Emil Frey Racing’s decision to move one side of its GT3 program to ADAC GT Masters was influenced by “several topics” according to team principal Lorenz Frey-Hilti.
The Swiss organization is again running three Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos in two championships this year, but its Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup program has been replaced by a maiden campaign in GT Masters.
Emil Frey Racing, which is the competition arm of the Emil Frey group that provides automotive services including used car sales, is continuing to participate in GTWC Europe Endurance Cup and is set to be the only Pro-class Lamborghini entrant this season.
Explaining the background to the team’s program adjustment for 2022, Frey-Hilti told Sportscar365 that the call came after consultation with Lamborghini on a range of points.
Emil Frey effectively replaces Grasser Racing Team as Lamborghini’s main representative in GT Masters. Grasser has, in turn, moved to the DTM with a four-car entry.
“It was several topics for sure. A big target from the manufacturer last year was to win this series because they have won most GT3 series but not ADAC GT Masters,” said Frey-Hilti.
“Last year they got quite close to it, but at the end they couldn’t get the title. For Lamborghini, it is a good platform.
“For us, the Emil Frey group is working strongly in Germany and nearby areas. The German-speaking market is quite important for our core business, as a promotion tool.
“For this, it was always a really interesting platform. Also there is live TV coverage which we don’t have in GTWC Europe. In the German market it is quite known, so we always looked if it makes sense for us to enter or not.”
But Frey-Hilti added that it was also important for the team to remain involved in SRO Motorsports Group’s GTWC Europe platform, as well as endurance racing.
“Our longer experience exists in GT World Challenge,” he said. “We know the regulations by heart and can gain some experience over the last years, starting with the Jaguar.
“It’s a championship where we feel at home and we know the people.
“It’s at the end a decision that we could make together with Lamborghini. Their focus is clear on these two championships. Our main targets are huge. We know we are driving against the best drivers and teams.
“Also we are happy that there are no overlapping races. This was a big point. The schedule is quite tough: we have some back-to-back races so it’s a big challenge for us, for the logistics.
“But in general I think everyone in the team is happy to be able to race two series. It is the first time we have done this and we think it’s a big challenge.
“It’s sad that we had to leave [Sprint Cup] but we couldn’t do both [that and GT Masters]. We would need two different teams and it’s not something that we wanted or could do.”
Frey-Hilti reckons the team’s GT Masters transition will be eased by the introduction of a new Pirelli tire in the series, meaning the experienced teams will also have something to adjust to.
Furthermore, GT Masters has a similar two-driver, 60-minute race format to that found in Sprint Cup and also uses SRO’s Balance of Performance system.
Emil Frey will engage a crossover of personnel for its two programs, with engineers on each car working in both series. Some freelance crew members will be on the GTWC Europe program only, but in general the team is trying to tackle 2022 as a core unit.
“The fixed [full-time] team is on both series and for each series we have freelancers,” said Frey-Hilti.
“For us it is important to work for several years with the same freelancers that we know.
“For GTWC you need more people than ADAC GT Masters, especially for the pit stops, so we work with more freelancers there.”
DTM Program Was Under Consideration
The DTM was also on Emil Frey Racing’s radar for 2022 and the team is understood to have held discussions with Lamborghini about how to approach the ITR-run series.
Lamborghini has been showing an increased interest in the DTM and will be represented by at least five Huracan GT3 Evos this year courtesy of Grasser and T3 Motorsport.
“We got approached several times last season,” said Frey-Hilti.
“We have tried to help [Lamborghini] to give our feedback as a team, on what we think would work from their ideas.
“I think we have the experience of working with several brands: we have built our own car and know the GT3 regulations well. Our technical team gave advice on the discussions they had.
“When it came up to if we, as a team, should race there or not, at the beginning it was quite tricky because nobody was sure what would happen.
“We decided to have a look at it last season [while] staying in GT World Challenge, and we saw the big progress they had, mainly on what they did on the marketing side.”
After a period of deliberation, Emil Frey and Lamborghini opted not to pursue a DTM program together, with GT Masters emerging as the more viable option.
“We for sure looked at it and tried to discuss through different scenarios with Lamborghini,” Frey-Hilti explained.
“In the end, we saw that it was quite tricky from a financial point of view. In ADAC GT Masters, you can have two drivers who share a budget and three in GT World Challenge.
“It is tricky to find a driver who is subsidizing the budget and is also really strong, if the manufacturer is not willing to pay.
“In GTWC, besides accidents, we can have quite a clear view on what the season will cost us. In the DTM it is a bit more difficult – will it stay or increase? What do we need?
“And on the support side, many partners’ marketing budgets are reduced as sales in the automotive industry have gone back.
“We tried to find some partnerships for the DTM but we couldn’t bring all the budget together so that it made sense, compared to ADAC and GT World Challenge which made more sense for us.”