It didn’t take long for Callaway Competition to pick up its first victory with the #77 Roller/Valvoline Corvette C7 GT3-R.
The initial win came at the Sachsenring in Saxony, Germany, on Sunday, May 1 in just the second weekend of the ADAC GT Masters season.
Piloting the Callaway Corvette to victory were German driver Daniel Keilwitz and Frenchman Jules Gounon.’
Keilwitz started the victorious day by moving from P9 to third place right at the start, then drove past Laurens Vanthoor’s Audi R8 for second place on the second lap. Four laps later, Keilwitz captured the lead from pole-sitter Luca Ludwig’s Mercedes AMG and built up a margin of more than seven seconds before the mandatory pit stop and driver change.
Gounon climbed behind the wheel and kept the Corvette 1.5 seconds ahead of the competition. The safety car came onto the track after a Bentley Continental GT spun off the track. After the restart, though, Gounon opened up his lead to finish four and a half seconds ahead of the runner-up. It was only Gounon’s fourth race in the ADAC GT Masters series.
Meanwhile, Dominik Schwager and Patrick Assenheimer – in the #69 AutoArena Corvette C7 GT3-R – moved from a P18 start to a 13th place finish after several hard-fought battles and a drive-through penalty.
In earlier action on Saturday, Gounon had the #77 car in second place but lost several positions during a safety car deployment as he made the mandatory pit stop/driver change. Keilwitz took over and moved up several spots to finish in fourth place.
The #69 car qualified and start 17th on Saturday but picked up a drive-through penalty after a collision to ultimately finish 19th.
Giovanni Ciccone – Callaway Team Manager / Callaway Competition Co-Owner:
“We are really proud of our drivers. Sunday was absolutely perfect! Daniel had an incredibly good start and then Jules controlled the last segment without any trouble. It is simply awesome to score this first victory with the new Corvette. All the hard work over the winter has now paid off.”
Daniel Keilwitz – #77 Roller/Valvoline Corvette C7 GT3-R:
“I was on the gas at the right time (at the beginning of the race) and that was crucial. Of course, I was also lucky that there were enough openings and I decided for the outer rail. The plan came together just as I had envisioned it. With new tires, we could get a good head start in the first laps. Jules did a great job at the finish. Its a deserved payoff for the whole Team for the hard work throughout the entire winter and a great birthday gift for Giovanni (Ciccone).”
Jules Gounon – #77 Roller/Valvoline Corvette C7 GT3-R:
“It was really great! I dont know how to describe it, but Daniel’s start was incredible. He also gave me the perfect car with very good tires and that made my job easier, of course. Then I could really gas and drive away in the lead, and then I saw the Safety-Car and had to do the whole work again. My strategy in the first three laps was to push carefully and then to take control of the race and this was exactly according to plan. I am very pleased to drive with Daniel this year, as I still have a lot to learn from him.”
The Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-Rs will be in action next at Lausitzring in Klettwitz, Germany on June 3-5, 2016.