Though he’s been known for his ADAC GT Masters exploits since 2016, Germany’s Elia Erhart is no stranger to the 24H SERIES either. Indeed, he made his first start at the 2015 Hankook 24H DUBAI in the 991 class, and since his series return in late 2020, he’s added two podium finishes in three starts to his collection.
Prior to that, Elia’s car racing career began in the ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup in 2009, and after a brief two-year touring car spell with SEAT, the Nuremberg native’s career quickly transitioned to GT racing with the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany from 2012 onwards. A one-off season aboard an HB Racing Lamborghini beckoned in 2016 before Elia joined the Audi Sport racing academy the following year, a driver-manufacturer relationship that continues to bear fruit to this day.
Turns out he can tell you one or two things about Jason Statham too…
“My name is Elia Erhart.”
“I am 30…[LONG pause]…okay, I’m 32 years old!”
“It was 2007 in the Volkswagen Polo Cup at Hockenheim. And I was 19 years old.”
“I think I’ve had two. The first was my victory in the Norisring race in the SEAT [León Supercopa Germany] in 2011.* I live in Röttenbach, near Nuremberg, so that is my home race. And the second one was in 2018, when I won the ADAC GT Masters race at Sachsenring [for EFP by TECE alongside Pierre Kaffer]. So another home race.
“Actually 3rd place at the COPPA FLORIO [12H SICILY] last year with CREVENTIC was not so bad either!”
*Elia rather modestly forgets to mention that he was crowned champion that year in SEAT León Supercopa Germany in the discipline’s swansong season.
“Ah, it’s the Norisring. It’s a street circuit, it’s my home race, and, for sure, it is just very special. If I have to choose a second favourite…let’s say Monaco, even though I’ve never driven there [Laughs]! But I do enjoy Sachsenring as well.”
“[Pause] I remember, in 2011, I drove a race without a door! I had an accident at the beginning, but the car was okay, it went well, so I just kept going. Looking back, that was pretty crazy.”
“Actually I just changed it now. I wanted a yellow helmet because my car in ADAC is yellow. I like the colour anyway. And this” – Elia points to ‘Alessia’ written on both side of his helmet, just underneath the visor – “is the name of my daughter.”
“[Laughs] I’m not so sure…”
*After a brief pause, Elia calls in his teammate Pierre Kaffer from the adjacent room to ask his advice.
Pierre – “[Laughs] Him? Well, I’m really going to have to think hard about this…
Behind him, Elia is struggling to contain his amusement.
Pierre – “…sometimes, he can be really focused and concentrate on the goal the team has. So that’s good. He’s also a very emotional guy.”
Elia – [Deadpan] “But just sometimes.”
Job done, Pierre leaves Elia to finish the interview by himself.
“Oh, what’s the name of… what’s his name, hang on, I think you know this guy…” – Elia, now without Pierre’s help, quickly scans IMDB on his phone – “ah, Jason Statham!”
*Our interview once again takes a brief pause while Elia explains to CREVENTIC’s Femke van Orsouw who Jason Statham is (she’s young…) and why ‘The Transporter’ is worth a watch.
“I want to go to Le Mans. And DTM, when the GT3 class comes in.”
“I have two children, two daughters, and I love them very much.”
“Really, I have so much fun in this series because I do not have much pressure. I can just concentrate on driving, and you drive a lot with CREVENTIC! And to share a car with my colleagues [at Paul Ricard, Elia was sharing the Rutronik Racing by TECE Audi R8 with Pierre Kaffer, Michael Doppelmayr and Swen Herberger]. There’s always a great atmosphere and I like it a lot. I’m also really looking forward to the 24-hour race at Sebring.”
Elia Erhart was speaking with Femke van Orsouw and James Gent at the 2021 Hankook 12H CIRCUIT PAUL RICARD. Images courtesy of Petr Frýba. You can also check out this story in the 2021 Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING magazine, available for download at the link below.