Westphal secures pole position for the 45th ADAC Zurich 24h Race

With a superfast second lap US-American Jeff Westphal sensationally secured the pole position for the 45th edition of the ADAC Zurich 24h Race. Westphal crossed the line in 8:15.427 minute, thus setting the fastest lap time in the Top 30 Qualifying and consequently, the SCG003C #704 will be the pole sitter when the race twice around the clock will be started on Saturday at 15:30hes CEST (14:30hrs BST). Westphal will share row one with his compatriot Connor de Phillippi (8:16.102) who was just 0.675 seconds slower, with his Audi.

“I was really at the limit and had a lot of oversteer,” admitted Westphal. “This was a make-or-break lap. The first lap also was rather good but at some sports it could have been even better.” By setting the fastest lap Westphal also secured the Glickenhaus Trophy. The challenge cup was donated in 2016 by the American movie director James Glickenhaus who also created and established ‘Team Traum Motorsport’. So, the Team Principal had the pleasure to award the trophy to one of his own drivers. “The Nürburgring 24h Race is like Woodstock,” said Glickenhaus. “A Festival of motor racing. And I’m proud that our team becomes a part of this legend, with our pole position.”

The positions on the second row of the grid were secured by Robin Frijns in the WRT-Audi #9 and the Wochenspiegel-Ferrari #22 driver Jochen Krummbach. In fifth and sixth positions, DTM drivers Nico Müller (#10) and Mike Rockenfeller (#5) completed the great manufacturer result for Audi.

Last year’s winner Maro Engel who didn’t drive the Black Falcon #1 but #3, finished seventh in the Top 30 Qualifying, thus being the best Mercedes-AMG driver. Sven Müller was the fastest Porsche driver and finished eight, while Augusto Farfus took the fastest BMW to 10th place. The best Bentley, driven by Christian Mamerow, qualified 13th.

The race twice around the clock will be started on Saturday at 15:30hrs CEST. The fans can watch the action live throughout the race on the Free-to-Air TV station RTL NITRO or – with numerous additional onboard camera perspectives – via the live stream at www.24h-rennen.de.

Top 30 Qualifying: The competitors

The starting order for the 45. ADAC Zurich 24h-Rennen is ready.

Pos. Kl. Competitor Driver Car St.-No.
1 SP9 Audi Sport Team WRT Robin Frijns Audi R8 LMS 9
2 SP9 Falken Motorsports Martin Ragginger Porsche 911 GT3 R 44
3 SP9 ROWE Racing Philipp Eng BMW M6 GT3 99
4 SP9 Haribo Racing Team Mercedes-AMG Maximilian Götz Mercedes-AMG GT3 8
5 SP9 Manthey Racing Fred Makowiecki Porsche 911 GT3 R 911
6 SP9 ROWE Racing Alexander Sims BMW M6 GT3 98
7 SP9-LG Bentley Team Abt Christian Mamerow Bentley Continental GT3 38
8 SP9 Falken Motorsports Stef Dusseldorp BMW M6 GT3 33
9 SP9 Black Falcon Daniel Juncadella Mercedes-AMG GT3 4
10 SP9 Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon Maro Engel Mercedes-AMG GT3 3
11 SP9 Audi Sport Team Land Christopher Mies Audi R8 LMS 28
12 SP9-LG Bentley Team Abt Maxime Soulet Bentley Continental GT3 36
13 SP9 Schubert Motorsport Jens Klingmann BMW M6 GT3 19
14 SP9 Audi Sport Team Land Connor De Phillippi Audi R8 LMS 29
15 SP9 Phoenix Racing Mike Rockenfeller Audi R8 LMS 5
16 SP9 Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon Adam Christodoulou Mercedes-AMG GT3 1
17 SP9 AMG-Team HTP Motorsport Christian Hohenadel Mercedes-AMG GT3 47
18 SP9 BMW Team Schnitzer Marco Wittmann BMW M6 GT3 42
19 SP9 Manthey Racing Sven Müller Porsche 911 GT3 R 59
20 SP9 Manthey Racing Mathieu Jaminet Porsche 911 GT3 R 12
21 SP9 Audi Sport Team WRT Nico Müller Audi R8 LMS 10
22 SP9 Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport Maximilian Buhk Mercedes-AMG GT3 50
23 SP9-LG Bentley Team Abt Christopher Brück Bentley Continental GT3 37
24 SP-X Traum Motorsport Jeff Westphal SCG003C 704
25 SP9 Wochenspiegel Team Monschau Jochen Krumbach Ferrari 488 GT3 22
26 SP9 BMW Team Schnitzer Augusto Farfus BMW M6 GT3 43
27 SP9 Schubert Motorsport GmbH Jesse Krohn BMW M6 GT3 20
28 SP-X Traum Motorsport Felipe Fernandez Laser SCG003C 27
29 SP9 MANN-FILTER Team HTP Motorsport Indy Dontje Mercedes-AMG GT3 48
30 SP9 Frikadelli Racing Michael Christensen Porsche 911 GT3 R 31

News and Quotes second qualifying session

In the final seconds of qualifying session two, Daniel Keilwitz set the fastest lap time with his Wochenspiegel-Ferrari #22. With his 8:14.591-minute lap, the German who alternates in the Cockpit of the Ferrari with Georg, Oliver Kainz and Jochen Krumbach (all Germany) was the absolutely fastest and qualified for the Top 30 Qualifying in superior style. “I really had luck as there was no traffic on my fast lap,” said Keilwitz. “But we know that we are fast and can match the pace of the front-runners. We wouldn’t mind if we could continue like that.” 

The reigning champions – in the Black Falcon Mercedes AMG GT3 #1 – finished second but already were qualified for the Top 30 Qualifying. And earlier, Maro Engel (Monaco) who contests the race in two cars, already qualified the sister car #3 for the time-trial battle for the pole with the third-fastest lap time. In this car he will alternate with Dirk Müller, Thomas Jäger and Jan Seyffarth (all Germany), in #1 he is teamed up with  Adam Christodoulou (UK), Manuel Metzger (Germany) and Yelmer Buurman (Netherlands).

