EN: Successful mammoth season for Car Collection Motorsport

EN: Successful mammoth season for Car Collection Motorsport

Behind the team of Car Collection Motorsport lies the longest, most exhausting and most complex season in the team’s history. The bare numbers alone are impressive: 25 race weekends in 5 different race series – some of them at the same time, 44 races, 42 different drivers – 8 of them factory drivers – as well as 9 race cars and a total of 85 employees over the entire season were necessary to realise this project. The team trucks covered more than 61,000 kilometres across Europe. In addition to the familiar programmes in the NLS, the ADAC GT Masters and the 24h Series from previous years, the team from Walluf also completed the complete season of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS for the first time this year, as well as a few guest starts in the GTC Race. 

FANATEC GT World Challenge Europe pwd. by AWS
For the GT World Challenge Europe, Car Collection Motorsport joined forces with Fernando Geri’s Tresor team. Under the banner “Tresor by Car Collection”, two Audi R8 LMS evo II cars were entered in both the Sprint Cup and the Endurance Cup. Especially in the Sprint Cup, the driver duo Simon Gachet and Audi Sport driver Christopher Haase shone with several successes. Four podium finishes and other top results ensured a third championship place in this fiercely contested race series in the end.
The sister car with start number 12 repeatedly had to struggle with difficulties in the course of the season. Formula 2 transfer Luca Ghiotto and Audi Sport driver Mattia Drudi often showed their potential, but were rarely able to transform this into countable results due to many retirements and problems. In the Endurance Cup, the #12 was entered by the Ghiotto/Haase/Drudi trio in the Pro classification, while the sister car with the #11 was driven by Lorenzo Patrese and Hugo Valente in the Silver Cup. Axel Blom and later in the season Thierry Vermeulen acted as third drivers. Here, too, the season was mixed due to many collisions and problems.

TotalEnergies 24 hours of Spa
At the season highlight – the 24h of Spa – the extremely highly rated top car with the #12, which lined up with extended factory support and the drivers Drudi/Ghiotto/Haase, had its race already over after less than an hour due to a flat tyre and the resulting damage, after they could still shine as the best Audi in qualifying. The #11 with drivers Lorenzo Patrese, Daniele Di Amato, Alberto Di Folco and Pierre Alexandre Jean showed a strong race and was even able to take the lead in class at times. During the night, another of the many punctures in the field also ended the drive of this car.

Nürburgring Endurance Series 
The season in the Nürburgring Endurance Series was very successful. Here, too, Car Collection Motorsport started with two cars under the label “Lionspeed by Car Collection”. Patrick Kolb completed the entire season in the Pro classification for the first time and shared the #24 with changing teammates as well as several Audi Sport drivers. In addition, Lionspeed by Car Collection also regularly fielded its sister car, the #23, in the PRO-AM classification. The main players here were Lorenzo Rocco, Jörg Viebahn and Klaus Koch. In the course of the season, the up-and-coming talents Leon Köhler, Dennis Fetzer and Simon Reicher joined them. Lionspeed by Car Collection was able to climb the top step of the PRO-AM class twice this season – including victory at the season highlight of the NLS, the 12h race – and took three further podium places. These good results ensured that Lorenzo Rocco was able to defend his title from last year in this classification and will also go down in the history books as the champion of the PRO-AM class in 2022.

ADAC TotalEnergies 24h Nürburgring
The big highlight of the season was, of course, the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. Here, Car Collection was one of only two factory-supported Audi teams on the grid. Audi Sport Team Car Collection with the #22 entered the ring with Audi Sport drivers Christopher Haase, Nico Müller, Patric Niederhauser and René Rast and thus had an extremely strong driver pairing. But the #24 of Lionspeed by Car Collection was also very strong with Patrick Kolb and the three Audi Sport drivers Mattia Drudi, Christopher Mies and Patric Niederhauser. Already at the 24h qualifiers, this car was able to finish on the podium in third place. The #23 car, which also competed under Lionspeed by Car Collection and started in the PRO-AM classification, was driven by Dennis Fetzer, Klaus Koch, Audi Sport driver Dennis Marschall and Simon Reicher. 
The top car with the #22 showed a very good performance throughout the 24h weekend and fought for podium places for a long time in the race, which were ultimately only prevented by two time penalties, so that they finished the 24h race in a good fourth place. Only two places behind them, the sister car with the #24 crossed the finish line, while the #23 finished in 13th place overall. At the same time, this driver crew secured fourth place in the Pro-AM classification.

ADAC GT Masters – Int. German GT-Championship
Two Audi R8 LMS evo II cars also competed in the ADAC GT Masters this season. As last year, Audi Sport driver Markus Winkelhock and Florian Spengler, who also competed in the Trophy classification for Gentleman drivers, took turns in the #69 car. Completely new and highly interesting in this constellation was the sister car with the #33, where Audi Sport driver Mattia Drudi and Dutchman Thierry Vermeulen turned the wheel. While the Italian Drudi has become a familiar face in the GT3 world, Vermeulen moved up from the Porsche Carrera Cup into the GT3 league this year. The young Dutchman can count on strong motorsport backing. Vermeulen grew up with Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen and is one of his closest friends. But the connection goes much deeper. Max Verstappen’s father – ex-F1 star Jos Verstappen – acts as mentor to the young Vermeulen, while his father Raymond Vermeulen steers Max Verstappen’s fortunes as manager. No wonder, then, that the Audi R8 LMS evo II in the ADAC GT Masters was branded “Red Bull Verstappen.com Racing”. The car’s design was largely dominated by partner Red Bull, providing a splash of colour in the ADAC GT Masters field.
While problems prevented the #33 from fulfilling its potential in the first two events, its big moment arrived at Zandvoort. At Thierry Vermeulen’s home race, of all places, the Dutchman and Mattia Drudi were able to claim a much-acclaimed second place on Sunday. In the further course of the season, they managed to get into the top-10 a few times, but the big successes were again denied due to frequent collisions. The same fate often befell the sister car with the #69. The season was marked by many retirements due to accidents that were often not their fault. What would have been possible was shown by fifth place at the Sachsenring, when the duo Winkelhock/Spengler finally managed to achieve their best result of the season with a problem-free race.

GTC Race
Youngster Thierry Vermeulen also competed in the GTC Race in addition to his ADAC GT Masters campaign. The race series as part of the ADAC Racing Weekend regularly starts a few weeks before the ADAC GT Masters at the same race tracks and is a good preparation. In his first race at the Lausitzring, Vermeulen took pole position straight away and went on to win the 60-minute race. He held off Mercedes star Maximilian Götz with a bravura performance, although he was plagued by brake problems in the final laps. The young Dutchman has shown great development this season, with excellent coaching from his partner and Audi Sport driver Drudi.
The endurance races of the 24h Series have also been a field of activity of Car Collection Motorsport for years and could not be missed in 2022. Here, the popular and in recent years very successful “Kirchhoff car” was used. The Audi R8 LMS evo II with the legendary #34 and the white-blue design was able to win the AM class at the 12h of Hockenheim and take third place in class at the also 12-hour race in Spa as well as at the 24h race in Dubai. But the Audi R8 LMS GT4 from Lionspeed by Car Collection also competed in several races and recorded a second place in Portimao as its best result of the season.

Planning for the upcoming 2023 season is in full swing. It is already certain that Peter Schmidt’s team will return to the Porsche brand and, in addition to the familiar Audi R8 LMS evo II, will field two brand new Porsche 911 GT3 R (992). The concrete programme will be announced at a later date. Requests from interested drivers are welcome!

Credit: C.O. Mediavision / Christopher Otto