Nürburg/Affalterbach – Mercedes-Benz and AMG today secured the first overall win in the 24-Hours of Nürburgring. Bearing starting number 9, Black Falcon with Bernd Schneider (Germany), Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands), Sean Edwards (GB) and Nicki Thiim (Denmark) went from sixth position on the grid to finish the legendary endurance race 2:39 minutes ahead of the second placed car after 88 laps. This historic overall victory in the legendary endurance classic in the Eifel represents the first success for Mercedes-Benz. Record-breaking five-time DTM champion Bernd Schneider had a largely trouble-free race in the SLS AMG GT3 Black Falcon– an excursion off track on Monday morning ended without drama. The victory was rounded off by positions three and four for ROWE RACING.
Thomas Jäger was a double entrant, taking the cockpit in two SLS AMG GT3s prepared by ROWE RACING. In Gullwing #22, the former DTM driver, along with Klaus Graf, Jan Seyffarth and Nico Bastian (all Germany), came home in third place overall. Jäger, at the wheel of car number 23, aided by team-mates Lance David Arnold, Alexander Roloff and Jan Seyffarth (all Germany), finally took the chequered flag in fourth place.
Alexander Böhm, Black Falcon General Manager: “The ultra-reliable SLS AMG GT3 was once again the cornerstone for this historic victory. All the drivers did a great job – we were really fast, especially in the wet. A big thank you to all team members!”
Hans-Peter Naundorf, ROWE RACING Team Manager: “I am extremely pleased with securing P3 and P4 with #22 and #23, especially as we were forced to retire last year while in the lead. My thanks go to all drivers and team members. Congratulations to the winning team, Black Falcon.”
Uli Fritz, Head of AMG Customer Sports: “We were not among the favourites to win, as we are not a works team but simply a customer outfit. We are very excited about this historic success. So far in 2013, we have won every major endurance race with the SLS AMG GT3 – in January, the Dubai (UAE) 24-hour race, in February, the Bathurst 12-Hours (Australia) and now the legendary 24- hour race here at the Nürburgring. My congratulations go to all AMG customer teams, and many thanks to tyre partner Dunlop for the excellent manner in which they have supported our team.”
Ola Kaellenius, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “A great success for our customer teams Black Falcon and ROWE RACING. I am very pleased that we have succeeded at only the third attempt in taking the top spot in the SLS AMG GT3. This victory is the best confirmation of our customer sports programme.”
Toto Wolff, Head of Motorsport at Mercedes-Benz: “This victory in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring is the just reward for the loyalty of our customer teams. Mercedes-Benz has a magnificent tradition in endurance racing that stretches back as far as the 1950s. The Nürburgring has always had a great importance and symbolic meaning for Mercedes-Benz, because this is where the legend of the Silver Arrow was born, so it is all the more gratifying to witness the success here today of the AMG customer teams. The Mercedes-Benz name stands for performance, quality and reliability – which are the perfect prerequisites for winning such a tough race on the most demanding racetrack in the world. I extend my congratulations to our customer teams, Black Falcon and ROWE RACING. Credit is also due to Mercedes-AMG for their outstanding support without which this success could not have been achieved.”
Bernd Schneider, Black Falcon, # 9: “Our car was super to drive, especially in the wet, and even while the surface was drying out, we were always up with the leading group. I’ve attempted the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring on several previous occasions, but this is the first time I’ve ever crossed the finish line. My congratulations and thanks go to the whole team. The guys at Black Falcon did a great job.”
Thomas Jäger, ROWE RACING, # 22: “Once again, we have seen what a fabulous car the SLS AMG GT3 is to drive, even under these very difficult conditions here at the Nürburgring. Our third and fourth place finishes represent a great team result for ROWE RACING, and obviously I’m delighted for the guys at Black Falcon on their historic victory.”
Lance David Arnold, ROWE RACING, # 23: “I’m very pleased that I was able to finish fourth on my very first outing for the AMG customer team ROWE RACING. This was very tough race, not least because of the heavy rain and the constantly changing conditions. I’d like to express my gratitude and congratulations to the whole team.”
Seven SLS AMG GT3s in 24-hour race at Nürburgring
There were no fewer than seven SLS AMG GT3s contesting the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. Car number 63 entered by Black Falcon and driven by Vimal Mehta (IND), Kaled al Qubaisi (UAE), Daniel Keilwitz and Christian Bracke (both GER) finished in 19th position. Number 125 (ROWE RACING) with Michael Zehe, Reinhold Renger, Marko Hartung and Mark Bullit (all GER) sharing the cockpit crossed the line in P27. Car number 10, also entered by Black Falcon and driven by Andrii Lebed (UKR), Andreas Simonsen (SWE), Dennis Rostek (GER) and Hari Proczyk (AUT), spent much of the race under repair and eventually finished in 130th position. The ROWE RACING number 21 driven by Marko Hartung, Kenneth Heyer, Roland Rehfeld and Christan Hohenadel (all GER) had to retire from the race after an accident.