Altogether, there still were 12 positions for the Top 30 Qualifying available and these 12 positions were assigned after the session according to the times set in the two qualifying sessions. The 30 cars that will contest the Top 30 Qualifying also will be equipped with a blue light that will be mounted behind the windscreen and helps the drivers of the slower cars detecting them in the rearview mirrors. The starting order for the Top 30 Qualifying traditionally will be publicly drawn on Friday from 15:00 to 15:40hrs CEST (14:00 to 14:40hrs BST) in the ring°boulevard. And at 19:50hrs CEST, the battle for the pole will be kicked off. The fans can witness the action live at the free-to-air station RTL NITRO or – with numerous additional onboard-camera perspectives – via the live stream at www.24h-rennen.de.

1 – Engel / Christodoulou / Buurman / Metzger (Mercedes-AMG GT3)

09:57hrs First improvement of the fastest lap time by on Friday morning – by last year’s race winners: 8:21.491 minutes.

3 – Müller / Jäger / Engel / Seyffarth (Mercedes-AMG GT3)

10:24hrs New leaders: 8:18.943 minutes

11:29hrs Maro Engel: “I was lucky and found a free lap. The car is really well prepared.”

4 – Haupt / Al Faisal / Stolz / Juncadella (Mercedes-AMG GT3)

10:59hrs Hubert Haupt: “We are really happy. Daniel Juncadella set a very good lap time. We really hope for making it to the Top 30 Qualifying.”

22 – Weiss / Kainz / Keilwitz / Krumbach (Ferrari 488 GT3)

10:49hrs Oliver Kainz: “We are totally happy with the car. But we just were out on the wrong tyres. Now we will change them and then it’s Daniel’s turn.”

33 – Dumbreck / Imperatori / Dusseldorp / Seefried (BMW M6 GT3)

10:48hrs Marco Seefried: “The track feels good and we will have a fast race, We still will sort several bits and bobs out as we arguably will get a really warm race. In all the previous races it was clearly cooler than now and this definitely will be a factor.”

34 – Saurenmann / Rocco / Koch / Slooten (Audi R8 LMS)

09:48hrs Stops just a few metres after having exited the pit-lane due to technical problems.

43 – Farfus / Lynn / Felix Da Costa / Scheider (BMW  M6 GT3)

10:05hrs Schnitzer regains the lead: 8:18.992 minutes

10:34hrs Augusto Farfus: “We still have to qualify our car for the Top 30 Qualifying. And to do so represents our No 1 priority for this session. I hope that the lap time set by us today will be fast enough to do so.”

11:29hrs Martin Tomczyk: “We haven’t driven the car with these tyres in these temperatures. Therefore we want to gather some experiences over the distance, learn more about the tyre’ and what it does if it is taken to this limit. That looked rather good to date and according to the forecasters it will be even warmer, on the coming days.”

99 – Eng / Sims / Martin / Basseng (BMW M6 GT3)

10:00hrs The BMW force strikes back: new fastest lap time: 8:20.893 minutes, 0.598 seconds faster

100 – Krognes / Di Martino / Henkola / Menzel (BMW M6 GT3)

10:38hhrs Crashes into the crash barriers in the area between Metzgesfeld and Kallenhard.

News and quote qualifying one

August Farfus gave BMW Team Schnitzer the provisional pole for the 45th ADAC Zurich 24h Race at the Nürburgring. In the BMW M6 GT3 #43, the Brazilian set the fastest lap time by crossing the line in 8:22.307 minutes. Second position, with a gap of 0.948 second to the quickest, was secured by the Bentley Abt Team #39, followed by the pole-sitters’ sister car, the Schnitzer BMW #42, 1.565 seconds behind the fastest.   

1 – Engel / Christodoulou / Buurman / Metzger (Mercedes-AMG GT3)

21:36hrs Manuel Metzger: “It was a good session and we had fun. The first lap was somewhat difficult as the position of the sun was very low. The situation was better on lap two but now I was hampered by a lot of traffic. Therefore, my first lap was faster. The car felt good . Anything i9s running as planned. We want to make it to the top 30 and should we fail to do so this would be a disappointment.”

4 – Haupt / Al Faisal / Stolz / Juncadella (Mercedes-AMG GT3)

23:01hrs Luca Stolz: “We still had some problems in the free practice session and our main goal was to solve them. Furthermore, we still have to qualify for the Top 30 Qualifying and currently, the situation looks quite promising. But tomorrow we will have to push again to make sure that we really make it.”

20:39hrs The quickest with a 8:29.260-minute lap. Slightly faster than the team-mates in car #1.

5 – Stippler / Rockenfeller / Busch / Moller Madsen (AUDI R8 LMS)

22:37hrs Mike Rockenfeller: “There still is a lot of traffic, out there. Apparently a lot of teams are looking for the racing line in the dark. Our car feels good and we are working on completing our programme.”

8 – Alzen / Arnold / Götz / van der Zande (Mercedes-AMG GT3)

23:17hrs Uwe Alzen: “I completed the two laps I needed to qualify. The track is in a good condition. There were no accidents. We now focus on our preparations for the Top 30 Qualifying as we already are qualified.”

22:18hrs Lance David Arnold: “Our car has been repaired and it’s running well. We now have to adjust the lights and test several other things at night.”

21:16hrs Maximilian Götz on the open bonnet in the closing stages of the session. “This was the result of a minor rear-end collision Uwe Alzen had with a Porsche, a misunderstanding on the GP circuit during an overtaking manoeuvre. The car was slightly compressed and the bonnet opened.” But it wasn’t a major damage and was quickly repaired.”

19 – Klingmann / Müller / Edwards / Onslow – Cole (BMW M6 GT3)

22:10hrs John Edwards: “I didn’t drive in the afternoon and so I drove my first laps at dawn. In these conditions, the Nordschleife is even more special. Altogether, everything was fine. Finally, the preparation time is over and the action is on.”

