There are still another two months left, until the VLN Endurance Championship 2019 season will kick off at the Nürburgring. But yesterday, a bad news arrived for some fans. Helmut und Stefan Kissling of Kissling Motorsport announced on their Facebook page and website, that they will withdraw from all motorsport activities after 41 years in that business.
This decision is mostly due to private matters, as Helmut Kissling had been dealing with health issues – yet it is also in regards of the changed structures and different focus of car maker Opel, when it comes to motorsport. Opel is now part of the French P.S.A. Group, and Opel Motorsport will be integrated into P.S.A- Motorsport. However, as it was mentioned by Carlos Tavares, the CEP of P.S.A. Group – a racer himself, who participated in VLN and the Nürburgring 24h races – the priority for Opel will be to return into a profitable zone with the cars business. Only after that will be accomplished, they would start evaluating future engagements into motorsport activities.
Kissling has not been expecting too much from Opel in that context for the near future, and given the private reasons with the health issues Helmut Kissling has been dealing with, it becomes apparent why the decision was made like that. Kissling Motorsport has been a family business all the time, and was strongly linked to Opel Motorsport and their activities. Kissling has been running in the last two years the Opel Astra TCR and Astra Cup activities. Before that, Kissling Motorsport ran successful campaigns in many different racing series, such as VLN, ADAC GT Masters, ADAC Procar Series, STT, and even DTM in the 1990ies with the Opel Omega 3000 24V Evo. They have won 20 championships, including 4 times VLN, and accomplished more than 600 race wins with cars supported by them.
It has also been clarified now, already, how the support for Astra TCR and Astra Cup will be provided in future. Vmax-Engineering will take care of engines, electronic components and software, while Lubner Motorsport will provide replacement parts and logistics.
Another big concern for VLN Fans has been the question, what Kissling’s withdrawal will mean for the iconic Opel Manta of Olaf Beckmann, who has been keeping on racing in VLN for many years. The participation of this car which the fans love so much, should be secured for 2019. Kissling’s involvement with this car was the engine revision work, which still had been performed in the winter. And the team that races the car, still has a replacement engine on shelf. So, as bad as the news was for Opel Fans – we will continue to see the Manta, and the Astras, racing in VLN.
Original artikel oversat af Jens Jensen.