ADAC Formula Junior Team: Who are the future stars of German racing?

The German automobile club has announced its line-up for the inaugural ADAC Formula Junior Team. Feeder Series has reached out to the ADAC to get to know the next generation of German single-seater stars.

By Jan Husmann

When ADAC announced that it would not accept any entries for the ADAC F4 for 2023, it also announced a restructuring of its junior formulae strategy. Instead of organizing an own series, the German motoring association would field two cars in French F4, for which German drivers born between 2006 and 2008 were eligible to apply.

On 6 February, the ADAC Formula Junior Team made its debut with three drivers instead of two. Max Reis, Finn Wiebelhaus and Tom Kalender will represent the ADAC in the 2023 French F4 championship.

Max Reis

Max Reis aims to improve on his performance in French F4 in 2022 as he begins his second season in the championship with the support of the ADAC Formula Junior Team. | Credit: Gürel Sahin

Max Reis is the only driver with prior experience in Formula 4 machinery, as he competed in French F4 in 2022. One podium finish saw the sixteen-year-old end the season fifteenth in the championship standings. On a good weekend, he was able to compete with the front of the field, but he struggled to consistently produce good results, especially in qualifying.

“My goal is to finish the season among the top places,” Reis told Feeder Series. “The experience I was able to gain last year, will surely help me now. To be accepted into the ADAC Formula Junior Team and the Motorsport Team Germany is an honour and additional motivation for me. I will do my best to represent the German colours and the ADAC in French F4.”

Looking at the calendar for 2023, Reis looks forward to return to the site of his biggest success to date. “The races in Pau-Ville will be special for me,” he said. “In 2022 I celebrated my first podium finish in formula racing there and the street circuit is a real challenge. I am also looking forward to the event at Spa-Francorchamps, the track is unbelievably fun.”

Finn Wiebelhaus

Finn Wiebelhaus will make his single-seater debut in the 2023 French F4 championship. | Credit: Björn Niemann (Fast Media)

One of Reis’ team-mates is Finn Wiebelhaus, who only started karting in 2020. Since then, he has quickly made a name for himself on home soil. In 2022 he won the Southern German Kart Cup, the Western German Kart Cup and the ADAC Kart Masters, competing in the X30-Junior class in all three championships.

2023 will be his first season in cars. “I am entering new territory in the 2023 season. I am very much looking forward to the challenge,” he told Feeder Series. “My goal is to learn as much as possible and to develop as a driver. I am preparing carefully and diligently for my first races and set the goal for myself to make the jump into the top ten over the course of the season.

“All tracks are new to me and therefore appealing in their own way,” he said. “I am especially looking forward to the event at Spa-Francorchamps. The track has a long-standing tradition and is very challenging. Particularly because of its many fast passages, the roller coaster in the Ardennes is a big challenge.”

Tom Kalender

Tom Kalender is the youngest member of the ADAC Formula Junior Team. He aims to achieve good results in French F4. | Credit: Björn Niemann (Fast Media)

The youngest member of the team is Tom Kalender, who will turn 15 years old in March. He finished his 2022 season as runner-up in the German Junior Karting Championships.

“I want to gather as much experience as possible during my first Formula 4 season,” he said. “My personal goal is to arrive in the French series and the ADAC Formula Junior Team and to achieve good results.”

Like German racing legend Michael Schumacher, the new generation seems to already have an affinity for the Belgian F1 track at Spa-Francorchamps. “Due to its long-standing history, I cannot wait to drive at Spa-Francorchamps,” Kalender told Feeder Series. “The layout is amazing and promises exciting races.”

The future of German motorsport

The ADAC Formula Junior Team will extend the support of German motorsport talents, alongside its Motorsport Team Germany, which supports drivers in many different disciplines of motorsport.

For 2023, Reis was nominated in the formula category alongside Tim Tramnitz, who is currently preparing for his second season of Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine (FRECA). Kalender is also being supported through the Motorsport Team in the karting category, but will likely make the switch to the formula team as well.

After the cancellation of ADAC F4 for 2023, German junior single-seater racing was set for an uphill battle this winter. But the last couple of months went as well as they could have for the home of F1 world champions Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.

German outfit PHM Racing will now field teams in Formula 2, Formula 3 and Italian F4, providing seats for recently-announced Alpine Academy driver Sophia Floersch and Valentin Kluss for 2023. Tim Tramnitz will be amongst the title favourites in FRECA, racing with R-ace GP and Jakob Bergmeister steps up to Euroformula Open for his first full season in cars.

The ADAC Formula Junior Team will provide three drivers with racing opportunities in French F4, whilst in the karting scene Taym Saleh recently joined the Sauber Academy program.

Now, it is up to the drivers to produce results on track. Funding will remain crucial for future opportunities, but the best arguments towards sponsors and teams are podiums and wins. The ADAC will support its Junior Formula Team drivers to the best of its ability to achieve those, and it will be interesting to see how the youngsters perform on French soil.

Header photo credit: ADAC


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