20 – Krohn / Müller / Spengler / Wittmer (BMW M6 GT3)

22:47hrs Bruno Spengler: “I first of all I had t to carefully approach to racing at night. There was quite a lot if traffic, several yellow flags and Code 60. It was good that I could gather so much night experience.”

22 – Weiss / Kainz / Keilwitz / Krumbach (Ferrari 488 GT3)

22:55hrs The team works on the jacked-up car.

21:54hrs With a 8:23.737-minute lap Jochen Krumbach sets the second-fastest time.

21:06hrs Daniel Keilwitz: “A lot of traffic out there. I think I lost 10 seconds on the GP circuit alone. Now the cars will be spread all over the circuit and so, we all should be able to go faster.”

29 – De Phillippi / Mies / Winkelhock / van der Linde (Audi R8 LMS)

21:30hrs Kelvin van der Linde: “The conditions currently are really nice. Okay, the low position of the sun is slightly disturbing but the track is in a good condition and the temperature is dropping. This means that the tyres will get into a good working frame. We currently are working our race setup and only tomorrow we will go out for a fast qualifying lap.” We made some setup changes that proved to be real improvements. This race with all the fans and camp fires is truly incredible.”

30 – Abbelen / Schmitz / Ziegler / Müller (Porsche 911 GT3 R)

21:28hrs Driver swap: Andreas Ziegler is replaced by Sabine Schmitz.

33 – Dumbreck / Imperatori / Dusseldorp / Seefried (BMW M6 GT3)

23:34hrs The Falken BMW doesn’t meet the minimum height that has been stipulated for this year. The result: a 10-position grid penalty after the qualifying.

37 – Brück / Menzel / Verdonck / Jöns (Bentley Continental GT3)

22:54hrs Christopher Brück: “The conditions aren’t perfect. There is a lot of dirt on the track. Therefore we are slower than in previous races. Tomorrow we should be able to faster as the circuit slowly is getting cleaner.”

21:15hrs Driving slowly at the Döttinger Höhe area

38 – Jöns / Mamerow / Pepper / Brück (Bentley Continental GT3)

21:16hrs Christer Jöns: “I now completed my first multi-lap stint. The conditions were interesting as the sun is just setting. We still have to improve some details.”

42 – Wittmann / Blomqvist / Tomczyk / Farfus (BMW M6 GT3)

21:04hrs 8:23.872 minutes – new fastest lap time Min.

43 – Farfus / Lynn / Felix Da Costa / Scheider (BMW  M6 GT3)

23:29hrs Augusto Farfus has set a new fastest lap time (8:22.307 minutes) that is a 10th of a second faster than the one previously set by his team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa.

23:28hrs Timo Scheider: “We basically are happy with our position. As we have not yet qualified  we now really have to go for it.  And the fact that we did so in the dark is particularly nice. But I think that we will witness several changes in Q2. Antonio set the time on soft tyres. A very good feat for a Nordschleife rookies.”

23:17hrs Takes the lead with an 8:22.402-minute lap.

47 – Asch / Baumann / Hohenadel / Mücke (Mercedes-AMG GT3)

22:19hrs Christian Hohenadel: “We adjusted the headlights and checked if everything is fine. It’s perfect! I now will drive a lap in the dark to prepare myself for the night stints.”

21:53hrs Baumann after his stint: “Unfortunately our right front tyre lost pressure. We still have to find out what happened. We have to adjust the headlights as soon as it’s dark out there.”

48 – Heyer / Schneider / Dontje / Assenheimer (Mercedes-AMG GT3)

22:00hra Kenneth Heyer: “Actually the session was quite good. We are testing two things in today’s qualifying session and one of these two changes already worked really well. We clearly improved our pace and everything is running as scheduled.”

50 – Baumann / Buhk / Mortara / Sandström (Mercedes-AMG GT3)

22:22hrs Edward Sandström: “Driving on the Nordschleife in the dark is really big fun. It’s a privilege to have the chance of driving such a fantastic car on the Nordschleife- Everything went fine in my stint.”

704 – Westphal / Mailleux / Simonsen / Laser (SCG SCG003C)

23:06Uhsr Felipe Laser: “We had to come in for a short unscheduled stop. We currently are trying different brake pads and had to pit to change them, But we will go out again right away

911 – Dumas / Makowiecki / Pilet / Lietz (Porsche 911 GT3 R)

23:15hrs Richard Lietz is replaced by Romain Dumas and say: “Things are running well, so far but it goes without saying that we want to improve consistently. Currently we are still working on the setup – but only on details, After all, every driver is supposed to feel comfortable in the car. Everything making a driver’s life easier is very important.”

Schnitzer BMW # 43 the quickest in qualifying session one

On Thursday evening, BMW Team Schnitzer set the fastest lap time in the first qualifying session for the 45th ADAC Zurich 24h Race. With his BMW M6 GT3 #43 and with just few more minutes to go, Augusto Farfus, in 2010 the first Brazilian to have won the 24h Race, crossed the line in 8:22.307 minutes, thus being a 10th of a second faster than the previous fastest lap time set by his team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa (Portugal). The quartet of 24h-Race record winners Schnitzer that also comprises Timo Scheider (Germany) und Alex Lynn (UK), was nearly a second faster than the Abt Bentley #38 with line-up war Christer Jöns (Germany), Christian Mamerow (Germany), Jordan Lee Pepper (South Africa) and Christopher Brück (Germany) who needed 8:23,255 minutes for their lap.

“Today’s times don’t really mean a lot,” said Farfus. “We now are the fastest with #43 and #42 also is among the fastest. This is okay for today but tomorrow we have to make sure that we will make it to the Top 30 Qualifying what will allow us to battle it out for the pole position.”

