One of the legends of truck racing since her debut in 1997, Ellen Lohr is looking forward to a second consecutive season with Lutz Bernau in 2016, and she is targeting the podium
How do you think the future of truck racing looks at present Ellen?
“Well, I think there are some exciting times ahead.. It is very different to when I first raced in trucks in 1997. Then there were more factory teams, and I drove for one (Mercedes) in the Super Race Trucks. As we know with factory and manufacturer backed championships they often go in cycles and usually they die after a while.
“I personally think that not having too much involvement from manufacturers, is no bad thing and you can have a stable series. It is a good time now for private teams, for talent and for many things. The support that comes from the manufacturers is of course needed and important, especially with engines, but I think the balance is about right now. The future with our new promoters (ETRA Promotion GmbH) is very good and in time some big strides forward will be made; I am sure of this.”
Tell us about plans for 2016?
“Last year was my first full year back in the FIA ETRC after going off-road rallying for a few years. I look back on 2015, coming back in to truck racing with a top team and I think it was quite successful. We had some good top five finishes with the Lutz Bernau team which is one of the most professional in the championship and for me in the fourth season in my come back to trucks, I feel confident for some good results this season.
“The plan and aim for this year is clear. We want to be on the podium once in a while. This is the goal. Again I am with Lutz Bernau and with MAN, so technically we have consistency. We are determined to do better than last year. Of course we know we will not be champions, this is obvious, but we have some good goals to reach for in 2016.
Has the challenge of driving trucks changed much during your career?
For me personally the feeling of driving the trucks is the same from when I raced in the late 1990s. Of course there are some technical differences, such as more power and so on. The feeling when I came back in 2012 was all very progressive and good, but for instance I remember in 1997 when I raced trucks for the first time it was a shock and there was a lot to learn compared to DTM. But when I came back for my second phase in trucks I knew what to expect.
“For sure there is a big driving style change in trucks compared to most other types of racing. This is one of the reasons why there are the same top four or five drivers leading the way in trucks but it is still possible for young drivers to step in and make a good name.”
Do you like the 2016 FIA ETRC calendar?
“Consistency is always important for the races to build up an event. The Nürburgring race weekend is a good example of this and also Spielberg who are doing some really great work and building their event very nicely. Le Mans is also growing from year to year. As a driver I enjoy racing these tracks on the FIA ETRC calendar, there is a good combination for sure.”
How is the interaction with fans in truck racing?
“I have no doubt that truck racing is one of the most super spectacular disciplines and events in motorsport. It is not only interesting for the fans that come to visit us at the track but also the people watching on TV and on new media channels too.
“I was really pleased to learn that ETRA have Wige TV on board as it is a very well known and respected producer. As well as producing they also promote the championship in their work through professional distribution, etc. I think there is much to look forward to in bring new fans to the truck racing world.”