Racing great Hans-Joachim Stuck hopes to enter more Fanatec GT2 European Series races this year and could even run the full five-round season depending on schedules.
Stuck, 70, is making his racing return at Monza this weekend in a KTM X-Bow GT2 run by Reiter Engineering, which developed the car for SRO Motorsports Group’s GT2 formula.
The 1986 and 1987 Le Mans winner qualified fifth on the 12-car grid for tomorrow’s 50-minute race, which he will contest alongside Austrian rally driver Kris Rosenberg.
When asked by Sportscar365 about whether he hopes to make further GT2 race appearances after Monza, Stuck said: “I hope, because in the beginning I could only do three, because of other engagements in my work with the Volkswagen Group.
“But one of those, a presentation, is already canceled. So now it’s only one which would be Spa, on the same date as a classic rally where I do a drive with Dr. Porsche.
“But from yesterday it seems there is a possibility it might be canceled, so then I think I have a good chance to stay.
“It would be cool. We have to talk to Mr. [Hubert] Trunkenpolz [KTM board member]. I would say there is a good chance that we could do it. I would love it, absolutely.”
Stuck said that Reiter Engineering boss Hans Reiter initiated this weekend’s Monza outing with the X-Bow GT2, which is powered by a 2.5-liter five-cylinder Audi engine and weighs 1048 kg before Balance of Performance adjustments.
The pair have worked together before, with Reiter running the Lamborghini that Stuck drove in his last official career race at the 2011 Nürburgring 24.
“Hans Reiter called me and he said, ‘Stucky, there’s a new GT2 championship and we have a car free. Would you like to race?’
“I said, ‘Hans, this is a cool idea.’ I haven’t been in a race car since October 2020, when I last drove at the Nürburgring in the R8 GT3 taxi with Phoenix Racing.
“Hans said, because of my Bronze rating, I could do it alone. But then, they contacted Kris Rosenberger, and I think he’s great. Rally drivers are, for me, the best drivers in the world.
“He’s a great partner, we’re the same size and everything. The car is nice to drive. I drove the X-Bow road car two years ago and the GT4 in Spielberg last year on a charity thing.
“Also my two boys are racing for KTM and they were telling me lots. So they said, ‘go do it!’ Why not? I’m the happiest person in the world at the moment.”
Despite his vast racing resume, which includes winning the 1985 World Sportscar Championship and the 1990 DTM series, Stuck explained that Rosenberger has taught him new tricks for lapping the 3.6-mile Monza circuit.
Monza was the site of a 1986 World Sportscar Championship round win for Stuck and Bell, two months before the pair triumphed at Le Mans alongside Al Holbert.
Stuck said his last drive at Monza came in 2011, during his final competitive season in Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe.
“I’ve done everything at Monza: Formula 1, Formula 2, sports cars, touring cars… but I learned two things from here,” he explained.
“The first was in the Parabolica, where he [Rosenberger] does not dive right into the apex but stays a little bit longer on the outside and then turns in. He can use this earlier to go fuller on the throttle.
“When he comes to the apex at the end [of the next straight] he can be six to seven km/h more.
“The other was in the second Lesmo: same story. Not trying to go in deep but go in smooth and earlier as well. It’s great when you have someone who you can learn something from.”
Full Flight Soon Established after “Nervous” Start
Stuck turned his first laps on Thursday, during a test session that included 40 GT3 cars from the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup field.
Following that baptism of fire, Stuck felt that he managed to get acquainted with the KTM and its features including ABS and traction control reasonably quickly.
“The biggest problem was that on the straight we have the same speed, but with the aero they [GT3s] brake a lot later,” he said.
“And, on the two mirrors there are two cameras. But you don’t know where to look: on the monitor where there’s a mirror, on the mirror… I must do anything but crash.
“I was totally stressed by the situation, but now I’m used to it. I was a bit nervous, but now it’s OK.
“What I think is good is that the car is not tricky to drive. There are a couple of cars that I’ve driven in my life that really try to do something funny, but this is very reliable for the driver.
“It gives you a lot of confidence and makes you want to try more. It’s encouraging you.”