Mertel Motorsport is the latest addition to this season’s TCR Eastern Europe entry list. The German team, led by Kurt Treml, who is also the manager of the prestigious Engstler Motorsport team, makes no secret of its ambitions – even though this will be their first season in touring cars.
Mr. Treml, Mertel Motorsport team have entered two Honda Civic TCR for the new TCR Eastern Europe season. How old are these cars and what is their history?
We are racing with an interesting mix of a two-year-old car with the history of winning the ADAC TCR Germany in 2022. The car has been superbly revisioned by Engstler Motorsport and all development work on this car will enable its driver to maximise his performance. Car number 2 is a brand new, zero kilometers, only has been tested in an extensive shakedown just a couple days ago. Of course, it includes all experience made with car number one and therefore will be a very solid and enduring base for the upcoming season.
Rene Kircher and David Kajaia will be driving for the team. Kircher finished fifth last year in TCR Germany. How do you rate him as a driver?
For us Rene is the young shooting star, looking for an even motivated and inspired team. His physis and his dedication towards racing has surprised us during the first tests and we are sure to have contracted a top driver who can compete with the front rows.
David Kajaia is an experienced touring car driver who has had a number of successes. What can he bring to the Mertel team?
Davids extremely positive personality and his ability to deliver record laps on a repeatedly basis are the corner stone for the team to increase everybody’s performance. We are new to TCR and having David race for us is our chance to take the next steps in professional and competitive racing.
How did the collaboration with your drivers come about? Who approached who?
We are extremely lucky with our very close cooperation with Engstler Motorsport, who have proven to dominate the TCR in Germany in the recent years. We have met in other racing series before and it quickly turned out that there is this positive energy and the will to promote and maintain professional motorsport. And with my help, as I´m also team manager of Engstler Motorsport, we were able to fix the contracts very quickly.
Beside being team manager of Engstler Motorsport, you are also the head of Mertel Motorsport, so what is your day-to-day job in the Mertel team?
Our motorsport activities arise from the strategic decision to increase the competency and portfolio of our dealership and therefore it is my task to ensure that this business plan is working out and growing as planned. I’m blessed to have a team very talented and motivated people which takes care of those thousands of daily things to be done. Motorsport means to be perfect in the final 5 % of the work in order to be successful and here MERTEL Motorsport relies on every single person in the team and in the dealership as well.
Mertel Motorsport is primarily focused on racing Ferrari cars. But what about touring cars? What is the history of the team?
For us jumping into the touring car segment is the next step to professionalise and improve our racing activities. Besides racing the Ferraris in the various cup series we have learned how complex and demanding touring car racing is and therefore challenge us every day to manage this as successful as possible. We are very happy to have Maurizio Ceresoli and Alan Gomboso in important positions in the team, both being experienced and successful drivers of touring cars, in addition to the precious support from me and Engstler team. So, even though this is our first season, we have a strong touring car experience in the team.