Saturday, December 28, 2013

Q&A: Interview with Christopher Haase - Audi GT factory driver

By Tarek Ramchani

Christopher Haase had a busy and very strong 2013 season, racing for different Audi Sport customer racing teams in different series and endurance events in Europe. From the Blancpain Endurance Series with Phoenix Racing to the ADAC GT Masters with Prosperia C.Abt Racing and appearances in selected endurance events, as well as testing the GTD spec Audi R8 LMS in America.

We were pleased to have an interview with Christopher Haase. A very interesting Q/A about his debut with the Audi brand in GT racing, the 2013 season and his expectations for 2014.

You can follow Christopher Haase on Facebook here and his official website here.

1) Please tell us how it all started for you with Audi in GT racing.

Oh yeah, good story. I try to make it short. :-)

I never did karting in my live but driving a race car was my dream. So I was track marshal in some hill climp races.

I am a member of an automobil club in my home town. I was 18 years old when the organisation team had founded together with flatex a motorsport programm for young people in the ADAC Dacia Logan Cup in 2006. I won my fist race and from that point my carreer has been started. 2007 I directly switched into GT Racing with Lamborghini in ADAC GT Masters. Start of a great championship triple. 2007 champion ADAC GT-Masters, 2008 champion as KTM factory driver in FIA GT4 SL, 2009 champion in FIA GT3 with the Audi R8 LMS of Phoenix Racing. Severall class victories in VLN, victory at the 12h of Sepang Malaysia and a good season in the FIA GT1 World Championship where I have earned a lot of experience in 2010. 2011 I came back to my lovely Audi R8 LMS. I had good results which showed my talent. From this moment I have become member of the Audi family, and I love it :-) .

Since that time we had some great results together (for example the victory 24h of Nürburgring 2012) I enjoy the great team atmosphere. Already now I am looking forward to the next season.....I can´t wait. :-)

2) Back in 2009 you gave the Audi R8 LMS an emotional winning debut in FIA GT3 with Phoenix Racing, tell us more about that title.

Difficult season, but we did it. In GT-Racing you always have to find out your own benefit. And this we did really great. In all races where we could see some chances to use our own advantage to beat our competitors, we used it nearly perfect. And that was the key to win it. If you earn poinst constantly you are going to be the champion in the end.

3) In 2013 you entered two competitive championships, the Blancpain Endurance Series and ADAC GT Masters, tell us more about your season?

I had a lot of fun. :-)

I don´t talk about "balance of performance". You always find someone who is crying. The best thing is to concentrate on yourself. Blancpain Endurance Series is a long distance championship. I drove together with Oliver Jarvis and Harold Primat for Phoenix Racing. We were a great team and we worked great together. Unfortunately we never had a good race and quali luck. But still we earned points and at the 24h of Spa we finished on 4th position. Nothing to be disappointed. Racing at the Blancpain is fun over 6h.

ADAC GT Masters togehter with Prosperia C.Abt Racing and my teammate Rahel Frey. I missed the first two events. So I wasn´t able to fight for the campionship. Rahel and me we worked very good together. We have the same car feeling. The competion at the GT Masters is incredible. For a good position everything has to be perfect. But I love that kind of racing. It makes you just harder and better.

4) Sprint vs Endurance, which style do you prefer in GT racing?

I am a GT racer, I like both. It makes the GT sport unique.

I don´t believe that a Formula One car can run 24h in a row. :-)

5) You have already won prestigious titles and races with Audi, which one was the best for you?

Victory 24h of Nürburgring Nordschleife in 2012.

6) A few years ago you competed with a Reiter Lamborghini Murcielago in the FIA GT1 World Championship. How different were those GT1 cars in comparison to today’s GT3 cars?

Quiet a lot. The GT1 car had more power, less weight, no ABS, no TC, more Setup ajustments. You have to be sensetive by driving but still you have to push on the edge. One mistake and the race is done. In GT3 racing, we have a race ABS, a TC as well as a car which forgives you some little mistakes. Anyway to stay in front in both categories, it is always a challenge because everybody is fighting with the same regulations.

7) You have recently been at Daytona for the TUSC test days. How does the driving experience differ between the FIA GT3 R8 LMS ultra and the IMSA GTD R8 LMS?

First of all I like that kind of racing. In comparison to the Audi R8 LMS ultra the R8 Grand AM Version hasn´t any ABS, TC and much less downforce. Both cars have their own setup. To be honest the racing in the IMSA with the Audi R8 Grand AM remembers me to the FIA GT1 cars. Okay the car has less downforce but you need so much feeling to be quick. One slide then you are off time.

8) Which race track is your favourite?

I have three. Nürburgring Nordschleife, Zandvoort, Spa.

9) What are your targets for the upcoming 2014 season?

Great results and hopefully winning a championship again.

10) What are your dreams for the future within your motor racing career?

If you had ask me this questions 6 years ago I had given you the same answer. My target is to win the 24h of Le Mans! I hope to get the chance to drive an Audi LMP car anytime. Thats my dream. :-)

Photo credit:
Christopher Haase
ADAC GT Masters