Sascha Maassen – Where Next?
Maassen is the career leader in wins in the ALMS. Having worked
his way up the racing ladder to where he is now, Sascha finds himself
as the elder statesman among a bunch of young up and comers, but
also at a career crossroads. He has achieved everything there is
to achieve in the GT Class, but being a contracted Porsche driver,
where does he go next? Gary Horrocks sat down with
the GT Co-Champion at Road Atlanta……and asked some fairly
When some of the up and
coming Porsche drivers are under 20, even as young as 33 can appear
to be old. Obviously you are not old, but do you feel old in comparison?
“My team mates always try to give me this feeling.
They try to convince me to retire that’s for sure! But I will
not do them this favor. They still have to beat me on the track.”
Motivation – How
do you keep it?
“I don’t look at the record at all. Wins are
past history, and I need to prove myself every day. I take it a
race at a time and use my teammates to keep me motivated. I’m
a competitive person and want to compete. Every race is a new one
and I treat it that way. I want to win.
admit that with having won the Championship twice, it is tough to
do better. I can only lose. I need a different goal, but from driving
with Job in the ALMS, everything else is a step down. Unfortunately,
there is nothing left in the Porsche family for me to move to. If
there was, I would be glad to go with it. Being with Porsche was
and has been a dream for me and I never want to go away from them.
I just hope they have something for me to move into in the future.
Whenever I hear rumors about a prototype coming along, I ask at
Porsche, but there is no good news. If they built a prototype, I
would be happy to try it. I have another year on my contract with
Porsche, so I could look elsewhere, but it would really have to
be something special for me to even consider. I really have the
best of everything right now, including security, but I really would
like to move up.
feel like we are really appreciated. It is like the wins are expected
of us. Other leaders should be shown or featured besides the overall
leaders. I really feel that the GT class should get more attention
as we make up half of the field. In the prototype class, you lose
two laps and you drop to fourth. In GT, you lose two laps and you
are 16th. The people who understand acknowledge our efforts, but
it is difficult for the public to understand.”
in third and fourth places and beyond might have a different view
from your’s on this subject – exposure – Sascha.
And if the battle for class wins was closer among yourselves and
the opposition...as it has been between GM and Ferrari in GTS. Ed.)
How difficult is it racing
your own race when you always have to have an eye on the rear view
mirror so you can stay out of the way of the faster Prototype and
“It is not easy, but it is part of the job we do.
And some are better at it than others. Staying out of trouble is
not easy in the ALMS, but that’s what makes the series exciting.
There is always action when four different classes are driving around
You have had
time racing prototypes, specifically the Konrad Lola, the Champion
Lola-Porsche and the Barbour Reynard-Judd. Did that whet your appetite
for racing in a prototype?
“These prototype experiences were always very challenging
to me, as I never had the chance to prepare myself and have a real
testing program ahead of the race. I always had to jump in and do
the job. As the races were always very important as well, my main
focus was on not making any mistakes. I would like the opportunity
to play with the car a little bit more and get more performance
out of it.”
So what is left
for you to accomplish?
SM: “Overall wins and a class win at Daytona.
My teammates sure let me know about Daytona. They’ll walk
up to me and ask me the time, then say “oh, that’s right,
you don’t have a watch.’ It would be nice to get me
the Daytona Prototype at Mt. Tremblant was really fun. It was an
interesting weekend for me as I was racing at a track I have never
been to, in a car that I have never been in. The Porsche Fabcar
handled well, and had good power, but it is not really what I would
consider a prototype. Performance wise, I would guess it would fall
somewhere between a GT and a GTS car in the ALMS.”
Did you initiate getting
the drive in the Daytona Prototype?
“No, I actually wanted to drive for the team at Daytona
this season, but the circumstances did not fall into place. This
time I was approached and it was a big honor to me.”
Do you see any more drives
in Grand Am next season?
“For sure I want to do the 24 Hours of Daytona. But
again my advantage of being a factory driver for Porsche restricts
me in the choice of a drive there. So hopefully Porsche wants me
to drive for a good team.”
Just how good is Alex
“Really good. They have worked with Porsches for
a long time now. They have the experience and the right attitude
for racing: focused and composed.”
With Alex Job Racing
being supported and now designated as a factory team, how much more
advanced or special is your equipment over what is available to
other Porsche teams?
“This is a good question. We have the same engines
and cars as our competition. We do have an advantage in the gearbox,
but that is available to the customers as well. Apart from that
I had the only advantage of having the best team and the best team
“And Alex Job is
not a factory team but a factory supported team. Actually like many
others in the series, such as Joest Audi.”
What I was getting at
is that AJR is considered a factory team by IMSA, as far as points
go. I realize that there is support from Porsche for your team,
but other teams get support also. Why is AJR considered a “factory”
“AJR is not considered as a factory team by IMSA.
They were able to get prize money and they did. But then Porsche
decided that it is unfair for the other customers that AJR would
get all the prize money and did not have to buy the cars and gets
free material to test. So Porsche asked IMSA to consider them as
a "factory supported private team" (official status at
IMSA) so that the prize money would go to other private Porsche
teams such as The Racer´s Group. But unfortunately the Ferrari
now gets most of this money!”
Orbit, The Racer’s
Group, Petersen / White Lightning and others have all enjoyed the
use of factory drivers, and Champion Racing in the LMP 900 class
allegedly cannot even start up their Audi without factory personnel
being present. Yet all of these are considered as privateers. What
exactly makes a team a factory team?
“A real factory team is one like the Corvette team,
where the whole program is paid for by the manufacturer or its sponsors
and the decisions are made by the manufacturer as well. So the teams
that you mentioned decide themselves if they want to have a factory
driver. They are not obliged to use one. But they had better use
one if offered… “
What do you think of
the racing here in North America?
“I love it. The ALMS is a great racing series. There
are a lot of great, challenging tracks and a lot of competitive
cars, well at least in the GT class.”
Have you got anything
to say to those young up and coming drivers?
“They are quick and they have a bright future ahead.
I hope we will race each other for a few more years. And I hope
they will first learn how to lose…”