With two victories at the Essen Grand Prix the two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekström astounded the RCCO elite. In the RCCO series, many other celebrity guests have already demonstrated their talent at the controller.
Martin Ragginger was astonished when, at the end of 2009, he took up the invitation of the motor sport photographer Bodo Kräling and contested the MINI 24h race in the Dunlop Lounge at the Nürburgring for his PSSR team. “I had not imagined it to be so professional,” said the Austrian. “It’s really quite a big sport!”
Since then, the former Porsche junior has also been infected with the “Carreraritis” fever. Every time he meets a RCCO competitor, he wants to know how the last race has gone – even if he already has a helmet on and is on the starting grid.
Ragginger took third place in the Porsche Grand Prix of Hamburg at the Porsche Center Hamburg in 2010, one of the best results of a guest in the “big small” racing series, and he was always pleased when Porsche press officer Oliver Hilger – earlier a RCCO competitor – called him and invited him to Hamburg for another guest start.
For more than 25 years, the RCCO has been able to bring in “real” racing and rallying professionals for guest appearances in the RCCO series with the help from the automotive industry and sponsoring partners. “You don’t get that in any other slotcar racing series” says Volkswagen designer Helmut Schmid, who has been participating in the “big small” racing series for years. “To drive against professionals like Frank Biela, Sascha Maassen and Martin Ragginger is simply a great experience. And besides that they are really nice guys.”
VIP meeting – at the RCCO 24 hour race, the celebrity presence was particularly strong. Here: Ralf Jüttner, Frank Biela, Jürgen Jungklaus and Porsche junior Klaus Bachler at the 2013 24 Hours
This is especially true for Frank Biela and Sascha Maassen, who have demonstrated outstanding talent on the button and both have won the 24-hour race of the RCCO series – Frank Biela has even won five times in a row from 2009 to 2013. The former DTM champion and several times Le Mans winning Audi factory driver Frank Biela was regarded as a particularly likeable racing driver. “Frank is a really down-to-earth and friendly guy,” enthused RCCO participant Robert Müller, who works at Airbus in Hamburg, has driven in Rallycross and worked as a technician at racing teams. “He has no airs and graces about him.
This enthusiasm for Biela is also shared by Matthias Parke, who together with the Le Mans winner drove to victory in the MINI 24h race. “It’s great how a five-time Le Mans winner can in the end still be happy winning a small 1:24 scale race!”
Biela’s enthusiasm for the small cars is shared by almost all the celebrity guest starters who have tried their luck in the RCCO series. These included the German rally champions Armin Kremer and Matthias Kahle, who naturally contested the rally events of the “big small” racing series. In 2001, Kremer had a scorcher when he took the lead in the Subaru outdoor rally for a long time and finished third. “In the rain, the car suddenly stopped running,” Kremer said.
Sven Haaf, Michael Gerber, Isolde Holderied, Jutta Kleinschmidt and Nico Burkhart have also been taking part in RCCO events as Rally Dakar winner Dirk von Zitzewitz who swapped the cockpit of the Race Touareg 2 various times for a Volkswagen slotcar. “I’d love to have more time then I could take part more often,” said the rally co-driver.
Fun with stars – appearances at the "big" motor sport regularly lure "real" racers to the RCCO tracks
“It’s always fun to take part in this racing series”
Of the race track pros, it was not only Martin Ragginger, Sascha Maassen and Frank Biela who dared to compete in the RCCO series. The list of the stars that lined up at the Grand Prix Essen is particularly long. There, in 2005, the pros from “big” motorsport even drew a three-way victory when Mattias Ekström triumphed before Sebastian Vettel and Frank Biela (with a self-built car).
Numerous celebrities also participated in the race during the DTM presentation in Hamburg, including former Formula 1 driver Timo Glock and DTM team manager Hans-Jürgen Abt. His son Daniel, Jeroen Bleekemolen and René Rast were among the participants of the “1st Audi DTM Challenge” in Oschersleben.
The races, which take place at “big” motorsport events, always attract a lot of prominent guest starters. For example, DTM shooting star Miguel Molina spent the entire day of the new DTM Challenge in Oschersleben near the RCCO track. When asked “do you want to join?” the young Spaniard’s eyes lit up. The rallye racing Carrera Cup in the DTM driver's camp was still a topic among the DTM stars 24 hours later.
Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich has also taken an interest in the “big small” racing series from Hamburg. In 2009 he called Thomas Voigt on the way back from the DTM race in Oschersleben to go through the technical details of the RCCO cars.
DTM beats RCCO – Mattias Ekström and Thomas Voigt at the Grand Prix Essen 2006
Many pros from big motorsports have already tried their hand in the RCCO series. Frank Biela and Sascha Maassen were able to win the 24-hour race. But no one has left such a lasting impression as Mattias Ekström, 2004 and 2007 DTM champion and Michael Schumacher conqueror at the Race of Champions. The Carrera brand ambassador competed in 2005 and 2006 with a Lamborghini Gallardo by Volkswagen designer Helmut Schmid at the Grand Prix Essen.
He attracted attention right away with is first victory in 2005. The fact he won again in 2006, leaving no chance for RCCO record-champion Thomas Voigt in the final duel, showing his extra class. “Most racers get a good feel for these small cars,” says Helmut Schmid. “But Mattias is particularly impressive.”
Since his two victories in Essen, Ekström has been a keen follower the "big small" racing series. On another occasion in the 2010 season he hailed the RCCO establishment with another pole position in the Audi DTM Challenge. Fortunately for the RCCO-cracks, Ekström had to go to bed early and could not participate in the race.
FAHRER drivers from the "big" motorsport have registered themselves in the RCCO's winning list so far: Frank Biela, Mattias Ekström and Sascha Maassen
>> Gallery: celebs on the RCCO button
Renn- und Rallyefahrer
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Motorsport, Medien, Marketing
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de Vries, Michel
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Ullrich, Dr. Wolfgang
von der Brake, Hardy
von Gordon, Felix
von Wegner, Alexander
zum Winkel, Ulrich
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