Projekt Roter Baron
Projekt Roter Baron is a motor racing team based in Ulm, Germany. It is mostly known for running the Volks.Racing entry in the F1 Rejects Indy Championship Series.
Projekt Roter Baron was founded by three former classmates, Arne Rätzel, Sven Bomski and Mario Müller. All three were and are passionate fans of Michael Schumacher and decided to dedicate an effort to finding the new Schumi - this "mission" inspired the name, given that Red Baron was one of the many nicknames used for Schumacher. Under an Austrian license, they entered a car in the Mini Trophy from 2009 onwards. Having various pay drivers drive for them in their first years, the team failed to get anywhere near achieving their task and mainly made up the back of the grid. Their fortunes changed in 2012, when a young Turkish-German driver joined them: Kenan Ardaoglu. He proved to be a significant talent and steamrolled both his debut and his sophomore season. The team used these successes to raise their own profile in order to attract enough sponsorship to mount an entry for the 2014 British Formula Three season. Ardaoglu looked very good for winning the title of this series as well before he had a horrible accident with an opposing driver at Spa-Francorchamps, badly injuring the latter. Kenan Ardaoglu was found guilty for causing that accident and excluded from the rest of the season which allowed the competition to catch him and left him only third in the championship.
Volks.Racing and F1 Rejects Development Series (2015-onwards)
In late 2013, the Axel Springer Verlag decided to push their major newspapers with a motorsport effort. Projekt Roter Baron got the deal for building up a team promoting the "Volks.Produkte" brand in the IndyCar Series, trying to find Germany's future racing star, after a planned F1 entry fell flat on its face. Continuing their established relation to Kenan Ardaoglu, the team also prepared two cars for former DTM drivers Johannes Seidlitz and Ralf Schumacher. Despite having to handle three completely different engines, the cars turned out competitive, with the first win coming for Ardaoglu at the Gateway International Speedway. Shortly afterwards, Ralf Schumacher scored the teams' first pole, the pole position for the famous American Airlines 400. After a successful first season, Kenan Ardaoglu left for F2RWRS and was replaced by pay-driver Herbert Aston. Ralf Schumacher stayed with the team for 2016 and Johannes Seidlitz ended his career. The team was scaled down to a two-car effort and musician David Hasselhoff joined as a shareholder, causing a change in team name to Hasselhoff Motorsport.
Meanwhile, a feeder series for the F1RWRS which is not run by the F1 Rejects Council was announced to take place from 2015 onwards. Using some of the budget appointed to them for the Volks.Racing effort, the team decided to enter this series as well, running two cars given to young German talent Patrick Feldhoffer and a young driver supported by Gillet Ecurie Nationale Belge, Simon Mestach. However, the F1RDS effort turned out to be straining the financial capabilities of the team too much and so the entry was liquidated and turned over to Team Echoften.