Wernström Motorsport GmbH team thread

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Wernström Motorsport GmbH team thread

Post by RetrogradeRenegade on Wed May 09, 2012 8:36 pm

Wernström announces Karjala entry, attempt to enter 2013 TM Master Cup

Today saw German sports car manufacturer Wernström make a rather shocking announcement. After decades of focusing solely on sports car racing and open-wheel racing, the marque will enter its first ever stock car race, the 36th Karjala Grand Prix. This comes off the back of the announcement 2 weeks ago that 2013 would see the launch of their first family-oriented car since their acquisition by Motorische Einheit (ME), the Wernström 256. Those familiar with Wernström's corporate practices will probably not be surprised at the proximity of these announcements - the marque never races without something linking them to the showroom.

As mentioned, Wernström's racing efforts are best known for their sports cars, where they hold the win record at many 24 and 12 hour events, as well as their open-wheel efforts, where as an engine supplier, they dominated the early 80's in Formula A, and won a championship in the 60's with a manufacturer effort, which has recently been revived. Wernström also took a pair of V8 Champ Car titles in the early 90's, where they still supply engines to this day. The entry is a single car effort for Friedrich Jaeger, not a big name outside of his native Germany, however, he has dominated the German Supercar series for Wernström over the past few years, despite a near-fatal crash in 2007.

At the announcment, Gerhard Pietsch, CEO for Wernström's motorsport division, said "We are very excited to be a part of one of the fastest growing racing series on the planet. The TM Master Cup Series regularly puts on great shows for racing fans, and it is our hope that we can emulate the success we have obtained in other series over our history here, and that this will be only the first of many Master Cup races for Wernström." When questioned about the chassis they would enter for Karjala, Pietsch said, "Yes, ah, originally the plan was to run the Omecha - just to get us all acquainted with the series, we want to get as many races under our belts as fast as we can, and that means entering all 3 one-off races this year. However, progress on our racecars has gone ahead of schedule, and it might be ready for Karjala, though it is still a bit uncertain."


Last edited by RetrogradeRenegade on Thu May 24, 2012 5:23 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Decided to make this the official team thread for future news items)
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Re: Wernström Motorsport GmbH team thread

Post by pepsibottle1 on Thu May 24, 2012 4:55 pm

Sweet, well written Very Happy
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Re: Wernström Motorsport GmbH team thread

Post by RetrogradeRenegade on Thu May 24, 2012 5:22 pm

pepsibottle1 wrote:Sweet, well written Very Happy

Thanks Smile
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Re: Wernström Motorsport GmbH team thread

Post by RetrogradeRenegade on Mon May 28, 2012 11:05 am

Friedrich Jaeger: A Profile
Since many TM Master Cup fans are probably unfamiliar with Friedrich Jaeger, who will be making his debut along with Wernström at the 2012 Karjala Grand Prix, here is an overview of his life and career so far.

Born 19th May 1984 in Mönchengladbach, Germany, Friedrich is the son of former Formula A and German Supercar champion Franz Jaeger. Following in his father's footsteps, young Friedrich began racing karts at the age of 6, and by the time he was 9, he had been signed to Wernström's young driver program. With a smooth, consistent driving style reminiscent of his father's, Friedrich quickly proved to be the biggest star in the program, and looked to be making his debut with Formula A team O'Connor Racing for 2003.

Unfortunately for Friedrich, O'Connor Racing revealed midway through 2002 that they planned to build their own engine for 2003, breaking their contract with Wernström, and declined to take up Friedrich. With the only open slots at the wrong end of the field, Wernström focused on reviving their flagging German Supercar team, and Friedrich followed suit. Making his debut in German Supercars at the young age of 19, Friedrich initally had trouble adapting to racing with a full body. However, he lost none of his speed, and frequently qualified near the front in his debut season, though he had difficulty finishing races due to his own inexperience and the unreliability of the car. In fact, he only finished twice, but both times he won from pole, remarkable in a car that many considered quite difficult to drive. This made him the top Wernström driver for 2004 after teammate Herman Schmidt retired following injuries in the last race of 2003.

Throughout 2004, Friedrich struggled, as the Wernström 858-04 proved to be not a very competitive car compared with the Gesslers. Still, Friedrich won at the Lausitzring after a rain-soaked race left half the field spinning off into the gravel. It was during this year that Friedrich began to become known by his father's nickname, Das Jaeger/Jäger (The Hunter), a play on his surname and the fact that he frequently chased down and overtook other drivers towards the end of the race. He would prove to be Franz Redlich's closest threat that year, but still finished a distant 2nd. In 2005, Wernström finally delivered a championship-capable car, and Friedrich used it to full effect, winning nearly half of the races that year, and the championship after a close-fought battle with Franz Redlich. Redlich left German Supercars after 2005, leaving Friedrich to win most of the races in 2006 and take his second title in dominant fashion.

2007 started a bit more difficult for Friedrich - problems for Wernström in pre-season testing meant that their Gessler rivals had the edge, and he could only manage 1 podium from the first 4 races. He was more confident heading into round 5 at the Norisring, qualifying on the front row, but a troubled start slip back to 9th by the end of lap 1. However, by the end of lap 8, he would be back up to 5th, and seemed to have the pace to challenge for victory when his left rear tyre suddenly deflated under braking for the hairpin at turn 2, pitching Friedrich into the armco and then back across the racetrack. He was then t-boned by another car, and sent barrel-rolling into the tyre wall. Friedrich was severely injured in the crash, and had to undergo emergency surgery in order to save his life.

