Bad luck for Patric Niederhauser


in Blancpain GT finale in Barcelona

It was the grand finale of the Blancpain GT series, and German outfit Reiter Engineering had again asked Patric Niederhauser to drive for them. This was a really special invitation and a great honour for him, because for the first time in his motor racing career, he would be contesting a race weekend in a GT super sportscar at his all-time favourite track, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Niederhauser’s goal, along with Mads Siljehaug and Lenny Marioneck, was to ensure that the Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX bowed out of the final race in style. However, they were plagued by bad luck during the weekend, which continually dropped them back down the field. Ultimately, Niederhauser and his team-mates finished the three-hour race in P7 in the Silver Cup, securing 35th place overall.

The season in the Blancpain GT Series may now be over, but for Niederhauser, the two most important fixtures in recent years are still on his schedule. He is currently embroiled in the battle for the title in the Blancpain GT Series Asia and is only twelve points behind the two leading drivers in the championship with two races remaining at Ningbo, China (October 13th - 14th).

Patric, how would you sum up your first ever GT race in Barcelona?
I travelled to Barcelona full of anticipation, but my goals for the race weekend were, nevertheless, realistic. A podium in the Silver Cup should have been possible. A clean race and a little luck here and there ought to have been enough to see us through. Still, the team did a really good job and Mads and Lenny were very quick, especially when in race trim.

You started from the very back of the field. Why was that?
Our problems began in second qualifying. There was an issue with the ABS that cropped up suddenly as Lenny was driving, and he spun into the gravel. Unfortunately, our qualifying was over and there was no way I could take part in Q3, so we had to start from the very back. Mads and Lenny both had strong stints and gained a lot of ground. We were already in the Top 30 by the time it was my turn to take the wheel for the final hour.

You dropped back down the field again. What happened?
We were on song throughout as regards speed in the race and were also doing well in the Silver Cup. I got into the car, keen to do my bit. We had a problem with a rounded wheel nut during the pit stop. As I drove back out, I immediately realised that something was wrong and stopped in the pit lane. My mechanics pushed the car back to the garage. We lost almost ten minutes altogether as a result in what was a major setback. Nevertheless, we resumed the race and gave it our best shot.

Things should and will have to go better at Ningbo in the finale of the Blancpain GT Series Asia...
Yes, the championship is still wide open, so Nico Bastian, GruppeM Racing and I will do everything we can to secure the drivers’ and team titles. I don’t know the circuit yet but have already spent a lot of time watching some really excellent onboard videos. I’m highly motivated and am slowly beginning to feel the tension rising. It’s all or nothing now, and I’m only too well aware of that. At the same time, I’m just happy to be back in contention to win a championship. I’ve had a long struggle to get where I am today, so my motivation knows no bounds.