With their results, the two fastest cars set course to the Top 30 Qualifying. To date – after the first two VLN rounds and the 24h qualifying race – 18 of the coveted positions for the time-trial battle for the pole and the best grid positions already have been assigned. And one of these cars is the Schnitzer BMW #42 that finished third, tonight and will be raced by reigning DTM Champion Marco Wittmann (Germany), Tom Blomqvist (UK), Martin Tomczyk (Germany) and Augusto Farfus who will drive both Schnitzer coupes. In addition to the right to contest the Top 30 Qualifying, the 30 fastest cars also will be provided a blue light – mounted for the race behind the windscreen – that will help the slower cars detecting them in their rearview mirrors.

On Friday morning, from 09:30 to 11:30 CEST (08:30 to 10:30 BST), the teams will contest the second qualifying session and afterwards, the times set in the two qualifying sessions will be used to determine the order that is needed to assign the positions still available for the Top 30 Qualifying. The starting positions for the Top 30 Qualifying traditionally will be publicly drawn on Friday from 15:00 to 15:40hrs CEST in the ring°boulevard. And then, at 19:50hrs, the 30 fastest cars begin the chase for the pole. The fans can watch the action live on the Free-to-Air TV station RTL NITRO or – with numerous additional onboard cameras – via the live stream at www.24h-rennen.de.

Quotes pre-event press conference PK

Just a short time to go to the 45th ADAC Zurich 24h Race and the pleasant anticipation of the drivers is increasing. This applies in particular to last year’s winner Maro Engel who is going to contest the race in the Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 #1 and already got the goose bumps when travelling to the Nürburgring, this year. “If you leave the Autobahn, come here and see all the camp sites it makes you remember last year. The win in 2016 was the most emotional experience in my motor-racing career,” Engel said at the pre-event press conference on Thursday.

Apart from Engel, who made his DTM comeback, this year, the former DTM Champion and 24h-Race rookie Bruno Spengler (Schubert-BMW M6 GT3 #20), two-time 24h –Race overall winner Christopher Haase (Land-Audi R8 LMS #28) and Sven Müller (Manthey-Porsche 911 GT3R #59) also talked about their preparations for the race and their goals. “I had to learn a lot and this still is the case,” admitted Spengler. “You firstly have to contest a race, here, to really be able to match the pace of the fastest. Meanwhile, Haase is about to contest his 10th 24h Race and also knows the special requirements you have to cope with in a 161-vehicle field. “Finding the balance between overtaking and being patient is difficult,” he said. Müller who was born in Bingen but lives in Mainz looks forward to a lot of support. “I already feel at home in the Eifel and a lot of people from my hometown will come here to watch me racing.”

The press-conference quotes at a glance:
Maro Engel (#1, Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon): “The 24h Race has boosted my career. I got the chance of making my DTM comeback. This demonstrates the significance the race has got in the motor-racing world. The big advantage at Mercedes is our consistent driver line-up. The agreements and the driver swaps in general work really well. Racing together with the colleagues is big fun. For us drivers, assessing the balance of power is extremely difficult – it’s extremely close, this year. To have the chance of winning you have to deliver a perfect race. It will be extremely thrilling.”

Bruno Spengler (#20, Schubert Motorsport): “For me, this year will be a kind of a learning year. But I have got very competitive team-mates who help me to learn well and fast. I’m looking forward to this race and the new experience. Already yesterday the atmosphere was really great, witnessing the enthusiasm of the fans is just fantastic. Therefore, contesting this race will be even bigger fun. Our first goal: to make it to the Top 30 Qualifying. It definitely is an advantage to previously have driven a smaller car on this racetrack as it helps learning to watch your rearview mirrors. I think it’s a good regulation that you have to learn the track within the framework of the Nordschleife Driving Permit.
Switching from a DTM car to a GT vehicle is not so easy. In the beginning, you always brake slightly too late. So, it takes some time to find the rhythm.“

Christopher Haase (# 28, Audi Sport Team Land): “I have contested nine 24h Races and have experienced quite a lot but the weather conditions last year when the race had to be red-flagged for three hours due to torrential rain and hail were new even to me. .
Therefore I hope for nice weather, this year. To learn racing on the Nordschleife you have to begin with smaller cars. With these cars you partly have got a clearly different racing line than with the GT3 racers. Furthermore you also accustom to the partly huge speed differences between the two car categories. To date, I won the race twice, with the old Audi R8. Not I want to make it to the top step for the first time with the new R8. But achieving this goal won’t be easy as the competition is strong.

Sven Müller (#59, Manthey Racing): “I truly am looking forward to the Nürburgring 24h Race. Thanks to the preparations in the VLN races and at Daytona our team has developed very strong bonds and we are able to really depend on one another. As the Nordschleife is really special and I already raced GT3 cars in the VLN, adapting wasn’t particularly difficult for me. I’m coming from Mainz and feel really at home, in the Eifel. And there are lot of people from my hometown who will travel to ‘The Ring’ to watch me racing. But I wouldn’t call the 24h Race as my home race. There are a lot of other drivers who have covered far more kilometres at the Nordschleife. I’m really proud of being part of such a successful team as Manthey Racing.”

Free practice session: Land Audi R8 LMS #29 sets the first fastest lap tim

On Thursday afternoon, the 45th ADAC Zurich 24h Race  was officially kicked off with the first free practice session. The first fastest lap time on the combination of GP circuit and Nordschleife was set by the Land-Audi R8 LMS #29.

On their fastest lap, Connor de Phillippi (USA), Christopher Mies (Heiligenhaus), Kelvin van der Linde (South Africa) and Markus Winkelhock (Berglen-Steinach) crossed the line in 8:19.006 minutes, thus being more than six seconds faster than their second-placed fellow Audi drivers in the R8 LMS #1, entered by Audi Sport Team WRT. Nico Müller (Switzerland), Rene Rast (Frankfurt/Main), Frank Stippler (Bad Münstereifel) and Frederic Vervisch (Belgium) set a lap time of 8:25.143 minutes. Third place on the time sheets was secured in 8:26.440 minutes by the Falken-Porsche #44, raced by Laurens Vanthor (Belgium), Martin Ragginger (Austria), Jörg Bergmeister (Langenfeld) and Dirk Werner (Würzburg).

