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Pirelli Paddock Pass: Marcel Leipert

This week’s Pirelli Paddock Pass Q&A with Leipert Motorsport CEO Marcel Leipert…

Photo: Leipert Motorsport

Marcel Leipert is the CEO of Leipert Motorsport, a team that is best known for its long relationship with Lamborghini as a GT3 and Super Trofeo competitor.

Next year the German squad is returning to Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS for the first time in a decade with a Silver-class Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo in the Endurance Cup series.

Ahead of that milestone, Leipert explains the background to his team’s GTWC Europe comeback and how it fits in with the organization’s other racing activities. 

What are the reasons for Leipert Motorsport’s return to GTWC Europe?

“We focused in recent years on Super Trofeo, in the European and Asian championships, as well as GT4 in Europe and Germany [with Mercedes-AMG].

“The requests have grown again for GT3 racing and the grids are getting fuller. We had the plan and the car to do it in 2020, so everything was sorted for Creventic.

“Because of the pandemic, it didn’t work out. It was not the right time to do it on short notice, putting everything in within three months of going racing. It wouldn’t have been a good start.

“So we delayed it to this year. For us we were sure that we would be back in a big championship with a GT3 soon.

“We selected World Challenge because we feel very at home there, having been there on the weekends since more than 10 years in Super Trofeo and GT4.

“We like the format and it makes absolute sense for us to give upcoming drivers from Super Trofeo the chance to establish themselves in GT3. The idea was a logical consequence.”

Has the return to GT3 required changes to the team’s structure?

“We have a very large basement of stuff, because we also have the GT4 program. I’m not worrying about that side, so I think we are pretty well sorted about that and are confident about going into next season without making any changes on the staff side.

“Everything is well-established. I’m happy we have that. It looks like nothing will be shaken through the winter: everything stays as it is, which is a mega base for the future.

“We are a family team and I think the family atmosphere is something that people are happy with, including customers and drivers. This is well-sorted.”

You have already named Brendon Leitch as one of your drivers for 2022. What will the rest of the crew look like?

“Very likely it will be Super Trofeo drivers that step up or have already stepped up.

“The target is to run a Silver car with young drivers. Obviously we have to see how the ratings system changes things, but I’m sure the drivers that we will pair up are on that Silver category level.

“Brendon is working full-time with us, in the workshop preparing the cars. But also he is coaching. He’s doing that really well and is confirmed for next year.

“There are several former drivers who made their way up with us through the Lamborghini young driver program to GT3, such as Jeroen Mul, Frederik Schandorff, Sarah Bovy, Juuso Puhakka and Brendon.”

What is your outlook for winter testing and preparations for the GTWC Europe campaign?

“This is planned at the moment pretty well. The car goes from the Sebring 24 Hours straight to Dubai, and then goes back to Europe.

“We will have a second car for the winter testing here, so that will go side-by-side with winter endurance racing, to have something in Europe for building up the season.

“The drivers ideally have Dubai as preparation for the World Challenge. Hopefully, we see the same drivers in Dubai and World Challenge.”

Is the second car a recent purchase?

“That is a new purchase which will come along in December. At the moment, we do not plan to run it in World Challenge. It’s a car that we will set up in local German championships and for testing.

“We will have one car which is dedicated to World Challenge and nothing else.

“If something fits in with the second car, it’s there. But the focus is to put one car on World Challenge only.”

How important is it for the team to run a GT3 program in addition to Lamborghini Super Trofeo?

“It’s very important. We have gone with the Lamborghini brand since 10 years, so we want to keep on that path because we feel very at home with the manufacturer.

“It’s good to have the chance of bringing up young drivers from the Super Trofeo championships, including Asia where Brendon came from in 2019. We like to give them the vision of doing more.

“For next year, a Silver Cup car is planned. And then we see where we are, if we do a second car or if we increase on the category.

“But that’s future stuff for now: the goal is to establish drivers and get us back again in World Challenge.”

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