Former Formula 1 ace, Christian Klien will get to realise a lifelong ambition next week when he takes to the streets of Adelaide at the Clipsal 500 in the Erebus Motorsport SLS AMG GT3 Gullwing in the Australian GT Championship, presented by Pirelli.
The 30-year-old Austrian, who has 49 Formula 1 starts to his credit, began his interest in motor racing after meeting Ayrton Senna at Hockenheim.
Soon after Senna took his final Grand Prix victory on the streets of Adelaide in 1993, the then 13-year-old began his karting career.
It was the first chance I have had to drive a full GT3 car.
Next weekend he will take to the wheel of the Erebus Motorsport SLS AMG GT3 that won the Bathurst 12 Hour just two weeks ago.
For Klien, racing on the streets of Adelaide, albeit the shortened 3.22km Clipsal 500 circuit, is a dream come true.
“When I was growing up, I remember watching the Adelaide Grand Prix on television and it was a very challenging track, it has a lot of history in the sport with many of the great drivers having raced there,” said Klien. “Watching Grands Prix when I was growing up inspired me to become a racing car driver and I was fortunate enough to race at the absolute highest level.
“Last year, I saw the Clipsal 500 first hand as a spectator and it is one of the best races I have been to anywhere in the world. It has great atmosphere, lots of spectators and everyone is having a good time.
“I am very much looking forward to racing this Erebus Motorsport SLS AMG GT3 in Adelaide. I tested it just before the 12 Hour and it is a beautiful Customer Sports car that AMG has built. It was the first chance I have had to drive a full GT3 car and to do this in the race will be very exciting.”
Klien’s Formula 1 debut came in Australia, at Albert Park in 2004 finishing 11th. In his remaining two Formula 1 appearances in Melbourne, he finished seventh for Red Bull Racing in 2005 and retired the year following.
Since ending his Formula 1 career, Klien has concentrated on endurance and GT style racing. He finished outright third in the Le Mans 24 Hour race for Peugeot in his first attempt in 2008 alongside fellow F1 alumni, Ricardo Zonta and Franck Montagny.
The mega-competitive Euro F3 field that year also included the likes of Timo Glock, Robert Kubica, Klien’s Erebus Motorsport V8 brethren Maro Engel, GRM V8 Supercar driver, Alex Premat and Robert Doornbos to name a few.
He raced for Jaguar Racing in 2004 alongside Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing (2005 & 2006), Honda Racing F1 Team (2007) and Hispania Racing (2010).
Klien joins Gold Coast-based New Zealander, Craig Baird in the superstar Erebus Motorsport AMG Customer Sports Clipsal 500 line-up.
Erebus Motorsport retains support for Christian Klien’s Clipsal 500 effort from Snap-On Tools, King’s Apparel, KOOGA and Fuchs Lubricants.
The Australian GT Championship, presented by Pirelli will take to the 3.22km circuit for a one hour twilight race on Saturday that will award the Murray Walker Trophy and a half hour race on Sunday.