“I still opted for a relaxed approach as it was just the free practice session,” said van der Linde who set the fastest lap time with the Audi #29. “Now I hope for a good result in the qualifying session.” From 20:05hrs to 23:30hrs CEST (19:05hrs to 22:30hrs BST) the teams will go out for the first qualifying session and on Friday morning, after the second qualifying session ( 09:30 to 11:30hrs CEST) the last 12 competitors for the Top 30 Qualifying will have been found. And in this session, the 30 participating vehicles will battle it out for the pole and the positions on the first 15 rows on the grid.

BMW Schnitzer: Comeback of the record winners

The 2017 ADAC Zurich 24h Race will bring back a tradition-rich battle: Team Schnitzer makes its 24h-Race comeback as BMW works squad and will have to compete with Manthey-Racing, one the most tradition-rich Porsche squads. Both teams have won the legendary endurance race five times, to date and so, another win would mean to take the sole lead in this ranking. For five years Schnitzer was absent but now the Bavarians are back at the Nordschleife to contest the race with two BMWs BMW M6 GT3: a combination that makes every pundit click his tongue. But following their win in the two VLN races held in the run-up to the 24h Race, Manthey are among the top favourites. And so, the 2017 24h Race also will be the battle of the titans. 

Schnitzer celebrated five Nürburgring 24h-Race wins to date, the first back in 1989. To remind of this triumph, one of Schnitzer’s M6 GT3 vehicles will contest the race in the striking livery featuring of those days, featuring three coloured stripes. And the drivers of the car represent a mix of drivers with a lot of Nordschleife experience (Augusto Farfus, Timo Scheider) and Nordschleife rookies (Antonio Felix Da Costa and Alex Lynn). ”The car looks just great,” beamed Farfus, “When I was a little boy and saw a car with this livery I  knew it’s a BMW racing car.”

The BMW M3 E30 – small but competitive

Charly Lamm already was the Schnitzer Team Principal when the squad secured its maiden 24h-Race win and he loves to remember the BMW M3 E30 the team raced with in those days. “It was a small car with a small engine but a true driving machine,” he said. “When it comes to the horsepower we were inferior to our rivals, such as Ford, Volvo, Jaguar or Rover. But the M3 was on its first lap as fast as on its last. The tyres didn’t degrade and it didn’t consume a lot of fuel. Therefore, we could drive long stints and win the race twice.” And  with Roberto Ravaglia, Emanuele Pirro and Fabien Giroix the team could rely on an extremely competitive driver line-up.

Later, Schnitzer opted for a first multi-year break but from 2003 to 2005 they were back  with the M3 GTR (E46) and celebrated another two 24h-Race wins. Five years later the Bavarian squad contested their next. Brazil’s Augusto Farfus who also is a member of this year’s driver line-up, recalls the year 2010: “We won the race in my first year, in the second we came twice.”

First appearance with a GT3 vehicle

Now Schnitzer returns to the Nordschleife but despite all the successes they rather feel like rookies: “In the few weeks since we are back we had to realise that quite a lot of things have changed,” admits Charly Lamm. The main difference is the GT3 category. “Yes, we have won several editions of the race but a lot of time has gone by since 2011. So yes, we have got a certain level of experience but we also are rookies. After all it’s the first time that we will contest the race with a GT3 vehicle.”

Clever race tactic will be crucial

What will be necessary to add another win to the team’s tally? The Nordschleife and its special characteristics always are of major significance. “The circuit actually is the same,” says Lamm, “The few changes aren’t worth mentioning. But the Nordschleife is a mystery – it’s length and its environment, such as the weather, turn the races here into extremely difficult challenges. “And so, you have to know all the secrets and challenges of the circuit to incorporate them into your operative business.“ Team Schnitzer contested two VLN rounds and a test at the Nordschleife, with the BMW M6 GT3, and still are on the way to getting to know the car. And in addition there is the balance of performance the team has to cope with for the first time. “I don’t know if its boon or bane,”  Lamm says laughing. “The fans are provided a well-balanced field but it’s virtually impossible to open a gap on your rivals. Now it’s important to find your rhythm right at the start and to be one of the front-runners and outpace your rivals as soon as a situation such as a fast driver or the perfect tyre choice or the night offers you the chance of doing so.”

Farfus: “Winning here is more difficult than at Le Mans” 

Meanwhile, the drivers also think about the challenge to come: “The 24h Race has turned into a sprint race,” explains Augusto Farfus. “In the past it was enough to just battle your way through and make it to the finish line and you secured one of the top positions. There is no safety-car and this means that every lost second really is lost. Winning here is more difficult than winning at Le Mans. The circuit is a massive challenge. There are more vehicles and you have to push all the time.”

The drivers: a mix of old hands and young guns 

Antonio Felix da Costa is one of the drivers who will race the BMW with the historic livery and at the same time, it will be his first Nürburgring 24h Race. “I already race for Schnitzer in DTM and it’s just fantastic that I also will race for them at ‘The Ring’,” beams the Portuguese “It won’t be easy for us as Alex Lynn and I are Nordschleife rookies. But on the other hand, Augusto Farfus und Timo Scheider have got a lot of experience.” Farfus even regards the mix as an advantage. “They will opt for a more open approach. As experienced drivers you are so accustomed to everything that you won’t come up with new ideas. The rookies, however, possibly will.”

