Ever since it was introduced in 2015, Callaway Competition’s GT3-R C7 Corvette has been taking on the world’s best drivers in the ADAC GT Masters series. With many Championship wins under their belt, their C7-series racecar has proven itself in competition since its debut.
The Callaway Competition team has been fighting the good fight throughout the 2019 season. With two more races for the season and only 40 points between team Callaway and the points leaders, the race at their home track in Hockenheim held the keys to another championship.
Going in to the race weekend (September 13-15, 2019) the team was optimistic about their abilities for good reason. Last year, Callaway Competition driver Marvin Kirchhöfer won at the Hockenheimring with the C7 GT3-R. Also, the Hockenheimring is Callaway’s “home track”. The famed racetrack suits the Corvette and the Callaway team has already tested there previously this year.
Going into the event, the team never envisioned how long the two-day event would become. Their goal was to chip away at the points deficit and postpone the title showdown until the season finale at the Sachsenring, the final race of the season. That did not happen. Both races were delayed due to serious crashes early in the race. Sadly, the Callaway Competition GT3-R Corvette was involved in both incidents, through decisions made by competitors during the heat of competition.
On Saturday, the GT3-R Callaway Corvette went off-track to avoid hitting the Audi R8 LMS. In doing so, Callaway driver, Markus Pommer clips the Audi and gets further pummeled by another unwilling participant in the foray. The race would go on, but the chase for valuable championship points by the Callaway Competition team was put on hold while the crew set off to repair the damaged Corvette. Throughout the day and ensuing night, the Callaway Competition team re-assembled the car to get it ready for Sunday’s race.
With a dangerous starting position in the middle of the field, Markus was the victim of a crash with a car in front of him and then he was hit hard by two other cars. With demolished suspensions at three wheels and with heavy body damage, the Corvette was in horrendous condition. Despite the initial shock, it was immediately obvious to everyone in the team that we would try everything to roll this car out of the pit on Sunday. – Team Boss, Mike Gramke
On Sunday morning, the GT3-R was again, full of life. Markus Pommer describes the feeling in the pits, “What they did overnight showed me how much heart, passion and enthusiasm the team has, tackling a common goal. It was a goosebump moment when the guys started the Corvette’s engine on Sunday morning.”
Callaway driver Marvin Kirchhöfer qualified the Corvette in the middle of the Race #2 field at P14. Considering that several other teams were unable to get their cars gathered enough to make an attempt at Sunday’s race, the middle of the pack is doing better than over half of the teams who entered the event.
It was a goosebump moment when the guys started the Corvette’s engine on Sunday morning. – Callaway driver, Markus Pommer
At the start of the race, Stefan Mücke’s Audi R8 LMS made contact with the Corvette’s right rear quarter panel. The prolonged contact was long enough and hard enough to turn Kirchhöfer into the guardrail, seriously damaging the work completed just the night before.
The race director black-flagged Mücke, disqualifying him, but the damage was done. Team Callaway’s championship season was sealed by a series of early-race situations that were out of their control.