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Goetz: “Bit Weird” to Tackle Petit Le Mans With DTM Rivals

DTM champion Maximilian Goetz set to head into his first start at Petit Le Mans…

Image: Gavin Baker/IMSA

Maximilian Goetz says it is a “bit weird” to contest Motul Petit Le Mans with two of his DTM rivals in Maximilian Buhk and Mikael Grenier, but says the trio should easily be able adapt to their new environment at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

Goetz, Buhk and Grenier will run the ten-hour enduro aboard the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, with team regular Cooper MacNeil absent from the lineup.

As part of their full-season involvement, the three drivers are frequently racing against each other in DTM, with reigning series champion Goetz competing with Team Winward, Buhk with Muecke Motorsport and Grenier with GruppeM Racing.

This saw them in action as opponents at the Red Bull Ring round as recently as last week, before flying to the U.S. to drive the Proton Competition-operated car at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship finale.

“It’s a bit weird,” Goetz told Sportscar365. “We were competitors in DTM the whole season but now we come here and it’s a new approach.

“Every race is different, so we should forget what happened in DTM or what’s going on there.

“It’s a new challenge, new race and new targets.

“I think we are all professionals and it is quite easy to say that we are now one team and we want to achieve one goal. I think that is quite easy for us.”

Goetz and Buhk have a strong record as partners in Mercedes-AMG GT3 machinery from previous years.

In 2013, the duo teamed with Bernd Schneider to claim overall victory in the 24 Hours of Spa.

It is always good with him, because he’s the relaxed one and I try to push a bit more, maybe,” Goetz said of Buhk. “In the end we are working really well together. Also with Mikael, it’s professional. We are here for one goal.”

The German pairing last competed as a duo during last year’s Spa event as part as an impromptu lineup with Nick Catsburg at HubAuto Racing, as the Dutchman replaced compatriot Yelmer Buurman.

“Yelmer was planned, but then Catsburg [came in] because Yelmer had COVID-19,” Goetz recalled.  “So it was Catsburg, Buhk and me in the car. But the team wasn’t ready, to be honest.

“We struggled a lot last year but we did so many races together in the past so I think we know each other quite well.”

Buhk is the only driver out of the three to have contested Petit Le Mans before, while Goetz and Grenier visit the Georgia circuit for the first time.

“Of course the prep was not a hundred percent perfect,” Goetz noted.  “First of all the late call and I have never been here, like Mikael.

“So we did some laps in the simulator, but you come here and it looks completely different.

“You behave different on track. If you look at the lineup from the others, they are all more experienced than us.

“Of course we put some pressure on ourselves, but it makes no sense to put pressure because we need to go step by step now.”

Despite the short prep time and the high level of competition, Goetz remains buoyed about the team’s odds.

“I think we have a quick lineup, but it is now all about how quick we can learn the track,” he said. “You can see all the Pro cars are really strong, all of them.

“So there’s no car that has no potential to win. Everybody has a chance.”

He added: “We are not fighting for the championship. We will see what’s coming to us, how the race comes to us.

“We want to make no mistakes and then we will see where we are.”

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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