Top-class grid for the race of the year

Now it’s official: the grid for the 2017 ADAC Zurich 24h Race will feature more top-class competitors than virtually ever. The entry list comprises more than 150 teams and more than 30 of them registered for the top categories of the potential winners.  Therefore, the entry list of these categories is tantamount to the who-is-who of the endurance, GT and touring-car racing aces. Audi, Bentley, BMW, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche all send their works drivers to the race of the year, among them numerous DTM aces, 24h-Race winners and sports-car specialists. Meanwhile, the race also will be contested by costumer teams of these brands as well as by prototype squads representing Ferrari and Renault. They all will be welcomed by more than 200,000 spectators who travelled to the Eifel to witness them racing on the Ascension weekend (25th to 28th May) on the combination of the Nürburgring’s GP circuit and the Nordschleife. They all will be fighting for one of the most coveted trophy available in international endurance racing. And this year, the event features an additional highlight: two rounds of the World Touring Car Championship, WTCC, that will be contested on Saturday, right before the start of the 24h race.  Furthermore, the ‘Rockfestival of Car Racing’ also will entertain the visitors from Wednesday by numerous support-programme highlights aloof from the track.

Predicting a real favourite for this year’s edition of the 24h race is virtually impossible. The grid features just too many squads with top-class drivers, perfectly-practiced racing crews and cars that have got what it takes to win. The defending champions of course will contest the race with the #1 on their car: with Maro Engel, Manuel Metzger and Adam Christodoulou, three of last year’s overall winners are going to once again contest the race for Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon. And they will be joined by a new team-mate, Dutchman Yelmer Buurman. Meanwhile, the other Mercedes-AMG GT3 vehicles that will be entered – apart from Black Falcon – by HTP Motorsport und Team Haribo also will be raced by DTM and sports-car aces as well as Nordschleife specialists. “As I see it, the Nürburgring 24h Race is the toughest and most gruelling car race in the world,” says Maro Engel.” More than 30 potential race winners on the grid combined with the most demanding and coolest racetrack on our planet. The reception by spectators, drivers, teams and manufacturers demonstrates the outstanding significance of this race. I think that winning the Nürburgring 24h Race is tougher than winning the Le Mans 24h Race. There they have got just a handful of race-win contenders.”

Competitive teams on the grid
The challengers also are well prepared for their campaign to steal the win from the Mercedes-AMG squads. Audi, for instance, will represented by works drivers racing for Team WRT and Land Motorsport, with further R8 LMS vehicles being entered by very competitive customer teams. And by their win in the 24h qualifying race, local heroes Phoenix Racing also must be regarded as one of the top favourites. Meanwhile, BMW also do their very best to cement their position as most successful brand in the 24h-Race history. Since the maiden edition of the race, back in 1970, the Munich based brand celebrated 19 overall wins and this year, Schubert Motorsport and Rowe Racing are supposed to make it 20. And don’t forget the most successful 24h-Race team that is back after a five-year break: Schnitzer. In the fight for the lead in the all-time record list the Bavarian team also will have to battle it out with their direct rivals in the fight for this title: like Schnitzer, Manthey Racing also secured fiver overall wins to date and with its Porsches 911 GT3 R that are raced by works drivers they definitely represent a force that has got what it takes to become a factor. A fact that has been demonstrated by their two wins in the two 2017 VLN (Endurance Championship Nürburgring) rounds contested to date. Also representing the Porsche colours will be Falken Motorsport and Frikadelli Racing, two teams that demonstrated more than once that they are among the fastest when it comes to racing at the Nordschleife.

Top favourites under pressure
And even beyond the ‘Big Four’ the 2017 Nürburgring 24h-Race entry list is peppered with top-class teams that are determined to give the apparently superior works squads the hardest possible time. The squad around James Glickenhaus, for instance, that will contest the race with two SCG009c prototypes under the team name ‘Traum Motorsport’ did particularly well in the qualifying race. Only a technical failure stopped the team on the way to its first triumph. At the same time, Bentley also is very competitive. Yes, it has to be admitted that the Bentley is the concept-wise oldest GT3 on the grid but entered by Abt and raced by outstanding drivers, the brawny Briton was among the front runners, in the qualifying race. There it also had to compete with independently entered GT3 Ferrari from Switzerland that also will be back for the 24h Race. A glance at the ‘smaller’ categories demonstrates that these classes also feature a lot of top-class team, drivers and cars. Numerous independent cars will fight with one another in the cup classes and entertain the fans with thrilling battles. But there also will be works teams racing in these categories. For instance in the booming GT4 class that is contested by Aston Martin with a works squad while Audi’s R8 is making its debut. Meanwhile, several brands are contesting the event in the production-car category: Hyundai and Subaru are racing in the SP3T and Toyota Gazoo in the SP3 to possibly secure the class win.

WTCC promises top-class entertainment
The fans will be provided a first true highlight even before the ADAC Zurich 24h Race will be started on Saturday afternoon: the World Touring Car Championship, WTCC, once again will contest two championship rounds on the combination of Grand Prix circuit and Nordschleife, with the World Championship even making an exception, for the event at the planet’s most legendary circuit: for once, both races will feature the same distance.  The race distance of both races amounts to three laps and they only will be interrupted by a short repair break. Once again, the WTCC drivers will be joined by their European Touring Car Cup (ETCC) colleagues who will contest the race in an extra starting group. Particularly thrilling: who will follow in the footsteps of Citroën who dominated the Nordschleife action in 2016? Following the retirement of the French manufacturer as works squad, Honda and Volvo Polestar currently have been dominating the World Championship season so far.

