Vincent Shelterl will extend its involvement around the Mercedes-AMG fold in 2021, with as a new program, a presence in DTM on a Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo operated by the Haupt Racing Team.
The Monegasque is already familiar with HRT training to evolve in GT World Challenge Europe alongside Maro Engel and Luca Stolz. Let us remind you that the German championship will swap the Class 1 regulations for GT3, a category that Abril knows well, who confided in this new career opportunity.
© DPPI / J. Delfosse
How did this possibility come about with Mercedes and HRT?
This year, I don’t have a program with another brand like in 2020 with Ferrari and Louis Prette (in GT Open). I was then able to discuss with Mercedes-AMG and sign an official contract with them. And the DTM then arrived on the table.
I thus integrate the “pool” of pilots with other tracks which could arrive later. The 24 Hours of Spa in the Intercontinental GT Challenge has already been confirmed and Kyalami has a good chance of being so, it will depend on which teams will be on the grid.
What does the DTM mean to you?
I wanted to take my career to other horizons and the DTM reminds me of great memories.
How do you view this series, with the transition to GT3, a category in which you have been operating for a number of years?
We spoke with HRT and there should be no specific expectations for the very first races. It will not be necessary to make mistakes, because it will be a novelty for everyone. The tires will change, the BoP system will have to be watched.
The top drivers and teams will always be there, so the level will be present. It’s a chance to be at the start of this new era, to be able to make a name for yourself. There will also be the possibility of discovering new circuits.
Does being alone in the car appeal to you?
So far I can’t complain because I’ve always been with great GT drivers. There was very little compromise to be made. But rediscovering this philosophy of doing things for yourself is interesting. I hadn’t done it since the Seat Leon Supercopa.
This program will, I think, be beneficial for the Endurance races and it should allow me to improve. Knowing HRT will also help, as will the Michelin tires (used in GT Open).
Could we see you again at the 24 Hours of Le Mans?
This is something that is important, but this year I also want to focus on achieving as much as possible with Mercedes. Last year I only did four races in the car. If something else comes, so much the better, but it’s not something that I absolutely want to go looking for.
Of course I want to come back to Le Mans, in the context where it is possible to achieve something, in Pro or in the general classification. But doing it in order to do it is not an ultimate goal in 2021. Afterwards, given the promotion of GTD in Pro in IMSA, one might be tempted to think that it will follow in Europe.
Having driven with a less restricted GT3, it went almost as fast as a GTE. This proves that a GT3 can perform very well.