The 49th running of the ADAC TOTAL 24h Race at the Nürburgring started with a strong performance by Mercedes-AMG Motorsport. On Thursday afternoon, teams with the GT cars from Affalterbach were out for first qualifying. In the session during which the full focus was on running-in the cars and finding the right set-up, Nico Bastian (GER) posted the fastest time in the field with over 120 cars in the #6 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT entry. With the team’s #4 sister car in eighth place, another one of the eight Mercedes-AMG GT3s also ended up in the top ten. Starting grid positions for the season highlight with its high-class entry will be determined during Top Qualifying 2 on Friday evening. Three Mercedes-AMG GT3s have already secured their slots for this session: the #4 Mercedes-AMG HRT car, the #7 Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed entry as well as the latter’s #9 sister car.
On-track action for this year’s 24-hour race at the Nürburgring has started. In first qualifying, early on Thursday afternoon, the teams with the Mercedes-AMG GT3s and the Mercedes-AMG GT4s presented themselves in promising form. The 90-minute session, introduced as a replacement for a free practice last year, got underway in changeable conditions. As the track gradually dried out, teams were only able to switch to slick tyres in the second half. Accordingly, lap times improved as the session went on. At the still partly damp combination of the Nordschleife and the Grand Prix track, Nico Bastian eventually posted the fastest lap time of 8m 23.596s with the #6 GT3 from Mercedes-AMG Team HRT. Another quick driver was Adam Christodoulou (GBR), whose time of 8m 26.805s saw the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT entry classified in eighth place.
For the Performance and Customer Racing Teams, action continues this evening with second qualifying, scheduled from 8.30pm till 11.30pm. On Friday, there is a third qualifying session before the starting order will be decided in the evening. Initially, all eight Mercedes-AMG GT3s will be taking part in the first part of Top Qualifying in which four slots for the decisive Top Qualifying 2 are still up for grabs. Three Mercedes-AMG GT3s have already qualified for this final shoot-out, deciding on the grid positions on the first rows: the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT car with Adam Christodoulou (GBR), Maro Engel, Manuel Metzger and Luca Stolz (all GER), the #7 Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed entry with Maximilian Götz (GER), Daniel Juncadella (ESP), Raffaele Marciello (ITA) and Fabian Schiller (GER) as well as the #9 Customer Racing GT3 from GetSpeed Performance with Moritz Kranz (GER), Markus Palttala (FIN), Janine Shoffner (GBR) and Maxime Soulet (BEL).
First appearance for new cooperation with Palace
With the first on-track action at the Nürburgring, the new partnership between Mercedes-AMG and Palace became visible for the first time as well. During the event, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT’s GT3 race car with starting number 6 is sporting a full livery designed by the skateboard and street wear brand that is a real eye catcher, not in the least because of the striking sabre-tooth tiger on the bonnet. Moreover, the cooperation also includes the first co-branding collection with apparel and accessories, exclusively designed by Palace with Mercedes-AMG, that is also being presented during the event at the Nürburgring.
Watching the action live with AMG, on-site and at home
This year, the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring can be run with a limited number of spectators present on-site. Within the frame of a strict hygiene concept, selected grandstands along the Grand Prix circuit can be filled to around half of their regular capacity. As of now, two famous spectator points at the track have been given new names: the Mercedes grandstand and the Mercedes Arena have been renamed to AMG grandstand and AMG Arena. For fans who can’t be present on-site, Mercedes-AMG is offering comprehensive coverage. At customerracing.mercedes-amg.com the race can be followed live and in full from multiple camera perspectives including on-board cameras.
Nico Bastian, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT #6: “Of course, we are happy to start off the weekend with first place. However, it is more important for us to have the feeling that we have done everything right in the past few weeks and have prepared well. We have a new car that has been meticulously prepared by the team. So when things are working out that well first time out, everything has been done the right way. Knowing that we are quick is also an additional motivation boost for the team. At the moment, the feeling of having had a good start of the weekend is more important than number one in itself. We would be happy for things to continue like this, but, of course, there is still a long way to go.”
Adam Christodoulou, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT #4: “I am happy with the start, but I am particularly delighted for our #6 sister car as well. It is great that the guys have been able to post the fastest time. With their car, they are still in the battle for a slot in Top Qualifying 2. This is giving them a lot of confidence, also for the entire team.”