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Friday, February 23, 2024

Auer returns to cockpit for first time since Daytona 24 Hours crash

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Winward driver Auer accomplished 66 laps of the Hockenheim circuit in Germany in a check session on Thursday, the place he was joined by 5 different GT3 and 16 LMP3 automobiles.

The Austrian set a greatest lap of 1m37.911s in his Winward Mercedes, placing him comfortably away from all GT3 entrants that had been concurrently testing on the venue.

Auer had beforehand taken pole place in final 12 months’s Hockenheim DTM spherical with a time of 1m36.479s, though the distinction in circumstances means a direct comparability was not potential.

The 28-year-old was additionally driving on Pirelli tyres within the check in comparison with the Michelin rubber he used to transform pole place into victory within the penultimate race of the 2022 DTM season.

The non-public check was essential for Auer as he had missed the official DTM working at Spielberg final month, the place David Schumacher was the one driver representing his Winward workforce.

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Nevertheless, whereas Auer did miss out on two days of helpful working at Spielberg, he was on monitor at Hockenheim as quickly because the session started at 9:00am – after which was among the many first to set critical lap instances.

His opening stint lasted 12 laps, which was an encouraging signal for his restoration.

#57 Winward Racing Mercedes AMG GT3: Russell Ward, Philip Ellis, Lucas Auer, Indy Dontje

Photograph by: Artwork Fleischmann

Auer needed to bear surgical procedure within the USA after breaking his vertebrae throughout observe for the opening spherical of the IMSA SportsCar Championship at Daytona in January.

The crash compelled him to overlook the rest of the weekend in addition to February’s Bathurst 12 Hour, the place he was on account of compete for Craft Bamboo as a part of an all-Professional Mercedes line-up.

Auer has since been present process rehabilitation in Austria and reported in the course of the official DTM check at Spielberg – which he watched from the sidelines – that he was not in ache.

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Winward workforce boss Christian Hohenadel has been eager on giving him as a lot monitor mileage as potential on Pirelli tyres, with the Italian model taking on from Michelin as DTM’s official provider this 12 months.

Auer has spent the previous few years primarily competing within the DTM and therefore on Michelin tyres, though he did acquire some data of Pirelli rubber when he competed in 5 rounds of GT World Problem Europe Endurance Cup final 12 months.

The 2023 DTM season will start at Oschersleben on 27-28 Might.

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