Nürburg, Germany (August 19, 2013) — After earning four top-10 finishes in the past two rounds of the Formula 3 European Championship, American Michael Lewis continued his move closer to the podium by earning two top-7s this weekend at Germany’s Nürburgring.
Twenty-six drivers took to the Nürburgring on Friday morning, August 16, as they sought to conquer the 3.629-kilometer road course. Michael joined the other drivers in his orange kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport for the two 40-minute practice sessions. During the first free practice session Michael hovered around the top 10 and ended the session ranked P7.
During the second 40-minute free practice session Michael again displayed confidence in his Mercedes-Benz-powered Dallara F312 and quickly adapted to the Nürburgring Circuit. Michael’s practice times ranked him mid-top 10 and he completed the session ranked P9.
Late Friday afternoon the 26 FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers were staged in pit lane for two 20-minute qualifying sessions. Qualifying session 1 determines the grid positions for Saturday’s Race 1 and Race 2 while the second 20-minute qualifying session determines the grid position for Sunday’s Race 3. In the first 20-minute qualifying session Michael ran consistently in the top 10. Michael was able to take advantage of the excellent setup provided by his Mücke Motorsport engineer Peter Flueckiger, and ran his fastest pace of 1:23.462 on lap 9, which ranked him P7 for Race 1 and P9 for Race 2.
In the second 20-minute qualification period Michael again was recording top-10 qualifying times when on lap 6 he posted his best time of the session of 1:23.045, which ranked him P10 for the starting grid for Sunday’s Race 3.
Under bright sunny skies on Saturday morning Michael’s kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport K&N Engineering and Eibach Springs sponsored Mercedes-Benz-powered F312 Dallara was placed on the grid in 7th starting position. The starting lights went out and 26 Formula 3 drivers launched their cars toward the tight Turn 1. Michael made a strong launch and chose the outside line for Turn 1. He negotiated the tricky part of the turn well, along with the first lap, and fell into line in 7th. He ran a strong pace the entire race clicking off fast and consistent lap times. Michael was able to stay on the tail of the driver ahead of him and finished the race a strong 7th.
“I was able to get a good start and get close to making a pass or two on the first lap, but I wanted to negotiate that first lap clean so I fell into line behind the car ahead of me,” explained Michael. “My kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport car was fast so I was able to keep pace with the group ahead of me throughout the entire race. It is extremely difficult to pass here at Nürburgring in a Formula 3 car because when you come up to a car you lose the aerodynamics on the front end, which makes it very tricky. All in all, I was pleased with Race 1. I was given a good car to race by my engineer Peter Flueckiger.”
Saturday afternoon’s 35-minute, 25-lap Race 2 featured another full grid of 26 Formula 3 cars with Michael starting 9th. Under clear skies Michael achieved another very strong start and quickly passed two drivers on lap one. He was recorded P7 at the end of the first lap. During lap 2 the top-10 drivers became bunched up with everyone jostling for position. Unfortunately, Michael lost two positions and settled into P9. On the last lap while battling for position, Michael was passed and finished 11th.
Sunday morning’s Race 3 featured full grandstands as race fans came in droves to see the weekend’s final Formula 3 European Championship and the DTM series race. Michael and the kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport team lined up his Dallara F312 with Mercedes power and sponsored by Eibach Springs and K&N Engineering in 10th position.
“For the DTM and Formula 3 race weekend, our series use the short circuit with many high speed corners,” described Michael, “so with our F3 cars it is difficult to overtake here, which places importance of getting positions in the early stages of the race.”
As he is accustomed to doing Michael initiated a strong launch immediately after the starting grid lights went out. He avoided a stalled car directly in front of him and took off toward the tight Turn 1 right hand corner.
“The first lap was quite chaotic with cars spinning and crashing, but I was able to avoid this confusion and made up three positions on the first lap and tucked in behind Alex Lynn,” added Michael. The safety car emerged after the first lap while track workers cleared the damaged cars from the circuit. On lap 3 the green flag waved again and Michael kept the pace of the tight group of four cars fighting for 4th position. “I could get a run on the car ahead of me and close the gap, but because of the aero characteristics of my Formula 3 car, it was extremely difficult to complete the pass.”
Michael Lewis finished Race 3 in 7th position, earing valuable championship points and strong performances in all three weekend races.
Three events remain on the 2013 FIA Formula 3 European Championship calendar. The next race weekend will be held September 27–29, at the Zandvoort Circuit in The Netherlands.
Michael Lewis’ 2013 sponsor lineup includes K&N Motorsports, Eibach, Mercedes-Benz, ASE, Cometic Gasket, GoPro, Bell Helmets, Puma Motorsport, Subè Sports, Braille Batteries, Formula Medicine, Klotz, and Racing Electronics.
In loving memory of Jason Leffler 1975–2013
For more information about Mücke Motorsports and photos to download, visit www.muecke-motorsport.de.
Meredith Kaplan Burns
Team kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport Presse
Background information of the German Team kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport from Berlin
Peter Mücke started in Formula motor sports with his team in 1998 and nowadays it is the one of the biggest and most successful private racing stables in Germany and it is involved in the DTM since 2005 as well. Already at the first year in Formula sports his son as the newbie in the field, Stefan Mücke, got the title for Mücke Motorsport at the Formula BMW, and at the offspring series there were three further titles, last time with Pascal Wehrlein in 2011 at the ADAC Formula Masters. The driver from Worndorf got the sixth Rookie title one year later as well as the fifth vice championship at the drivers ranking since the access of Mücke into the Formula 3 in 1999. Attached to that there were two wins at the Formula 3 Masters in Zandvoort as well as position two in 2012 at the Formula 3 Grand Prix in Macau of the Swede Felix Rosenqvist, who was championship third last year as well and who fights for the European Championship title in the actual team as well. Now in 2013 the team has four Dallara Mercedes at the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, as well as six Formula ADAC powered by Volkswagen at the ADAC Formula Masters.
Car master craftsman, car and bike shop owner Peter Mücke is involved in motor sports for about 40 years already. The 66 year old got more than 500 wins himself and has been Auto Cross European Champion three times in his self built Buggy as well as GDR Champion eleven times (seven times Auto-Cross, four times circular track) and is still behind the wheel of his Ford Capri RS at some Youngtimer races, if there is the time. His good feeling for talented drivers made his team to a well-known offspring team that offers the whole range, from rookies and beginners of motor sports up to the advancement into the royal league of the Formula sport. Until now, six former drivers of Mücke Motorsport started at the Formula 1. And one of them is the threefold World Champion Sebastian Vettel from Heppenheim. Five further drivers that were engaged in the offspring school of Mücke Motorsport in different series, also succeeded to drive at the Formula 1: Sergio Perez (Mexico), Robert Kubica (Poland), Sébastien Buemi (Switzerland), Christian Klien (Austria) and Markus Winkelhock (Germany).
Stefan Mücke (31), who is the consultant of his father’s team as well, switched 2007 to the sports cars scene after his time as Mercedes pilot at the DTM. In 2009, he was the champion of the Le Mans Series in the LMP1 sports car prototype, in 2011 vice champion at the FIA GT1 World Championship and in 2012 vice champion with his Team Aston Martin Racing at the FIA World Endurance Championship. At the WEC, the Berlin is behind the wheel in 2013 as well and this will be his sixth year in a row as Aston Martin works driver. In June he took part at the famous 24 hour race of Le Mans for the seventh time.