Fantastic programme for the fans
Not only the teams, drivers and organisers already have got tingling sensations in the run-up to the 24h Race for quite a while. The visitors also have completed their preparations to once again let the event develop its legendary independent aloof-from-the-track life. On the race weekend the circuit is surrounded by barbecues galore and the countless small and bigger fan groups try to outperform one another with the fanciful presentation of their independent motor-racing festivals. And exactly these enthusiasts are the ones the organisers once again have got numerous highlights for: at the racetrack they will not only witness the two WTCC rounds and the 24h Race but also the classic cars and the younger classic cars of the ‘ADAC Tourenwagen Classic’ as well as the Audi Sport TT Cup makes-cup racers. And the event traditionally will be kicked off on Thursday morning by the RCN (Rundstrecken Challenge Nürburgring) performance exams. Aloof from the track, the action even begins a day earlier: during the ‘Adenauer Racing Day’, fans and drivers traditionally meet on Wednesday afternoon in the heart of the motor-racing city located next to ‘The Ring’. On Thursday, the ring°boulevard hosts the official autographing session. Here, many exhibitors make for an attractive programme and provide information, merchandise products and far more throughout the weekend. In the evening, the 24h-Race night qualifying will fascinate the visitors. The Friday programme features – apart from the first race of the weekend – the crucial qualifying sessions for the WTCC and 24-Race grid positions. The positions on the first 15 rows of the latter will be determined in the evening, in the spectacular Top 30 time trial. A perfect start into the party evening that later will be continued with the pit walk of the fans and the ‘Falken Drift Show’ in the Müllenbachschleife. So, there definitely will be a reason to get bored – and even less so as there is quite a number of further attractions, such as the fan area in the historic paddock. Here, Red Bull entertains the visitors with a motorbike stunt-rider show and Stihl Timbersports with sports wood-chopping. In addition, Falken lets the visitors feel the speed in their drifting taxis and Red Bull are once again active for the fans: this year, the energy-drink takes the Drift Brothers – on Friday and Saturday – to the Nordschleife where they will make the tires smoke on the spectator hot spots of the circuit several times.

Advance-booking tickets available
Those who don’t want to buy their ADAC Zurich 24h-Race tickets only after having arrived at ‘The Ring’ also can purchase them in advance. To do so, just call the ticket hotline +49 (0)180 6 570070. Or you book your tickets online at www.eventim.de or www.nuerburgring.de.

Winners’ press-conference quotes

An amazing race that will be remembered for a long time. Please find below what the drivers of the top-placed teams in the 44th ADAC Zurich 24h Race had to say.

Maro Engel (Winner): “To have won this 24h race means a huge dream come true. It’s just incredible to be sitting here and celebrate the win with these three guys. I’m truly overwhelmed. I have been pushing to the max all the time but there was so much traffic. I came close to despairing. But then I was offered the chance. I exited the Dunlop Kehre on a better line and also was faster in the Schumacher-S and so I was right behind him. I think Christian also was aware of the situation. I assume that he looked into his rear-view mirror. He had the possibility to close the door at the inside – but he didn’t and moved to the right, instead. That was my possibility to brake into the inside. I was aware that if I was going to make a move it had to be a clear move. This meant that I had to put my car completely next to his – and I did so. Then, when I was next to Christian, he turned in and hit me at the rear area of my fender. I can understand his disappointment. Had I lost the race win on the final lap I also would feel sad. Chris and Renger are good friends of mine. I’m really sorry. But I think they knew that I would try to make a move, being that close behind. There was no order to try not

Adam Christodoulou (Winner): “To have won with the entire team is just incredible. When Maro passed Christian I shouted so loud that my voice is nearly gone, now. We demonstrated that you always should give your very best and push to the very end. Finally all the perseverance and all the work of the past years have paid of.”

Manuel Metzger (Winner): “The VLN title already was outstanding but to be here, in the 24h Race, on the top step is just incredible. I’m really proud that the team put its trust in me, thus allowing me to demonstrate what I’m able to achieve. The key to the success this time was the reliability of the entire team.”

Bernd Schneider (Winner): “The competition was clearly tougher than last year. Just take a look at what was going on in the Top 30 Qualifying. The lap times an cornering speeds were just incredible, this time. The work with the team was huge fun. As we weren’t too successful, in 2015, everybody all the teams collaborated to the max, this year. In the race however, it was every team for itself. It’s easy to understand that the team that didn’t win is disappointed but if you see a chance of clinching the win you just have to make use of it. This will be my arguably last win. It was an incredibly tough race. With five perfectly prepared cars, Mercedes-AMG was extremely competitive as team. And the brand-internal competition represented an additional motivation.”

Christian Vietoris (second): “We are truly disappointed to have lost the 24h-Race win on the final lap. We always were among the front-runners. Surviving the opening stages unharmed already represented an achievement. After the retirement of our sister car, we were supported by the entire team. The last hour was truly nerve-wracking. I’m just proud of being part of this team. Currently, the disappointment predominates but now I’m going to sleep and next week, I will travel fully motivated to the DTM race meeting at the Lausitzring.”

Lance David Arnold (Third): “The fact that everybody was racing the same material and all the teams could rely on the services of a top-class driver line-up made thinks so much more difficult. every driver line-up was. To overtake somebody who is as good as you as a driver and races the same car actually is virtually impossible. But joking aside, the performance of our Mercedes-AMG GT3 racers was just great. And the fact that the major part of our competitors eliminated themselves definitely also represented an advantage for us. The car ran flawlessly to the chequered flag – just great.”

Maximilian Götz (third): “Haribo did a fantastic job. We held the first and second positions for a long time. Lance had a close encounter with an Audi in the night but this didn’t mean a disadvantage for us. It was great to see that we partly were able to really outpace the others.”

Jan Seyffarth (Third): “This race will make history for two reasons: the closest finish and the earliest red-flag period. In such a situation, you of course think about the spectators that are camping out there for a week. We had a tough time in those difficult conditions. That alone is a reason to be happy about having come through. The guys and girls that stuck the 24 hours out – in rain, hail and everything else they had to cope with – deserve my full respect. They are the true motor-racing enthusiasts, that is the Nürburgring. That’s why the people come here and that’s why we produce this show.”

Uwe Alzen (Third): “We are extremely proud of finally having made it to the podium. Thanks to the entire Haribo squad that did a perfect job – just as my team-mates that drove flawlessly throughout the race. We have been among the top three for 20, actually even for 24 hours. We all had a lot of fun and cooperated really well. To have made it to the podium in the end was a great reward. I hope that we will continue to possibly also contest the 2017 edition with two cars.”

