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David Schumacher 'adapting well' to GT3 ahead of DTM debut

Winward Mercedes boss Christian Hohenadel feels David Schumacher has been doing a fine job adapting to various aspects of a GT3 car as he prepares for his first season in the DTM.

Christian Hohenadel, David Schumacher, Mercedes AMG Team Winward

Schumacher, the son of six-time Formula 1 race winner Ralf and nephew of seven-time world champion Michael, is moving into sportscar racing this year after two full seasons in FIA Formula 3 that yielded one victory and a best finish of 11th in the championship.

The 20-year-old got his first taste of a GT3 car at Mercedes’ young driver test in November and completed further running in the German marque’s AMG GT3 in a private test at Portimao last week.

Having overseen Schumacher during the three-day test in Portugal, Winward team principal Hohenadel lauded the German driver for quickly acclimatising to GT3 machinery after years of exclusively racing single-seaters.

"The first goal is for him to get used to the car,” driver-turned-team boss Hohenadel told Motorsport.com’s sister website Motorsport-Total.com

“He is changing from a formula car to a vehicle that is almost twice as heavy. That is already a big difference. He also doesn't know the ABS, but he's managed that quite well.

"Also, a formula car like this has a damper travel rate of only three, four millimetres. A GT3 car, on the other hand, is relatively soft. You simply have to turn in more slowly until the car has gone into the springs. But he has already adapted well there.

"David is 100 percent professional. He prepares himself with videos that we have made available to him and on the simulator, even though of course nothing is better than sitting in the real car."

David Schumacher, Mercedes AMG Team Winward

David Schumacher, Mercedes AMG Team Winward

Photo by: Winward

Schumacher himself felt that he was getting more and more comfortable in the car following an expansive test programme at Portimao, but admitted that he needs to log more miles to be ready for the season opener in April.

"With every kilometre I feel more how you have to drive the GT3 car to be fast, and in this regard the many tips from Lucas [Auer] and Max [Gotz] are a great help to me," said Schumacher.

"We simulated everything during the three days of testing - qualifying with new tyres and low weight, long runs with a lot of fuel at the beginning and degrading tyres. Plus the performance pitstops, where it's important to approach your pitbox with centimetre precision.

"The DTM is a pretty complex affair where many details have to fit to be successful. That's why I'm going to take every opportunity between now and the season opener to work through as many of these details as possible. I'm really looking forward to it."

Hohenadel, however, feels pitstops is one area where Schumacher could improve upon, with the German driver finding it tricky to calculate how far the car extends to the right from his left-hand side driving position.

"He explained to me that in a formula car you sit in the middle, whereas here you sit more on the left,” Hohenadel said. 

“If he drives into the pits now and the pit crew guys are standing outside, then it's difficult for him to assess the dimensions of the car because you can't see the tyres.

“Especially at the stop it was a challenge for him at the beginning. He was afraid that he would run someone over. That's why we improved bit by bit. We marked everything out at the pit stops with extra pylons so that he wouldn't go in too early.”

Schumacher is getting further mileage in Winward’s third Mercedes-AMG GT3 this week ahead of the two official pre-season tests at Hockenheim and Portimao in April.

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