In mid-April, the „Piranha“ was unleashed again! The Hockenheimring was the starting point of Wolfgang Kaufmann's 2019 season. And the man from Molsberg made it worth his while, clocking up racing miles in two separate series on the same weekend.
The Cup & Tourenwagen Trophy has become a fixture on Kaufmann's calendar; and again, he drove the BMW Z4 M Coupé. „The car has been improved a great deal over the winter“, Kaufmann explains, „the rear axle now has a lower ratio, to give us better acceleration and save us time. Also, the BMW Performance brakes were swapped for big Porsche brakes. Just what a late braker like me wants!“
Although the competition has upgraded its material even more, and there are now many GT cars in the field, Kaufmann was able to put the BMW Z4 – which still runs its stock engine – on the third row of the grid for race 1. When the lights went to green for the 30 minute race, Kaufmann put the car's new-found agility to good use and gained a spot right away. „Sadly, I got stuck behind a 996 Cup Porsche, and was in 5th place for a long while. Down the straights, the Porsches are just too fast for us.“ Kaufmann finally put his car alongside and then in front of the Porsche under braking. However, the gap to the next xompetitor was too big, and a podium place was out of reach. „Two or three laps more, and we would have made it on the podium. It would have been a well-deserved reward for the crew around team manager Willi Pfeiffer“, Kaufmann says.
„Still, I think we've put on a fine show. The changes to the car made for a lot of fun driving it“, he sums up the race.
On short notice, Kaufmann was able to add a race in the Youngtimer Trophy to his schedule. Together with Frank Ossenberg, he competed in the race for historic Group A touring cars in a Ford Escort RS2000.
Piranha got to be the first to get behind the wheel of the Escort in timed practice, and show off his skill in the rain on the German track. 2nd in class, and the third-fastest lap overall, in a car unknown to him says volumes about Kaufmann's commitment. In the second session, Kaufmann only turned one lap before turning the car over to Ossenberg. The addition of their best lap times meant 6th position in class for the start of the race with a duration of 1 hour.
„Again, I got a good start, and could make up a number of places with the Escort“, said Kaufmann with a grin after his stint in the car. „The engine is really good, and it's great fun. You just shouldn't forget that this is a car from the 70s, with a live rear axle, leaf springs, drum brakes, and tiny 13 inch wheels“ – none of which slowed Kaufmann down in the least. At the mandatory driver change, he noted 4th place overall for himself. When the chequered flag dropped after 29 laps, the Ford Escort was listed in 7th overall, 6th in class for Group 2 with an engine size up to 2 liters
Less than two weeks from now, Wolfgang Kaufmann will be back at Hockenheim. That's when the Bosch Hockenheim Historic – Jim Clark Revival will be on the calendar. After a break of many years, he will back at the wheel of a single-seater racecar, a historic March 782 BMW from the 1978 Formula 2 European Championship!