Prototype Cup Germany·28.7.2022

Jacob Erlbacher: It is an honour to drive for Gebhardt

Young Jacob Erlbacher lines up for long-standing team Gebhardt Motorsport in the 2022 Prototype Cup Germany. In doing so, he is taking another step towards achieving his career goal – a start at the 24h Le Mans.

Gebhardt Motorsport is one of the teams in the new Prototype Cup Germany. The outfit from Sinsheim is an iconic team and was racing in the legendary Group C era back in the 1980s and 1990s. They are running a Ginetta G61-LT-P3 in the 2022 Prototype Cup Germany, with Jacob Erbacher (21/Böblingen) and Michael Herich (45/Bruehl) sharing the driving duties.

Jacob Erlbacher is contesting his first LMP3 season © Photo: ADAC

For youngster Erlbacher, driving for Gebhardt Motorsport is rather special. “Since I started out in automobile racing, I have been supported by Gebhardt. You could say I am the team’s junior driver,” says Erlbacher proudly. “As such, it was clear that I would race for Gebhardt Motorsport in the Prototype Cup Germany.”

Gebhardt Motorsport has already shown its potential in the four races so far in 2022. The record so far reads three top-eight results and a DNF. “We are obviously missing the really top results. However, we are new to LMP3 racing. We are learning from race to race and are improving all the time,” says Erlbacher. “For example, the recent weekend at the Nürburgring was important, as it allowed us to learn about our car’s limits. 2022 is a learning year for us. Nevertheless, we want to get further to the front of the field over the course of the season. I am very confident we will achieve that.”

Erlbacher feels right at home in the new Prototype Cup Germany, which was launched in 2022. “It is a great series and a super platform for us,” he says. “I like the format, with the two sprint races and driver changeovers. It allows you to practice everything. Some of the opposition are really strong. The Prototype Cup Germany is perfect for a driver like me, who is new to prototype racing.”

The 460-hp LMP3 cars used in the Prototype Cup Germany are the first level of a pyramid system, come up with by Le Mans organiser ACO. LMP3 and the larger LMP2 class allow the drivers and teams to develop towards the top category, Hypercars – and, where possible, to start in the classic 24-hour race in Le Mans. “Le Mans is obviously one of my big career goals. I like the fast prototypes,” Erlbacher makes clear. “However, I would also like to continue to compete in touring cars in the future. That is where my roots are.”

Born in Austria, Erlbacher started his motorsport career in karting in 2008, and switched to automobile racing in 2018. After early races in a BMW 318ti, he came through GTC Race on his way to ADAC GT4 Germany in the 2020 season. He also appears regularly on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. Erlbacher has two podiums to his name at the legendary 24-hour race in the “Green Hell”.

However, the 21-year-old also enjoys classic race cars – and in that regard he is in exactly the right place at Gebhardt Motorsport. “Every now and again I drive the team’s vintage Group C cars, such as the Gebhardt C88, which is powered by an Audi turbo engine,” reveals Erlbacher. “I was also at the wheel for the roll-out of the Labatts Gebhardt JC 853. The car came back to the team last year, and I was the first to drive it. That was a huge honour for me.”