Not many racers will ever compete alongside their manager but, this weekend (14-15 April), Ferdinand Habsburg (AUT) and his manager Jamie Campbell Walter (GBR) will contest International GT Open at Estoril together in a Drivex Mercedes AMG GT3.
Habsburg and Campbell Walter have worked together since 2014, when the then 16-year old made the step up from karts into cars. With F3 race wins, a heroic Macau GP display and Daytona 24 Hours under his belt, Habsburg will take on a new challenge this weekend as he races a GT car for the first time.
“If you are going to race a GT car for the first time, there’s no one better to do it with than an FIA GT and FIA World Endurance Championship winner,” said Habsburg. “Jamie has been the greatest manager, coach and mentor I could have ever asked for so I’m pretty sure he’ll be the greatest team-mate too. I’m looking forward to the new GT challenge. I raced with Drivex in the Euroformula Open so it’s great to be back with them and I’d like to thank them for putting this opportunity together.”
Habsburg raced with Drivex in the 2016 Euroformula Open on his climb to the FIA F3 European Championship, which he contested last year. With a challenging and impressive Spa-Francorchamps race win and multiple-podiums to his name, he will return this year with the title in his sights.
“Yes, we have a very focused plan to keep climbing through the single-seater ranks but it’s wise to get a good breadth of experience. I’m a racer at heart so the more machinery I can master, the better my career will be.”
Team-mate and manager Campbell Walter rose to fame when he won the FIA GT World Championship in 2000 in the Lister Storm and went on to forge a successful GT career. In 2013, he became an Aston Martin factory driver representing the brand in the World Endurance Championship and various GT3 events including Spa 24 Hours. Since 2014, the double champion has been busy managing up-coming superstars but tries to race at least once a year.
“I think it’s important to remain in the game a little bit while you can,” said Campbell Walter. “It keeps you more relevant and sharp. It also earns the respect of your drivers – they don’t even remember my world championship wins so it’s good to show them that I know what I’m talking about!”
The pair will drive the Drivex Mercedes AMG GT3 and, although it is Habsburg’s first GT outing, it’s a car that Campbell Walter is familiar with, following a second place finish in the Gulf-liveried RAM Racing-prepared car in the 24 Hours of Paul Ricard.
“The car may be new to me but I’m getting more used to jumping in new machinery,” said Habsburg who recently contested Daytona 24 Hours in the Jackie Chan DC Racing LMP2. “It’s good that Jamie knows the car and we both know the team well, so I think we can put in a good showing in my GT debut. together.We will also be supporting Luki Dunner in his first EF open race because he is also with Drivex.”
International GT Open at Estoril starts with practice on Friday 13 April. Both Saturday and Sunday have qualifying and a race with Habsburg qualifying and starting the race on one day and Jamie doing the same on the other.