2016 was the year of Maximilian Buhk. After taking the Drivers Title in the Blancpain Sprint Cup the year before, expectations were high once the Hamburg-based driver started into this season with the brand-new, highly anticipated Mercedes-AMG GT3 and team HTP Motorsport.
During the first VLN races of the legendary long-distance championship around the Nürburgring, it became clear that the new silver arrow designed by the Stuttgart automobile brand has more to offer than just good looks. In the preparation for the 24h-race at the Nürburgring, Buhk stormed to victory in the 6-hour qualification race, setting the first milestone.
„I started into this season with one clear goal: To have a good season without mistakes. We were aiming to set one or two highlights, because we did not know what to expect since the race car was new. I wanted to confirm the success from last year, which worked out in the end“, said the 23-year-old.
Buhk started well into the Blancpain GT Series, which is one of the highest rated GT Championships in the motorsport calendar, taking second place in the Sprint race in Misano. Following Pole Position in Monza, Buhk also took second place in the season opener to the Endurance Cup. All in all, Buhk and his Austrian team-mate Dominik Baumann raced to victory twice: in the three-hour race in Silverstone as well as in the Sprint race in Budapest.
„Silverstone was a perfect weekend and throughout the whole weekend we had the quickest car. I was also able to defend well against Laurens Vanthoor, who put me under immense pressure, and it was great to stay in the lead of the race. In Budapest, I took the chance to take the lead right at the start and this was hugely important for winning the race.“
It was an up and down, but in the end it was enough for both Buhk and Baumann to finish in eighth place at the season final in Barcelona to clinch the overall Blancpain GT Series drivers title. „The team and overall performance was quite ahead this year, but I am also still considering other championships on the same level as my win this year. Taking into consideration emotions, nothing comes close as to winning at Spa in 2013.“
Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps were two of the 24-hour highlights this year and both races could not have been more exciting. Buhk celebrated his debut at the Nürburgring, but the Hamburg-based driver had an accident during the night. „This was one of the most disappointing moments this year. I debuted at the 24h race at Nürburgring and it did not go as planned. It was quite disappointing and the race was finished early, but it was my first time and I was quite nervous.
„Looking back I would not change much about the season. I would only take it a little easier approaching the 24h race at Nürburgring, because I wanted too much. We had some really good races, but the accident is something I had to chew on for quite a bit, considering what could have been. I learned a lot and know what I would need to do differently.“