Wild weekend for the Austrian bulls at the seventh stop of the 2023 DTM season. From 22 to 24 September, GRT's home fixture in the legendary championship was on the agenda at the Red Bull Ring in front of 45,000 fans, and the Lamborghini Team from Styria once again put in an excellent performance. After the weather threw a spanner in the works in the first race, Clemens Schmid in the #63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 struck back with a strong performance on Sunday. The Austrian was the best-placed Lamborghini driver in both qualifying and the race with sixth place in the top-class DTM field of 28 GT3 drivers. Lamborghini factory driver Andrea Caldarelli narrowly missed out on the points in two hard-fought races.
Sunday started very promisingly for the crew of team principal Gottfried Grasser already in qualifying. In dry conditions Schmid put it on the third row of the grid and was the fastest of the five Lamborghini drivers in the field. With 25 drivers within one second of each other, qualifying on the 4.318 km long Red Bull Ring was once again a thriller, with Caldarelli also putting in a strong showing, just three tenths of a second off pole position. The 33-year-old Italian put the GGMT Revolution branded #19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 on the sixth row.
After his excellent qualifying, Sunday's race went according to plan for Schmid from the very first moment. The 33-year-old from Steinach am Brenner in Tyrol made up two positions right at the start and pulled away from the rest of the field in the slipstream of the leading pack. At the pit stop on the 21st lap, the GRT crew did an excellent job and sent Schmid back into the race after a quick tyre change in only 7.1 seconds. In a steady second half of the race, Schmid managed sixth place all the way to the finish line. For Caldarelli, however, Sunday was not crowned with success. On the opening lap, he was collected by several competitors, causing him to lose eight positions. In the shallows of the midfield, he fought his way back and got in range of the points several times but was only classified 20th after 41 laps.
On Saturday, the moody weather in Styria was the team's undoing. Qualifying provided a tyre gamble in tricky mixed conditions in the morning. Caldarelli gave GRT a solid starting position with twelfth on the grid, while Schmid put the sister car on row eleven. In the race, the weather rollercoaster continued. Immediately before the start, it rained lightly and the team relied on slicks in anticipation of the track drying out soon. However, the drizzle lasted longer and the dry tyre proved to be the wrong choice. Caldarelli fought his way back from 23rd to 17th position in the course of the race, but missed out on the points by a whisker. Schmid showed the strong pace of the GRT Lamborghini with the second fastest race lap. However, after an incident in the second half of the race, he dropped back and did not see the chequered flag.
Clemens Schmid (AUT)
#63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2
Qualifying 1: P21 - Race 1: DNF
Qualifying 2: P6 - Race 2: P6
Clemens Schmid: "On Saturday, luck was clearly not on our side, but on Sunday we worked for it and were rewarded. Qualifying went very well and that was definitely crucial. It was incredibly close and I got a really good lap in, which put us in a top starting position. In the race, we did everything right from the start. We had already seen on Saturday that the pace was right there in the dry and I quickly got into the rhythm. The pit stop was really perfect this time, many thanks to my crew for the great job. It's a shame that we didn't get more out of the first race, but all in all it was a good end to the weekend."
Andrea Caldarelli (ITA)
#19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2
Qualifying 1: P12 - Race 1: P17
Qualifying 2: P11 - Race 2: P20
Andrea Caldarelli: "It was not an easy weekend. The first race was determined by the weather. On Sunday, I unfortunately had several contacts on the first lap, which caused me to lose ground. I then fought my way back through the midfield, which worked out well with the pit stop. Shortly before the end, things got intense and I lost a few positions again. It's a shame that we couldn't get more out of it, because the car was fast enough this weekend to be fighting further up front. But I still enjoyed my first weekend in the DTM, it was good fun. Many thanks to Lamborghini Squadra Corse and to Gottfried and his team for this opportunity."
Gottfried Grasser, Team Principal of GRT: "We leave the Red Bull Ring with mixed feelings. In the first race, the tyre choice cost us the chance on a top result. On the other hand, Clemens put in a really strong performance on Sunday. His pace was absolutely brilliant in the first race already and with sixth place he got the result he deserved in the second heat. It's great to see him back where he belongs. We all know what great performances he is capable of when everything goes right for him. For Andrea it was very unfortunate. He got involved in several situations in the second race that he couldn't get out of and the results were not what we expected. We have to analyse that because the positions did not do justice to a driver of his calibre. All in all, it was another intense home race for us and, as always, it was great to welcome so many fans and friends to the Red Bull Ring. Many thanks to all our partners for their great support, especially to GGMT Revolution, who were on board here at the Red Bull Ring for the first time. The cooperation was great fun for us."