Francorchamps / Belgium & Florida / USA. The Mühlner Motorsport Team, headquartered at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, impressively demonstrated in 2012 that they are one of the best GT teams in the world.
The team were able to show what they were capable of very early on – the early January official "Roar" test for the legendary Daytona 24hrs saw the Florida, USA based subsidiary, Mühlner Motorsports America run a Porsche prepared by Mühlner team mechanics and set-up by Mühlner engineers – and the #18 Mühlner Porsche stole the top slot on the final session of the third test day.
That performance led to a queue of interested drivers at the Mühlner Motorsport Team, all looking for a drive in the 50th running of the classic Daytona event. This quickly led to a second car being prepared and entered but unfortunately a series of accidents for both cars prevented a good result in the race.
Good results were however immediately forthcoming in Europe in the FIA GT1 World Championship where Mühlner Motorsport entered under the title EXIM Bank Team China. At the very first event in Nogaro, France, the team were in the points in both qualifying and in the main race, against tough competition from the world's best GT teams.
At the second event in Zolder, the team pulled off a magnificent victory – a clear pole position in qualifying thanks to an excellent set-up and then, notwithstanding a penalty getting a podium in the qualification race with an excellent package and then in the main race, excellent strategy in the tyre lottery saw the team score the first and only win by Porsche in the FIA GT1 World Championship.
"In November 2007 we made our plans for the forthcoming five seasons, 2008 to 2012 and decided to settle on Porsche and the growing GT3 scene. Our objective was to spend 3 years in the national and European GT3 championships and then to try to move into a world series, which was even then being planned. After immediately winning the German GT series, the ADAC GT Masters in 2008, we were able to celebrate the team's 100th victory at Hockenheim in 2010. Following a difficult 2011 we held discussions about the technical regulations for the FIA GT1 series and were able to achieve our ambition of an entry in the 2012 FIA GT1 World Championship and there were able to score a win, the only win, for Porsche, a result of which we are very proud" said Bernhard Mühlner.
The global economic recession forced the promoter of the series, SRO, to change the calendar half way through the season and the two races planned for China were cancelled, which led to the EXIM Bank Team China losing their lead sponsor.
But as anyone who knows the history of Mühlner Motorsport would realise, setbacks never result in the team sticking their head in the sand. So the season continued with some guest starts in the ADAC GT Masters and the team prepared for another highlight in their long history – an entry in the CityChallenge Event in Baku (Azerbaijan).
There the Mühlner Motorsport Team entered two Porsche 911 GT3 R in this most unusual of street races. Following Macau and Monaco, the team were also brilliant in Baku: one of the two Mühlner Porsche got fastest lap in the main event, again competing against the tough competition of the world's best GT teams.
The team is already setting its stall for the 2013 season – the European part of the team will, alongside its GT activities, run a separate department to take part in the Porsche Supercup which supports the European races of the F1 season. The US team will being running a Grand-Am program in 2013, using the cars currently being readied for the Daytona 24hrs.
Both in the USA and in Europe, the team's club sport department, M-Service, will support numerous Porsche customers both with the workshops in Francorchamps and DeLand as well as locally on circuit.