Hockenheim, Germany (October 22, 2013) — American Michael Lewis closed out the 2013 FIA Formula 3 European Championship at the Hockenheimring on Sunday, October 20, with his 8th top-10 finish of the season.
The 10th and final round of the 2013 FIA Formula 3 European Championship visited Hockenheim, Germany, October 18–20. Races 28, 29 and 30 were scheduled at the 4.574-km Hockenheimring on the same event weekend schedule as the season-ending DTM event.
On Friday, October 18, the kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport team prepared Michael’s orange No. 5 Dallara 312 with power from Mercedes-Benz and sponsored by K&N Engineering and Eibach Springs for the two practice sessions.
Promptly at 11:45 a.m., the 28 Formula 3 drivers took to the famous German circuit for the first of two 40-minute practice sessions. Most of the cars began the first session with new tires, and Michael was consistently in the top 10 during the beginning of the session. Although Michael ended the first session P16, he was pleased with the car’s handling capabilities. For the second 40-minute session Michael went on the track with used tires on his race car as did many other drivers who were on the same tire strategy. Michael’s times were in the top 12. Just past halfway through the second session, Michael came onto pit road for a new set of Hankook Tires. However, once he reentered the track several factors out of Michael’s control hindered his ability to lay down a fast lap, including the spacing of the cars on the track and a yellow flag for a car that went off the track in one of the turns. Michael finished the practice session in 19th.
Two 20-minute qualifying sessions occurred on Friday to set the starting grid for the weekend’s three races. Two sets of new tires were available to Michael, with one set for each session. The plan was to make a fast lap early in each session in case of yellow or red flag situations that could hamper or shorten the qualifying periods. Traffic played an important component from preventing Michael from making a fast lap in the first qualifying session, so his fastest lap of the session of 1:34.753 placed him in 20th for Saturday’s Race 1. His second fastest lap of 1:34.868 placed him in 19th on the starting grid for Saturday afternoon’s Race 2.
For the second 20-minute qualifying session Michael was finally able to find some better spacing on the track and improved his qualifying effort considerably with a lap of 1:34.310, which placed him P16 on the grid for Sunday’s Race 3.
Saturday morning, the 28 FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers prepared for the 22-lap or 35-minute Race 1 at the Hockenheimring. American Michael Lewis positioned his K&N Engineering and Eibach Springs sponsored kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport powered by Mercedes-Benz entry onto the grid in anticipation of another frantic start with the opportunity to quickly grab positions. Then the drivers were given the signal to start their engines and quickly each driver began the intricate start procedure with all the engines on the rev-limiters and clutches held firm until the starting grid lights went out. As he has done all season Michael began to pass cars on lap one. Then a competitor made an aggressive move, which required Michael to avoid making contact, costing him the positions he had gained. At the end of the first lap Michael was scored P20. Michael was able to overtake two cars during lap two and was scored P18. Then on lap three Michael passed another driver and was scored P17. On lap 6 Michael grabbed another position to move up to P16. Michael wasn’t settling for 16th, so on lap 10 Michael passed another car for 15th behind his kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport teammate Mitch Gilbert. The two drivers ran nose to tail for the remainder of the race and Michael finished P15.
“My car was really strong in the early stages of the race especially in Sector 1,” described Michael Lewis. “When I arrived to where Mitch was running the tire degradation process had begun so my advantage was somewhat nulified and I did not want to push the issue with Mitch because he is a teammate.”
The weekend’s Race 2, or Race 29 of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship took place late Saturday afternoon consisting of 22 laps. Starting 19th on the grid, Michael was eager to quickly make up positions at the start of the race. However, this time when the starting grid lights went out, Michael did not get his usual strong launch and immediately got bunched up with other drivers and actually lost a couple of positions. As the race progressed Michael was caught in a pack of cars and was unable to move forward, finishing in 20th.
Determined to finish the last race of the season well, Michael arrived to the Hockenheimring on Sunday morning optimistic. Although the weather could prove a challenge with scattered showers expected, he would not let that impede his focus. However, the weather report was not fully accurate as instead of showers, a torrential rainstorm left standing water on the track. The race director decided to start the race under the yellow flag with the Safety Car leading the pack of 28 drivers for a few laps to spread the water around the track. Michael earned a 16th starting position for Race 3 as a result of his Friday qualifying results. After two laps running behind the Safety Car the race director signaled for the green flag start. Then in a foggy mist the drivers headed down the front straight into the fast right-hand turn. Not deterred by the wet track, Michael began overtaking cars while other drivers were having misfortune with spins and trips to the gravel traps. Approaching the halfway point of the race, Michael had worked his way up toward the lead pack of cars and was running 10th. He overtook two more drivers, and with three laps to go was listed in 8th. While traveling in 5th gear toward the hairpin, suddenly without warning Michael’s car made a complete 360-degree turn and stopped with the nose of the car pointed at the corner entry. Michael only lost two positions as a result of the spin and still finished the race P10.
“Now that the 2013 Formula 3 season is complete, I want to thank the great group I worked with at kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport,” said Michael. “I want to express my sincere appreciation to all my devoted sponsors who were such a huge help to me this season. I also want to thank the FIA Formula 3 European Championship Series, which gives young drivers like me the ability to race safe, fast cars at some of the most famous racing venues in the world. I will now concentrate on my 2014 program, and I am looking forward to taking the next step on the racing ladder.”
Michael Lewis’ 2013 sponsor lineup includes K&N Motorsports, Eibach, Mercedes-Benz, ASE, Cometic Gasket, GoPro, Bell Helmets, Puma Motorsport, Subè Sports, Braille Batteries, Klotz, and Racing Electronics.
For more information about Mücke Motorsport and photos to download, visit www.muecke-motorsport.de.
Meredith Kaplan Burns
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 an Aston Martin works driver. In June he took part at the famous 24 hour race of Le Mans for the seventh time.