GRT has done it again! After victories in the ADAC GT Masters and in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup, the Lamborghini Squadra Corse supported Team from Austria celebrated their third win at the Nürburgring within a few weeks competing in the DTM in front of 49,300 spectators. The fourth stop in the high-calibre championship once again presented the squad with major challenges in difficult weather conditions. In his first outing for Grasser Racing, Maximilian Paul made for a sensation driving the #19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO. In pouring rain on Sunday, the 23-year-old German drove to the first victory for GRT in the DTM.
After Team Principal Gottfried Grasser's crew had already mastered the Eifel weather last weekend when they took a class win in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup, they also had to cope with the mixed conditions in the DTM with temperatures of 15 degrees Celsius. Clemens Schmid made a solid start to the weekend in the first practice session with eleventh place in the field of 28 GT3 cars. On the other side of the garage, Maximilian Paul climbed into the #19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 for GRT for the first time, and the Lamborghini Young Professional Driver was immediately up to speed on the Nürburgring's 3.629 km-long sprint layout.
On Saturday morning, the weekend's first qualifying session took place in dry conditions. Clemens Schmid and Maximilian Paul were on course for points with grid positions in rows seven and eight for the first of the two races over 60 minutes plus one lap. Rain showers as well as two safety car periods turned the race into a gamble. Thanks to a strong start, Schmid was running in eighth position after the pit stop on lap 20, but fell out of the points after a mistake as well as receiving a penalty in the last third of the race. Paul acquitted himself excellently in 13th place on his first DTM start since 2021. Not only did he score points, but he was also one of the fastest drivers in the field, missing out on the fastest lap by just 0.071 seconds.
Sunday was also dominated by the Eifel weather. After a rain shower, the 20-minute qualifying session took place on a drying track. Paul was again strong in the final stages and drove to 13th place on the grid, although the track conditions were to his disadvantage on his last attempt. His lap time initially put him in fifth place, but he was then ousted by some of the drivers behind him. Schmid started the second race from the eleventh row of the grid.
The chaotic weather continued unabated in the second race. In mixed conditions, GRT split the strategies. Schmid started on slicks, Paul on rain tyres. The latter was the right choice when it started to rain heavily a few laps after the start. Schmid had to hold out with the dry tyre until the pit stop window before he could change to wets. On the 23rd lap, his Sunday ended prematurely in the garage. The third fastest lap of the race was of little consolation for the 32-year-old Austrian.
For Paul, on the other hand, things went perfectly from the first lap. He made up six positions at the start and worked his way up to second position by the pit stop on lap 21. During the pit stop window, the GRT pitwall again made the right strategy call. Paul stayed out until the last moment and then benefited from a Full Course Yellow. A flawless tyre change by the GRT crew sent him back into the race in second place. After an intense battle with Mercedes driver Lucas Auer, he took the lead and didn't let anyone take the victory away from him for the rest of the race.
GRT's first success in the DTM was also Lamborghini's third in the legendary racing series. On Saturday, Lamborghini Factory Driver Mirko Bortolotti, a former GRT driver, had already led the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 to victory at the Nürburgring. In the overall standings, Grasser Racing is in tenth place at the halfway point of the season. Maximilian Paul's fantastic performance in his first appearance of the season means he has 28 points to his name. This has put him ahead of ten of the established DTM drivers in the standings. The next round of the DTM is scheduled for 18-20 August at the Lausitzring.
Maximilian Paul (GER)
#19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2
Qualifying 1: P16 - Race 1: P13
Qualifying 2: P13 - Race 2: P1
Maximilian Paul: "It feels incredible and I would never have expected this before the weekend. I had a lot of fun driving the car. The start was tricky but the setup was perfect and I was able to adapt to the conditions very well during the race. I tried different lines and got faster and faster. It was a great feeling to have such a good car and to be fighting at the front. The team then had a mega timing at the pit stop and that was the key to victory. After the tyre change we were running really well and when I passed Lucas the road was clear. I am very proud of this success and so grateful to have had this opportunity. Many thanks to Gottfried and the whole team as well as to my family and my sponsors. I hope I get another chance to race in the DTM at the Lausitzring."
Clemens Schmid (AUT)
#63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2
Qualifying 1: P14 - Race 1: P18
Qualifying 2: P21 - Race 2: DNF
Clemens Schmid: "Personally, it was a weekend to forget for me. The pace was there, but we made too many mistakes. In the first race, I unfortunately dropped a likely Top-10 result by myself, which was very disappointing. Sunday was jinxed from the start. We made the wrong choice with the slicks and had no chance. After the tyre change, the gap was already too big to do anything and then I had to retire early. All I can do is look ahead and of course be happy about the team's victory. Max drove very well and I am very happy for Gottfried and the crew. They deserve it very much."
Gottfried Grasser, Team Principal of GRT: "It was an incredible day for all of us. Max joined us on Friday and it's always a big task for a driver to come to a new team. He adapted to the car very quickly and improved step by step. In order to win, everything has to work out and it really did. We chose the right tyre and hit the pressures perfectly, also thanks to Mirko's help. He joined us in the garage during the race and gave us the right recommendation for the pit stop. We have known each other for so many years and this unconditional friendship is very special in this sport. Ultimately, this success is down to a fantastic team effort. The crew did an excellent job preparing the car and executing the pit stop, and it was a real driving masterpiece from Max. He was really in control driving the car and not only had the pace in these difficult conditions, but also the mental strength. To compete in the DTM with two silver category drivers and take a win is incredible. We've been fighting for this for so long and now it's finally happened. Many thanks to Lamborghini Squadra Corse for their trust in our team. We will do everything we can to have Max in the car at the Lausitzring as well. It was a difficult weekend for Clemens, but we know he can fight back. He has the pace and has shown that so many times in the past weeks. At the Lausitzring we want to attack with both drivers and build on this strong performance."