Nürburg/Affalterbach. The SLS AMG GT3 of Black Falcon with Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED), Andreas Simonsen (SWE), Christian Menzel and Lance David Arnold (both GER) finished second in the traditional 24-hour race at Nürburgring. Start number 1 initiated from position seven on the grid and crossed the finish line 24 hours later after 159 laps with a backlog of merely 2,59,70 minutes compared to the winner. Start number 22 of ROWE RACING with Michael Zehe, Christian Hohenadel, Nico Bastian and Maro Engel (all GER) finished the race in the third overall position. The team’s achievements were rounded up by HTP Motorsport with start number 15 – the driver quartet with Harold Primat (SUI), Maximilian Götz, Kenneth Heyer and Roland Rehfeld (all GER) came home seventh.
Six SLS AMG GT3 started in the 42nd display of the endurance race in the Eifel. Each of the AMG customer teams Black Falcon and ROWE RACING deployed two gullwings in the race while HTP Motorsport and Car Collection Motorsport started with one gullwing each.
Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “It was a narrow and extremely commanding 24-hour race. My congratulations to Black Falcon and ROWE RACING for their podium positions. The achievement of placing three vehicles among the positions 1 to 7 in this strong starting field is a clear proof of Mercedes-AMG’s and our customer teams’ firm establishment in these competitive surroundings.”
Jochen Bitzer, head of AMG Customer Sports: “The 24-hour race at Nürburgring is an ultimate highlight in the endurance race program. In the end, having two SLS AMG GT3 on the podium and three among the seven best is an excellent team achievement. We are proud of the performance of our customer teams, which repeatedly succeeded brilliantly in beating their competitors. Congratulations to Black Falcon and ROWE RACING for the positions two and three. Thanks to all customer teams, all drivers and the entire Affalterbach team, which made this success possible for Mercedes-Benz and AMG by their passionate commitment. Congratulations to the winners of the team Phoenix Racing and Audi.”
Sean Paul Breslin, team manager Black Falcon: “We would have loved to repeat last year’s success. Unfortunately, in the end, we did not catch up with the victorious Audi. However, we are very pleased about the second position of our start number 1! The SLS AMG GT3 repeatedly proved its high reliability. Unfortunately, our second car with start number 14 retired because of an accident. I want to thank all team members!”
Lance David Arnold, driver Black Falcon: “After my fourth position last year, I am pleased to finish the race on the second overall position. The race was hard and the speed of it incredibly high from the first minute on. I want to thank my driver colleagues and everybody of Black Falcon for their tireless performance.”
Hans-Peter Naundorf, team manager ROWE RACING: “We are very pleased about the third position in this highly competitive race. Unfortunately, we lost the sister car in the last hour of the race because of an accident. I want to thank all drivers and team members and give my congratulations to Phoenix Racing and Black Falcon.”
Thomas Jäger, driver ROWE RACING: “Despite untypical weather conditions, it was a hard race here at Nürburgring, especially because of the high speed during the entire race. Unfortunately, our SLS AMG GT3 had to retire from the race because of an accident. However, at ROWE RACING we are pleased about the third position for our sister car. Thanks to everybody in the team.”
The SLS AMG GT3 with start numbers 1, 14 and 22 quickly established themselves among the top competitors in the beginning of the race. From the first hours until the fall of night, the three race gullwings drove in the top five with constantly fast lap times. This year’s 24-hour race was a commandingly fast race with numerous fights for the lead and narrow distances between the fastest leading vehicles. With 159 laps driven by the winners of positions one and two, a new lap record was achieved.
The SLS AMG GT3 of ROWE RACING with start number 23, driven by Klaus Graf, Jan Seyffarth, Thomas Jäger (all GER) and Richard Göransson (SWE) started the endurance race from position 15 on the grid. Already 30 minutes after the beginning of the race he was hit on the rear left side by another vehicle in a yellow phase on the Nordschleife (“north loop”). The damaged vehicle was repaired by the mechanics and again entered the race. After an impressive catch-up, start number 23 was able to climb up to position eight. Due to another accident in the 23rd hour of the race, the SLS AMG GT3 had to retire from the race.
Start number 14 of Black Falcon started the race from the fourth position on the grid. The driver quartet Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal (KSA), Hubert Haupt (GER), Adam Christodoulou (GBR) and Yelmer Buurman (NED) took over the lead in the twelfth lap but was involved in an accident at night and retired from the race.
Start number 31, the race gullwing of Car Collection Motorsport with the drivers Peter Schmidt, Christian Bracke, Heinz Schmersal and Horst Felbermayr (all GER), started from position 35 but had to retire from the race already in the start phase because of a slip on an oil slick and a resulting collision with another car, which was not self-inflicted.
The endurance classic at Nürburgring takes place annually on the legendary Nordschleife and the Grand Prix track and is considered the biggest race in the world. Altogether 188 race cars started in distinct classes and all 30 GT3 vehicles favored for the overall victory started in the SP9 class.
Overview of the results of the race*:
|1||4||Audi R8 LMS ultra/Phoenix Racing||Christopher Haase, Christian Mamerow, René Rast, Markus Winkelhock|
|2||1||Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3/
|Jeroen Bleekemolen, Andreas Simonsen, Christian Menzel, Lance David Arnold|
|3||22||Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3/
|Michael Zehe, Christian Hohenadel, Nico Bastian, Maro Engel|
|4||44||Porsche 911 GT3 R/Falken Motorsport||Wolf Henzler, Peter Dumbreck, Martin Ragginger, Alexandre Imperatori|
|5||7||Aston Martin Vantage GT3/Aston Martin Racing||Stefan Mücke, Darren Turner, Pedro Lamy|
|6||20||BMW Z4 GT3/BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert||Jens Klingmann, Dominik Baumann, Claudia Hürtgen, Martin Tomczyk|
|7||15||Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3/
|Harold Primat, Maximilian Götz, Kenneth Heyer, Roland Rehfeld|
|8||28||BMW Z4 GT3/Walkenhorst Motorsport powered by Dunlop||Ferdinand Stuck, Maximilian Sandritter, Christopher Brück, Dennis Rostek|
|9||502||Audi R8 LMS ultra/Audi race experience||Felix Baumgartner, Marco Werner, Frank Biela, Pierre Kaffer|
|10||16||Audi R8 LMS ultra||Dennis Busch, Marc Busch, Manuel Lauck, Stefan Landmann|