Handlos wins Gentlemen category ahead of time
Austrian dominates Gentlemen class with nine wins this season
Herbert Handlos (37, Austria / TONINO Team Herberth) is the 2014 ADAC GT Masters Gentlemen champion. He drove the Porsche 911 to second place in the penultimate race of the season at the finale in Hockenheim, clinching the title before season's end. The 31-year-old Austrian lined up for the first time in the Super Sports Car League in 2014 and had a dream season. The businessman, who works in the timber industry, achieved nine wins this season with the support of twin brothers Alfred and Robert Renauer. Handlos also managed to score points in all of the 15 races staged so far just like overall winners Kelvin van der Linde and René Rast. The Porsche driver had not reckoned at all with his meteoric rise through the rankings in the Gentlemen class, because his first steps in the ADAC GT Masters were not easy. Handlos had an initial chance to familiarise himself with the car and the series at official pre-season testing in April at Oschersleben. He returned to the pits in the Porsche 911 after four laps, feeling quite deflated: "I think I'm in the wrong place here." The 500-bhp Porsche and the track were both new to him. His fellow competitors overtook him on both sides during the test drive, but Handlos was too ambitious to give up. "I don't get up in the mornings to come second," said Handlos with determination. This persistence showed through in his fight for the title in the Gentlemen class and paid off right at the start of the season in Oschersleben. He placed fifth overall in the standings during the first race weekend along with team-mate Alfred Renauer. Handlos is a late starter in motor racing. He contested his first race in 2011. He lined up at the 24H of Dubai in a Volkswagen Scirocco, then switched to Porsche and Porsche Club Sport. After competing in the Porsche Alpine Cup for three years and finishing runner-up last year, Handlos took the decision last winter to join the ADAC GT Masters. "The opportunity just happened to present itself and we grabbed it," said Handlos about his bold move into the "Super Sports Car League." For his debut season in the ADAC GT Masters, Handlos chose to link up with TONINO Team Herberth, the team managed by twin brothers Alfred and Robert Renauer, with whom he had already had struck up a friendship in the Porsche Club environment. "First impressions of Herbert are that he is somewhat reserved and quiet but very alert," says co-driver Alfred Renauer. "He has battled away valiantly this year, always defending his race position effectively and above all fairly. He has also shown considerable expertise in positioning the car well on the track." Handlos has established his own comfort zone within the TONINO Team Herberth setup. He contributes several of the crew members himself, creating a familiar environment populated by longstanding associates. Nevertheless, the first race weekends of the ADAC GT Masters were unfamiliar territory: "I had to learn all about the possibilities presented by being part of such a large and professional operation. Even aspects such as data recording were previously foreign to me, but the whole team and all of the other drivers have been a great support and have always lent a sympathetic ear." Before the season started, Handlos had set himself the target of a Top Three finish in the Gentlemen class, but he was very quickly persuaded to adjust this upwards. Six months later, he has surpassed his own expectations and claimed the 2014 ADAC GT Masters Gentlemen title.