Patric Niederhauser’s first year as an official Lamborghini GT3 junior
Swiss driver Patric Niederhauser set himself ambitious goals for his debut year in the Blancpain GT Series and ADAC GT Masters. The 25-year-old impressed by turning in some excellent stints and qualifying sessions. Niederhauser and his team-mate Daniel Zampieri, joined by Fabiano Babini in the Endurance Cup, progressed through to join the top echelons of the world’s best sports car drivers several times.
Patric, how did your first season as an official Lamborghini GT3 junior go?
I’m very pleased with my personal showing. My stints were good to very good.
Unfortunately, my performance was not always reflected in the results. And that’s what it comes down to, ultimately. We made the most of our opportunities apart from just one or two little things that happened in qualifying. I would say, however, that I didn’t live up to my expectations, but that it was through no fault of my own.
What in your opinion were the key factors for that last statement?
As a team, unfortunately, we were unable to use the balance of performance to our advantage. We as drivers fought, but the way up into the closely-fought Top Five of this incredibly close field remained barred to us thanks to the balance of power. Due to the enormously competitive nature of the field and the high standard in the Blancpain GT Series and the ADAC GT Masters, everything has to run like clockwork, otherwise you soon drop back.
How important is it for you to have a strong team-mate?
I find that having a team-mate who can regularly challenge me is essential. Daniel Zampieri was very fast throughout the season. Of course, the very first thing you want to do is beat your team-mate. We both had a great relationship and pushed each other. He did not disappoint at all from a speed point of view. There were many races where I nosed ahead and others where he was a bit better. I was a tad faster than him, taking the whole season into account. I’ve done a pretty good job as a newcomer, considering that Daniel is already an established figure in GT racing.
How do you rate your personal development?
2016 was definitely a character-building year for me. I’ve certainly made plenty of progress as far as driving goes. We had problems that were outside of my control, but I quickly learned how to deal with them and get the most out of the situation. I’ve also developed more as a person. I’m basically a calm, relaxed kind of guy who tries to avoid conflict, but in certain situations, you just have to be tough and take the bull by the horns if you want to be successful. This year has certainly seen me make progress as far as that goes.
Your personal highlight of the season has to be the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps, for sure?
Without a shadow of a doubt! Spa is simply Spa. I’d had practically no experience of driving a GT3 car at the track, but it was such incredibly good fun to battle against 65 evenly-matched cars and top drivers. Chasing around Eau Rouge at night is simply an indescribable feeling. It would have made me incredibly happy, had I been able to reinforce that amazing feeling with a top-class result. This is now my goal for the future!
What are your plans for next year?
I think I’ll be back in the cockpit of a GT3 car next year. It’s where I see myself for the time being, although if I’m honest, I would love at some point to take out an LMP2 racing car again. I hope that I can continue competing in Europe in the ADAC GT Masters and the Blancpain GT series which are for me the world’s biggest and most challenging GT championship series of all.