There was plenty going on, both on and off the track, at the season-opener of the Prototype Cup Germany. Here are a few fascinating stories from the event at the Hockenheimring.
The Prototype Cup Germany held the opening round of its season as part of the ADAC Racing Weekend. This platform brings fans closer to attractive motorsport. The paddock at the Hockenheimring was a very busy place. 15 LMP3 cars were in action in the Prototype Cup Germany alone. This is a record for the series, which is organised by the ADAC and Creventic.
Luxembourg is not known as the ultimate motorsport nation. However, the small country in Western Europe is represented by two teams in the Prototype Cup Germany. And with great success, as was the case in Sunday’s race. Racing Experience from Wormeldange took victory ahead of DKR Engineering from Wemperhardt. This was one of a small number of one-twos for Luxembourg on the international motorsport scene.
Jan Marschalkowski (20/Inning am Ammersee) made his LMP3 debut at the wheel of an MRS GT-Racing Ligier in Hockenheim. The young German’s career has already seen him crowned Junior champion in ADAC GT4 Germany and taste victory in the ADAC GT Masters. He is also supported by ADAC Stiftung Sport. “It is a great honour for me to be a part of Motorsport Team Germany and receive support from ADAC Stiftung Sport,” said Marschalkowski. “LMP3 is great fun. Over the course of the season, we want to pick up some top results.”
The Prototype Cup Germany attracts interest from all over the world. For example, the starting grid at the Hockenheimring featured drivers from the USA, Canada, Columbia and Brazil. “I watched the livestream of the PCG races last year and was impressed. I love prototype racing,” revealed Gustavo Kyrila (29/BRA) from BWT Mücke Motorsport. “Up to now, however, I had only raced in Brazil. Going up against drivers from all over the world here is a dream come true. I will commute between my home and Europe this year.”
Lucas Mauron (24/CHE, JvO Racing by Downforce Motorsports) has a familiar middle name: Ayrton. “My mother comes from Brazil,” Mauron explains. “However, the idea for my name actually came from my father, who is a big Senna fan. When I was born, he convinced my mother, who didn’t want it at all, to give me that name. It is a great honour for me, as Ayrton Senna is a legend and my favourite driver.”
Just before the opening round of this season’s Prototype Cup Germany, there was an exciting addition to the driver line-up. Martin Andersen (28) starts in a Duqueine for Mühlner Motorsport. The flying Dane is the reigning ADAC TCR Germany champion. “The programme was not initially part of my plans, but I am now pleased to be here,” said Andersen. “I have never been in an LMP3 before. I will definitely have a steep learning curve this year. The biggest difference is the engine type, as TCR cars are front-wheel drive and have far less power.”
Valentino Catalano (17/Westheim, DKR Engineering) had an unforgettable weekend – for several reasons: he lives just round the corner from the Hockenheimring, making the event a home outing. On Sunday, he secured pole position and finished runner-up in the race. Catalano is also the youngest driver in the field. “I only live about 15 minutes from the circuit. I find Hockenheim simply excellent. Coming through the Parabolica in an LMP3 car feels mega,” he beamed. “In a way, it is special to be the youngest driver. I love going up against strong opposition, and the Prototype Cup Germany gives me the opportunity to do precisely that.”
Gabriela Jílková (28/CZE, JvO Racing by Downforce Motorsports) also made her LMP3 debut in Hockenheim. The rapid Czech woman has primarily caught the eye as ‘Quick Gabi’ in ADAC GT4 Germany, where she has impressed with spectacular overtaking manoeuvres. “An LMP3 is totally different to drive compared to a GT4 race car. For example, there is no ABS, no traction control and it is far lighter – but has better aerodynamics,” she explained. “However, LMP3 is great fun and the next step in my career.”
The results in the Junior and Trophy competitions were also a real mixed bag. On Saturday, Julien Apothéloz (22/CHE, JvO Racing by Downforce Motorsports) was the fastest youngster. On Sunday, that honour went to Valentino Catalano (17/Westheim) and Robin Rogalski (22/POL). Victory in the Trophy competition went to Matthias Lüthen (42/Hamburg, Koiranen Kemppi Motorsport) on Saturday and Mark van der Snel (52/NLD, More Motorsport by Reiter) on Sunday.