium followed after position six in heat one in the second heat. "I consider this second place to be the highlight of the season," said Lüthen. "It was the first podium finish in a prototype race for me and we fought hard for this success." Munding agrees with his colleague: "This podium had a liberating effect because things didn't go quite right in Spa. And for me it was important to deliver a good result after my botched start the day before." In Lausitz, the Mühlner duo was even allowed to climb to the top step of the podium in addition to seventh position, and in Hockenheim they finished seventh and fifth. "The fact that we couldn't leave the pits in time due to a technical problem was the low point of the year," they both agree. "This problem and the radio failure in Spa cost us second place in the final standings," says Lüthen, but puts it into perspective: "This is only a small drop of bitterness in an otherwise very good season, which I am very happy about."
The Northern German was one of the bronze medallists in the field and can look back on little experience in motorsport so far. A drive in an old Formula 3000 racer infected the classic latecomer with the racing virus a few years ago. He took his licence and completed his first races at the wheel of a Formula Renault 2.0 at the end of 2019. After further sporadic appearances in Formula racing, the LMP3 world then opened up for him rather by chance. "My coach Tom Dillmann had asked me at the beginning of 2021 whether I would like to contest a round of the Michelin Le Mans Cup together with him. Back then, I sat in an LMP3 car for the first time in Barcelona and finished fourth in qualifying out of 26 competitors - even then, by the way, in a Mühlner Motorsport car." He contested the following Le Mans Cup events for Team Virage, but was slowed down by many technical problems. So the Prototype Cup Germany came just at the right time at the beginning of 2022, because now Lüthen could team up with Mühlner again. "Matthias came to motorsport late, but he works very hard and meticulously. With his professional attitude and his preparation in the simulator, he was competitive right away, even on tracks he didn't know before," Mühlner praises his protégé. "Matthias is really fast for his limited experience, very capable of learning and brutally ambitious. That sets him apart from many other bronze medallists and can't be taken for granted," notes his teammate Munding, for whom Mühlner also has only words of praise: "Donar has potential, you're sure to hear a lot more about him."
In contrast to Lüthen, the Stuttgart driver spent several years in karting, but was unable to make the switch to formula racing for budgetary reasons. Instead, he chose to enter the Porsche Sports Cup and the Nürburgring Endurance Series, but even then he had his eye on prototype racing. And when, thanks to the new regulations, more and more car manufacturers now announced their participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the subject also became increasingly attractive for Munding's career planning. In 2021, he signed up for the Michelin Le Mans Cup and one year later did not hesitate to choose the Prototype Cup Germany as a new field of activity. "I knew from karting that ADAC racing series are always well organised. And besides, as a German driver, it makes sense for me to compete in a German race series." He met his new colleague Matthias Lüthen just a few days before the season opener and was happy. "It was a good fit on and off the track." He returns the compliments directly: "Donar is really fast and has a lot of potential. But just as important was the good chemistry between the two of us. We spent a lot of time together and had to agree on many things. And we really never had a disagreement, everything went super harmoniously."
Both hope to continue their journey in LMP3 racing. Munding has been driving on two tracks for a few weeks now; he is still studying real estate business and engineering. "My focus should be on motorsport, though, because I want to make the most of my opportunities. Motorsport and studying at the same time requires a lot of discipline, but I think it can be done." Lüthen is also involved in real estate, but unlike Munding, he is already a bit further ahead in terms of planning for the 2023 season. "In the coming weeks I will do some testing; different teams have contacted me. My goal is to compete in either the ELMS or the Michelin Le Mans Cup in addition to the Prototype Cup Germany. And sharing a car with Donar is not out of the question for me either."