Third place is enough for Owega and Seppänen to clinch the title in the ADAC GT Masters. Haupt Racing Team wins the Team Championship. Valente and Aron take victory for the first time in the final race.
The ADAC GT Masters has its new champions: Cologne’s Salman Owega and Elias Seppänen from Finland celebrated the title win with their team Landgraf Motorsport after finishing third in the final race of the season at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg. In winning the championship, the Landgraf duo in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 went down in the history books: 18-year-old Owega and his 19-year-old team-mate Seppänen are the youngest title-winning duo in the history of the ADAC’s iconic GT series. “Champion in the ADAC GT Masters – I cannot believe it. That is a great weight off my shoulders. The fact that we are the youngest championship-winning duo is unbelievable. Awesome. This will be hard to beat. The weekend did not actually go entirely to plan, but that doesn’t matter anymore,” said Owega. Landgraf Motorsport also became the first team in the history of the ADAC GT Masters to successfully defend the Drivers title.
Mercedes-AMG drivers Alain Valente (CH) and Ralf Aron (EST/both Haupt Racing Team) celebrated their first victory on Sunday. Second place for Petru Umbrarescu (RO) and Maximilian Götz (Uffenheim/both Haupt Racing Team) made it a one-two-three for the manufacturer from Stuttgart. The one-two was not the only cause for celebration at Haupt Racing Team. Founder Hubert Haupt’s outfit also won the Team Championship in the ADAC GT Masters.
The grand showdown for the 2023 ADAC GT Masters title took place in sunshine and temperatures around 17 degrees Celsius. The crowds at the circuit near Mannheim witnessed a spectacular start to the 60-minute race. Marco Mapelli’s (I/GRT Grasser-Racing-Team) hopes of winning the title were dashed early on after a collision on the start/finish straight at the 4.574-kilometre track. The Lamborghini works driver was forced to retire, such was the extent of the damage to his car. After the subsequent safety car phase, pole-sitter Aron set the pace and defended his lead. The Mercedes Junior withstood the pressure from Götz, the 2012 ADAC GT Masters champion, and hung on at the front of the field. Following the mandatory pit stop and driver changeover, Valente was first across the finish line. This was the first success in the ADAC GT Masters for Aron and Valente. Victory for the two Mercedes-AMG drivers saw Haupt Racing Team crowned Team champions in its first season in the ADAC’s iconic GT series. Valente and Aron ended their rookie year in second place in the table. “We will celebrate today. There is nothing better than ending the season with a win. It is awesome to present the team with its first victory in the ADAC GT Masters,” said a delighted Aron.
The trophy for second place went to Umbrarescu and Götz. “I was lucky that the Mercedes-AMG was not damaged at the start. I was in the thick of the action. I am really pleased to head home with another trophy at the end of the season,” said Götz. In third place were Owega and Seppänen, the 2023 ADAC GT Masters champions, who came through from seventh on the grid to make it onto the podium. “The start was pretty chaotic and I tried to stay clear of all the turmoil, which I managed to do. I knew that third place would be enough to give us the title. With that in mind, I no longer took any big risks and handed the car over to Salman unscathed. It is unbelievable to be rewarded for a great season with the title,” said Seppänen.
Fourth place went to Porsche drivers Jannes Fittje (Langenhain) and Nico Menzel (Kelberg/both Huber Motorsport). In the battle for fifth place, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Moritz Wiskirchen (Euskirchen) and Marcel Marchewicz (Schwetzingen/both Schnitzelalm Racing) came out on top against Audi drivers John Paul Southern (USA) and Jonas Karklys (LT/both Liqui Moly Team Engstler). Luca Arnold (Pfronstetten) and Christer Jöns (Ingelheim) guided the second Schnitzelalm Racing Mercedes-AMG to seventh place. Title contenders Finn Gehrsitz (Stuttgart) and Sven Müller (Bingen/both Team Joos by Racemotion) were also involved in the collision at the start, which brought the final race of the season to a premature end for start driver Müller.