After its historic quadruple victory last year, Mercedes-AMG can also be happy with a successful performance in the Nürburgring 24-hour race in its anniversary year. In a thrilling race, that became even more dramatic with rain in the closing stages, two Mercedes-AMG GT3 managed to end up in the top ten. The best result was achieved by the #1 of the Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON with Yelmer Buurman (NED), Adam Christodoulou (GBR), Maro Engel (GER) and Manuel Metzger (GER) in fifth place overall. In the rain chaos, the #8 HARIBO Racing Team Mercedes-AMG with Lance David Arnold (GER), Uwe Alzen (GER), Maximilian Götz (GER) and Renger van der Zande (NED) secured the second top ten result for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport.
- Mercedes-AMG GT3 in positions 5, 9, 13, 14 and 23
Nürburg – In good weather conditions nearly throughout, 205,000 fans at the Nürburgring and the Nordschleife enjoyed a fascinating race weekend with a dramatic finale: rain setting in at the Nordschleife just 30 minutes before the end of the 24-hour distance led to position changes and some last-minute retirements from the leading group.
Final driver Maro Engel, who kept his nerves in control amidst the rain chaos, held on to his position. In spite of an excursion, he drove the #1 Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON car across the finish line in fifth place after 157 laps. The winning car from last year, that, next to Engel, also had Yelmer Buurman, Adam Christodoulou and Manuel Metzger as its drivers, had started the marathon race from 22nd place. The quartet quickly made up positions, particularly in the first quarter of the race, and had already established itself in the top ten before the night set in. With faultless stints and problem-free pit stops, the drivers maintained their positions in the pursuit of the podium places until the finish.
The #8 HARIBO Racing Team Mercedes-AMG entry secured the second top ten result for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport with drivers Lance David Arnold, Uwe Alzen, Maximilian Götz and Renger van der Zande. The fast ‘golden bear’ had a changeable race: having started from 13th place on the grid, the quartet temporarily was on course for a podium finish on Saturday evening, but then dropped out of the top ten due to a time penalty. Final driver Lance David Arnold made it through the changeable track conditions, made up positions and finally brought the #8 car home in ninth place overall.
On the other hand, the #50 Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport car with Dominik Baumann (AUT), Maximilian Buhk (GER), Edoardo Mortara (ITA) and Edward Sandström (SWE) was one of the victims of the partly wet Nordschleife towards the end of the race. Final driver Maximilian Buhk came off the track at Metzgesfeld while driving with slicks in sixth place, and was not classified.
The race went successfully for the Customer Racing cars run by BLACK FALCON and HTP Motorsport: with the #4 BLACK FALCON car, Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal (KSA), Hubert Haupt (GER), Daniel Juncadella (ESP) and Luca Stolz (GER) finished in 13th place. With the #48 MANN-FILTER Team HTP Motorsport entry, Patrick Assenheimer (GER), Indy Dontje (NED), Kenneth Heyer (GER) and Bernd Schneider (GER) took the flag in 14th place.
Having lost time in the opening stages following a repair brake, the #3 Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON showed an impressive recovery. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Maro Engel (GER), Thomas Jäger (GER), Dirk Müller (GER) and Jan Seyffarth (GER) had to start catching up from behind and worked its way up to finish in 23th place. The #47 Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport car didn’t make it to the finish. The team withdrew the Mercedes-AMG GT3 with drivers Sebastian Asch (GER), Dominik Baumann (AUT), Christian Hohenadel (GER) and Stefan Mücke (GER) from the race after a collision in the evening hours.
Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH:
“Okay, during this year’s 24-hour race, it didn’t work out as well as last year. To a certain extent, that is a pity, because we would have loved to secure a victory for our fans and, of course, for our entire team in Affalterbach to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Mercedes-AMG. But that is what motorsport is like. Congratulations to Audi and BMW that have shown a surprisingly strong performance here. Now, we will analyse why we haven’t been able to race all the way at the front, and already start thinking about next year. Nevertheless, our teams and our drivers have put in a strong performance and were committed in this though race in a professional way with passion until the final corner. That is the true AMG spirit and the entire team deserve many thanks from me.”
Stefan Wendl, project manager GT3:
“Now these were some hot 24 hours here at the Nürburgring, in every sense of the word. The unexpectedly high temperatures made it difficult for all the teams to find the right balance between speed and tyre management. Basically, we had a good strategy, but we weren’t fully able to keep up with the pace out in front and therefore had to push very hard all the time. In the turbulent closing stages with rain setting in, we then also fell victim to this effort. Nevertheless a huge compliment to our Mercedes-AMG teams and our drivers who really fought hard here for 24 hours. And, of course, congratulations to the Audi Sport Team Land on this victory.”