The race of the year is on. At 16:00hrs sharp, Race Director Walter Hornung sent the ADAC Zurich 24h-race field into the ‘Green Hell’ for the legendary chase twice around the clock. The first hour was dominated by the two BMWs Z4 GT3 representing the colours of the BMW Sports Trophy Teams Marc VDS and Schubert. The BMWs Z4 GT3 #20, #26 und #19 contested the first stint as synchronised racers until the first pit stop – after about 50 minutes – jumbled the order for the first time. With the first hour contested, Müller / Sims / Werner / Wittmann (BMW Z4 GT3, BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert, #19) held the lead, followed by Bleekemolen / Arnold / Menzel / Brück (Bentley Continental GT3, Bentley Motors Ltd, #84) and Mies / Sandström / Müller / Vanthoor (Audi R8 LMS, Audi Sport Team WRT, #28). Fourth position was held by the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 of Graf / Hohenadel / Bastian / Jäger (ROWE Racing, #23). All the information on the endurance classic in the Eifel is available in the World wide Web at www.24h-rennen.de and live at the German sports channel Sport1.
The first hour of the 43rd ADAC Zurich 24h Race entertained the crowds with a lot of excitement. And although the top teams were racing on the 25.378-kilometre combination of GP circuit and Nordschleife with the gaps between them adding up to just a few metres, there were no incidents worth to be mentioned. “What a great start into the race,” said Claudia Hürtgen, team-mate of DTM ace Martin Tomczyk who was the first driver to race the BMW Z4 GT3 #20. “Martin drove a great first lap and had no problems whatsoever when it came to getting through the traffic. We started into the race in good style – and now we will have to wait and see how things will develop.” Dirk Werner who contested the first stint in the sister car #19, was happy with his seven laps: “I had a lot of fun. This was an exciting opening stage. I could pass the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 driving ahead of me in turn two. From that point in time, we formed the top flight as synchronised triplets – a fantastic stint.”
But of course, the first 60 minutes were just the prelude and the decision still is far, far away. Now, the teams are on the way to racing into the darkness of the night. And when the sun rises again, there still will be another 10 hours to go before you will know the winner, as the race will be finished at 16:00hrs. Meanwhile, thousands of thrilled motor-racing enthusiasts around the most beautiful and challenging racetrack in the world will keep on celebrating – for another 23 hours – the greatest motor-sport party worldwide.