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Grasser Growing Crew to Handle Busy Rescheduled Calendars

Gottfried Grasser preparing his team for a busy period of rescheduled racing later this year…

Photo: Jamey Price/Lamborghini

Grasser Racing Team is preparing for an expected busy few months of rescheduled races by increasing its staff, with its initial plan of using the same crew for on both sides of the Atlantic now looking impractical.

The Austrian team has reconfirmed its commitment to both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and ADAC GT Masters despite uncertain race calendars on account of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While its cars are based in different workshops in Florida and Austria, the team had planned on using the same on-site crew for both championships, but team principal Gottfried Grasser no longer expects this to be viable.

“I have really big doubts, independent of where they put the race dates, that it is possible with one crew anymore,” he told Sportscar365. 

“I expect the earliest possible restart is July. Then you have July, August, September, October and November, so five months in total, where every championship will try to get their events in.

“This will be a huge disaster, in my opinion. God bless we are only doing two championships, but what is clear for us is we have to set up the team differently for this period of time, with two separate crews.

“In every team, you have a base crew, the chief mechanics of the cars, who you need to keep on each car because otherwise it’s a short time to train people very well.

“I’m having ongoing talks with different people in the team about their preference of America or Europe, and then we fill it up from behind.”

Despite the unprecedented disruption caused by the global health crisis, Grasser has remained true to his commitments to run three Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos in both series. 

“We will stick to our plan, for sure,” he confirmed. “Firstly, we have the agreements to do it, and secondly, it’s our biggest wish that we can do it.

“We have the same amount of cars, we have three cars ready for ADAC and three cars in America in the workshop there.”

While IMSA has already communicated a number of calendar changes, ADAC has been quiet about race dates for the German-based GT Masters series.

Its season-opener at Oschersleben has been moved from April to October, but rounds at Autodrom Most and Red Bull Ring are both still slated for May and June. Grasser expects postponements of both are imminent.

“Most will be impossible because the [Czech] border is closed and Red Bull Ring will be the same because in Austria, the government already said no events over 5,000 people happening until July,” he explained.

Grasser confirmed that neither of its operated GEAR or Magnus squads had been entered for the WeatherTech Sprint Cup, meaning it was not slated to contest the Long Beach and Detroit races, which have both since been canceled.

Reduced Calendars Unpopular With Teams

Grasser expects most teams, including his own, would object to a reduced calendar for a sprint series like GT Masters, which he believes has to either run all planned rounds, or none at all.

“Every team signs an agreement with the drivers for seven race weekends, and if ADAC presents a calendar with only five races, it would be a pity and hard to negotiate with all the drivers,” he said.

“In my opinion, a championship only has the option of going on for a full season, or nothing. If a championship decides to go from seven events to five, they also have to ask the teams if they agree or not.

“I don’t think a lot of teams will agree to a five-event season. Would you run a Pro car for only five events? Even if you are champion in that year, it’s not a big title anymore. It’s not something proper, you cannot offer this to the teams.

“There is the indication at the moment that [racing in July] will already be tough. I think in two or three weeks, we might hear there are no events before August.

“If we hear that, I think it is over for most championships. There is absolutely no sense to launch a championship in August.”

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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