On Thursday afternoon, the protagonists of the 44th ADAC Zurich 24h Race went out for the first time to complete their preparations. In brilliant sunshine at the 25.378-kilomtere Nordschleife, the AMG-Team Black Falcon’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 with the drivers Hubert Haupt, Yelmer Buurman, Maro Engel and Dirk Müller crossed the line in 8:20.018 minutes, thus setting the fastest lap time of the session. The lead over the second-placed Haribo Racing Team-AMG – also Mercedes-Benz – amounted to 2.118 seconds. Third place on the time sheets was secured by the Audi R8 LMS of Montaplast by Land Motorsport. The fastest works Porsche, (#912 of Manthey Racing) finished seventh, the best BMW was the Rowe Racing BMW M6 GT3 #22 in 12th position.
The first qualifying session will begin at 20:00hrs and end late in the night at 23:30hrs but only the Top 30 Qualifying on Friday evening, from 19:50hrs, will determine the positions on the first 15 rows on the grid.
6 – Haase / Rast / Winkelhock / Stippler (Audi R8 LMS)
16:49hrs Christopher Haase: “We use the practice session to keep on improving the car and working on the setup. But over the years it became a kind of usual that you start pushing as early as in this session.”
9 – Haupt / Buurman / Engel / Müller (Mercedes AMG AMG GT3)
17:31hrs Dirk Müller: “Maro Engels will complete the final laps for us. In the qualifying session we still have to secure the blue light for the Top 30 Qualifying. Apart from that we will focus on the preparations for the race.”
17:34hrs As comparison: the fastest lap time of today – 8:20.018 minutes – still is about 10 seconds slower that the pole time and lap record for this track version set by Kevin Estre in 2014: 8:10.921 minutes.
11 – Ohlsson / Bollrath / Oeverhaus / Hackländer (Audi R8 LMS)
16:52hrs Driving slowly in the Schwalbenschwanz area.
17:01hrs Reason for the limited speed: a tyre puncture at the right front wheel. .
23 – Sims / Eng / Martin / Werner (BMW M6 GT3)
17:18hrs Philipp Eng: “In the early stages we drove only on the GP circuit as we still had to execute some checks on the car. This was the scheduled approach. I’m just back from my first two laps on the Nordschleife. The huge crowd that is already here is pure madness. There was a lot of traffic at the GO circuit but it was okay on the Nordschleife.”
24 – Gassner / Strauß / Coronel / Still (Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3)
17:35hrs Technical failure short before the Klostertal area.
25 – Zoechling / Konrad / Farnbacher / Stolz (Lamborghini Huracan GT3)
16:52hrs Spins in the Ravenol-Kurve area.
67 – Bugs Bunny / Kvitka / Scholze / Schiller (Porsche 991 GT-3 MR)
17:22hrs technical failure and is pushed off the track in the GP-circuit area.
77 – Hertenstein / Preacher / Lungstrass (Aston Martin Vantage V8)
16:46hrs Stops due to technical problems at the exit of the Ford-Kurve.
911 – Tandy / Estre / Bamber / Pilet (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
16:03hrs The team practices changing the brakes. Kevin Estre stays behind the wheel.
16:19hrs The Porsche stands in the garage, with the team working on the setup.
912 – Lietz / Bergmeister / Christensen / Makowiecki (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
16:34hrs Driver change: Richard Lietz for Michael Christensen.
16:37hrs Michael Christensen: “Our 911 GT3 R handles well. Everything works as it should.”
16:55hrs Driver swap: Jörg Bergmeister for Lietz.