One of the revelations of the 2015 Blancpain GT Series season has been the rise of Rinaldi Racing, with the lone Ferrari team competing full-time in both the Sprint and Endurance Series having surprised more than a few people in the paddock.
For Marco Seefried, the German squad’s early season performance, highlighted by a pole and provisional win at Monza, hasn’t come by luck but rather hard work by the tight-knit, Michele Rinaldi-led organization.
“Everybody was promising us that we’d be having a really difficult year with the Ferrari because other teams have tried before,” Seefried told Sportscar365. “While the [Sprint Series] tracks don’t suit the car, the Endurance calendar is way better for the Ferrari.
“We found out that we really have to get to the point with the car and the setup to be competitive.
“The field is quite strong. Even when there’s only 18 or 20 cars there, the teams who are there are really good.”
Seefried and co-driver Norbert Siedler head into today’s round at Moscow Raceway looking to improve on their Sprint Series season-best second-place finish in the Qualifying Race at Zolder last month.
It comes on the heels of a disappointing outing in the Endurance Series last month at Paul Ricard, where their Ferrari was collected in a multi-car accident on the opening lap.
“You have to do your best [in the Sprint Series] and not just the drivers but the teams as well, with the pit stop,” Seefried said. “They’ve improved a lot, which helped us also. At Nogaro, we finished 4th and 5th.
“I think one of our strongest weekends was Brands Hatch, in terms of pure performance. But we had a bad qualifying and a puncture in the first race. Then in the second race, we had problems with the shock.
“Pure speed-wise, we’ve been good. Everyone said we’d struggle at Zolder but we finished second in the Qualifying Race. That was quite strong.”
The team’s strong performance has also gained the attention of Ferrari, which has recently been providing additional support.
“We’re really pleased that we could always show up as the best Ferrari team, either in the Endurance Series or Sprint Series,” Seefried said.
“It’s not just been one-week performances, so we’ve also been getting a good response from Italy. We can consistently show that we are right at the top.”
It’s been a busy year for the 39-year-old German, who has combined his Blancpain GT program along with a full-season effort in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Dempsey Proton Racing, as well as well as driving for Magnus Racing in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races.
Seefried also took part in the Nürburgring 24 in a HTP Bentley and has additional VLN rounds planned this year, which has made the recent early summer stretch of races virtually non-stop for one of the fastest Silver-rated drivers in the business.
“I used to do a lot of instructing as a coach in between the races but I turned that down this year, nearly to zero, otherwise I couldn’t breathe,” he said.
“You need [time] to recover. You have to do your paperwork, write reports to the team and do your laundry somehow between races, those two or three days that you may have.”
He’s coming off a particularly successful streak of races, with class podiums at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, and will be looking to continue that run today in Moscow.
But after that, it will be some well-deserved weekend off for one of the sport’s hardest-working drivers.
“I was in real trouble with my girlfriend because she booked a holiday and Proton Racing wanted me for another ELMS race next weekend,” Seefried said.
“But since it’s been my tenth weekend in a row, I said, ‘Sorry, this is one I just have to skip, [in order to] have some days off.'”