Needless to say, Friedrich spent the rest of 2007 and most of 2008 recovering from his injuries, but he was always focused on getting back racing, which he did for the last 3 races in 2008. Although the first two races did not go well, he cemented his return by nearly winning the season closer at Hockenheim before his engine failed with 6 laps remaining. Friedrich would then prove he had lost none of his speed by frequently running up front and challenging for the title in his first full season back in 2009. However, unreliability would be a problem, and despite winning 5 races, Friedrich only managed 2nd in the championship. The mechanical gremlins would prove to be licked for 2010 however, and Friedrich took the title in dominant fashion, and followed that up with a 4th championship in 2011.

Towards the end of 2011 Wernström announced their intention to re-launch their Formula A program for 2012, and gave Friedrich a few tests to see if he was capable of making after waiting for the opportunity for nearly a decade. However, he was off the pace in all pre-season tests, and ultimately decided, along with the team, not to pursue a future in Formula A, instead returning to German Supercars. Currently, Friedrich looks the favourite to seal his fifth title and third consecutive, but some bad luck has seen him slip back into the clutches of his championship rivals. Since the annoucement that he would be entering the 2012 Karjala Grand Prix, Friedrich has announced his intention to leave German Supercars at the end of 2012, to hopefully concentrate on the 2013 TM Master Cup season.
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Re: Wernström Motorsport GmbH team thread

Post by RetrogradeRenegade on Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:35 pm

Wernström Motorsport: Post-Karjala report
Heading into the Karjala weekend, Wernström took a decidedly low-key approach in their first start, seeking only to gain experience and track time, as well as find out where they were in the grand scheme of things. It seemed to be paying off in the buildup, as the team quietly secured a spot on the grid, and looked to secure a solid finish. Friedrich Jaeger is reknowned in Germany as a safe pair of hands, so it came as a bit of a surprise that he crashed out on lap 1 after tangling with Danny Savin, a two-time winner of the Karjala Grand Prix.

With the Karjala Grand Prix now over, we interview both driver Friedrich Jaeger and the team owner, Gerhard Pietsch, for their views on how the race went.

Q: First of all, Friedrich, are you okay, and secondly, what happened in the race?
Friedrich Jaeger: Yeah, I'm fine, thankfully all the safety gear did its job, which is always good to see. As for the race, I was taking a cautious approach on the first lap, we all know lap 1 on Karjala is fairly hectic. I avoided all the wrecks in front of me, unfortunately I got a bad exit out of turn 11 and I had Danny chasing me down. I gave him some room on the inside to pass, but he wound up getting into me, and from there we were pretty much done, there was no way for us to recover in time to avoid the accident once we made contact.

I'm not exactly sure what happened - I don't think I did anything wrong myself, and Danny is very experienced and talented himself. Maybe he had a handling issue or hit a bump or something, I'll have to talk to him, and look at the replays. Either way we're both out of the race, which is a great shame for my team because our crew did a fantastic job in building this car far ahead of the schedule. We might be able to recover some of the parts, but the chassis is competely written off.

Q: Now that you've had a taste of TM Master Cup action, is it what you expected? Are you looking forward to your next start?
Friedrich Jaeger: Yes, it was a great new challenge. Obviously the cars are a little different than what I'm used to, but I can sort of feel some similiarities and that gives me some confidence. That said, I think I need a lot more time actually racing against the other drivers before I can safely say I'm performing at my best. I'm also not used to being the lead development driver for any car, let alone a brand new program, so it is a little daunting in that respect too, but it is a new challenge and I look forward to getting more track time.

Q: I assume you'll be making your next start at the next one-off race at Indianapolis. You've never driven a lap on an oval on your career; what are your thoughts about it?
Friedrich Jaeger: Mostly, stay on the pace and try not to get in the way! We're going to be using the August break in German Supercars to try and get some testing done at Indy, and just make sure we're as competitive as we can be on ovals.

Q: Now, Gerhard, in your career as Chief Operations Director of Wernström Motorsport, you've overseen a lot of success - notably the engine deal with O'Connor Racing in Formula A which led to Friedrich's father Franz becoming a double World Champion, the revival of your sportscar and German Supercar efforts, and the start up of the new factory Wernström team in Formula A. What relevance, if any, do you feel these programs will have on your TM Master Cup program?
Gerhard Pietsch: Well, they are relevant in that I know what it takes to build up a successful racing team - which drivers and crew members are best for such a job, and the years of experience as a team boss always comes in handy. That said, as far as the actual car goes, we have never done anything like what we are doing now. Despite what Friedrich has said, technically and mechanically, a TM Master Cup car is very very different to a German Supercar - in some respects, they are actually closer to our production-based endurance cars.

Some people might question going in 'blind', but frankly I relish this opportunity. In some ways I am reminded of my very early career, heading up the engine program for O'Connor. Though we had some experience building Formula A engines, that experience was 20 years out of date, and often when I did look at it, it was more harmful because it relied on principles and ideas that, while normal for the time, were completely backwards in 1980. There were some growing pains and some problems, but we kept working hard and we did make it to the top, where we remained for the best part of the next 20 years. The whole team is committed to making a success of this program, and we are confident that we will do so. Maybe not as quickly as with all our other programs, but we will work very hard to try and match that standard.

Q: Ovals are a significant part of the TM Master Cup series calendar, how will you deal with them?
Gerhard Pietsch: As Friedrich mentioned, we plan on testing very extensively in the run-up to Indianapolis this year. That said, single-lap pace means about nothing if you can't handle yourself in close quarters, as often happens on an oval. I am trying to get Friedrich experience in at least one oval race before Indy. I also plan on attending some Champ Car races as a guest of Cassidy Racing, the Wernström powered team there, to try and get a proper feel for the strategy and calls I will have to make. Ovals are probably going to be the toughest challenge we face, but I will make sure everyone is as prepared as we can possibly be for the race at Indianapolis. After that, we can take stock and see what we need to improve on. It won't be easy, but neither was getting things into place for Kajala.
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