Christopher Mies never expected he would be leading the championship heading into the final round of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup season, but he has been proven wrong.
Not only have Mies and co-driver Enzo Ide put themselves in that position, they came out of the penultimate round at Hungaroring with an impressive 17-point lead in the standings.
“It’s a bit unexpected, to be honest,” Mies told Sportscar365 after the Hungaroring race.
“So far, except Misano, where our weekend wasn’t really good, I’ve had a fantastic season with Enzo. But no one expected us to lead the championship going into the last race.”
Thus far, Mies and Ide have won two Qualifying Races, at Nürburgring and Hungaroring, and the Main Race at Brands Hatch. As effectively a Pro-Am lineup in the Pro category, it hasn’t been easy, though.
Because of this, Mies believes that the main reason for the success of the No. 33 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS has been the improvement of his Silver-rated co-driver.
“Enzo’s really improved,” he explained. “He had some podiums last year. For sure the new R8 has become more of a proper race car now, and I think it suits Enzo quite well. Braking into corners is much easier for him in this car.
“I think he’s a bit underrated. He doesn’t look like a race car driver, and he was never aiming [to be a] professional. But when he has a target, and sees we can win something, he’s really on it.
“He’s watching data with me, he’s watching video and he really tries his best. I always knew that he’s good, and he’s always good in the wet. If a driver is good in the wet, it means he has driving skills.”
It’s often the case during the 60-minute sprint races that Mies is the driver who fights to overtake, while Ide’s strength is in defending, according to Mies.
“He knows how to defend a position, but he will never be a guy who will attack someone,” Mies said.
“If someone’s on the same level but he’s a bit quicker, he will always stay behind and try and put him under pressure into making a mistake, but he will never make a [risky] move.
“That’s the difference between a Pro driver and a Silver driver. He doesn’t need to, all he needs to do is drive as quickly as possible for half an hour.”
For the championship weekend in which they will go head-to-head with HTP Motorsport’s Dominik Baumann and Maximilian Buhk in a Mercedes-AMG GT3, Mies is clear on just one goal.
“To score at least one point more than the Mercedes in the end!” he said. “I expect the Mercedes to be really strong there.
“It’s nice to win a championship, and it’s especially a present for the team and for Enzo because they’ve done the best job out of everyone.”
Mies was originally planning on missing the Barcelona weekend, owing to the clash with ADAC GT Masters, in which he is also leading the championship fight.
“At this stage, everyone expected me to go to ADAC for the last race, but now as we are leading, the situation has changed,” he said.
As far as the championship lead is concerned, Mies and Ide are in quite a comfortable position at the moment.
“To be honest, 17 points is quite a big margin,” Mies said. “You have the Qualifying Race with a maximum of eight points, then you have the Championship Race with 25.”
For [HTP Motorsport], they would have to win twice, which is quite unusual. I don’t think we’ve seen any car this year which has won two races in the weekend.
“All in all, I would say we just have to survive a little bit, not get any penalties, and still have to push,” he said. “As long as we stay around the Merc, we’ll be fine. The pressure’s on them.”