Mercedes one-two-three-four in the Eifel

Great moment for Mercedes-Benz Eifel. In the memorable 44th ADAC Zurich Mercedes-AMG, the Stuttgarters celebrated a one-two-three-four, spiced up by a last-minute win. In the end, the AMG-Team Black Falcon #4 raced by Bernd Schneider, Maro Engel, Adam Christodoulou and Manuel Metzger won the race after 3,400.65 kilometres with a 5.697 second lead, followed by another three Mercedes-AMG GT3 vehicles. With a fantastic final spurt, Maro Engel passed the previously leading Christian Hohenadel in the HTP Mercedes AMG GT3 #29 with a tough move on the GP circuit to then defend the lead and secure the closest win in the 47 years of the event’s history by defending the lead until he took the chequered. So, Hohenadel and his team-mates, Christian Vietoris, Marco Seefried and Renger van der Zande, had to settle for finishing second. Information on the 24h Race at www.24h-rennen.de.

In front of 185,000 spectators, Mercedes did not only celebrate their second 24h-race success after 2013 but also clinched the best result for a manufacturer since BMW secured all the six top positions in 1998. Behind the four Mercedes-AMG vehicles, BMW (fifth), Bentley (seventh), Audi (eighth) and Porsche (ninth) four other manufacturers also made it to the top 10.

Second triumph for Bernd Schneider
“Incredible that Maro succeeded in making it. I’m lost for words. A just phenomenal feeling. I hadn’t believed that we would be able to turn the table. But I think we deserved it. We had a good race from the lights to the flag. I am giddy with excitement,” said the DTM Record Champion following his second 24h-Race success after 2013. Three years ago, he also won the race with Black Falcon. And now, Mr DTM and his colleagues – and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 – added a second triumph to the one secured in 2013 with the predecessor, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3.

For a long time, the HTP squad succeeded in avoiding getting involved in any battles or critical situations. But a final pit stop with some 9:30 minutes to go cost them the oh so close win in the legendary endurance race. Hohenadel who drove their final stint succeeded in rejoining the race a few seconds ahead of Engle but wasn’t able to fend his pressurising fellow Mercedes-Benz driver off.

Third position was secured by the Haribo Racing vehicle #88 raced by Uwe Alzen, Lance David Arnold, Maximilian Götz and Jan Seyffarth and the second Black-Falcon car (#9) that was raced by Engel, Hubert Haupt, Yelmer Buurman and Dirk Müller came fourth. .

For the major part of the race, the Mercedes armada was involved in a brand-internal battle for the race win. 32 times, the previous leader was stolen the lead. And the two BMW M6 GT3 run by Rowe Racing and driver Markus Palttala as well as Schubert Motorsport with driver Jörg Müller as well as a Manthey Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by Fred Makowiecki were the only race leaders without a star.

Rain and hail force the race control to red-flag the race
But all the drivers and fans also will remember the 2016 edition of the endurance classic due to the thunderstorm on Saturday, short after the start. Within a few minutes, rain and hail turned the track into a slide and consequently in to a big car park. As the safety of the drivers couldn’t be guaranteed and even 500bhp racing cars weren’t able to go uphill on the partly glassy track, Race Director Warter Hornung made the only appropriate decision: to red-flag the race. But despite numerous incidents in the minutes before this decision, nobody was hurt. More than an hour went by before all the cars were back in the pits and some three hours until the race could be restarted.

 

News and Quotes 14:30 to 15:30hrs

The battle for the 2016 ADAC Zurich 24h-Race title was taken down to the final metres. In the end, the AMG-Team Black Falcon won the race with its Mercedes-AMG GT3 #4 by crossing the line just 5.697 minutes ahead of the sister car #29 run by HTP-Motorsport.

1 – Vanthoor / Mies / Müller / Kaffer (Audi R8 LMS)
13:57hrs Driver swap. Nico Müller for Christopher Mies.

2 – Leonard / Frijns / Sandström / Vervisch (Audi R8 LMS)
13:56hrs Driver swap: Stuart Leonard for Robin Frijns.

4 – Schneider / Engel / Christodoulou / Metzger (Mercedes AMG GT3)
14:37hrs Pit stop for driver swap: Engel for Schneider.
14:43hrs Bernd Schneider: “What a weird race: I never witnessed a race having to be red-flagged due to hail. And the conditions also were tough apart from that. The final spurt will be really close, for us. Due to an unscheduled schedule we are in a rhythm that will be unfavourable, in the final hour.”
15:31hrs Maro Engel takes the lead with an uncompromising move in the Ravenol-Kurve.

5 – Stippler / Fjordbach / Mortara / Meyr-Melnhof (Audi R8 LMS)
13:44hrs Accident in the Hohe Acht area.

9 – Haupt / Buurman / Engel / Müller (Mercedes AMG GT3)
14:13hrs Pits for tyres and fuel.

16 – Busch / Busch / Mamerow / Rast (Audi R8 LMS)
15:05hrs The Twin Busch Audi also comes in for the final pit stop.

23 – Sims / Eng / Martin / Werner (BMW M6 GT3)
14:29hrs ROWE also comes in for a last scheduled pit stop. Dirk Werner for Maxime Martin.
14:37hrs Maxime Martin: So far, so good. A pity that we had these problems in the early stages as we certainly would have been able to match the pace of the Mercedes vehicles or even battle it out for the win. Now it’s all about defending our position.”

29 – Vietoris / Seefried / Hohenadel / Van der Zande (Mercedes AMG GT3)
14:11hrs Scheduled pit stop after nine-lap stint. .
15:17hrs Nail biter for the leaders. The team isn’t sure if the fuel will be enough and calculates if the car has to be called in for a splash ‘n dash.
15:20hrs The Mercedes has to pit again indeed.
15:21hrs Rejoins the race.

33 – Ziegler / Saurenmann / Schmidt (Audi R8 LMS)
14:27hrs Peter Schmidt for Ronnie Saurenmann.

37 – Jöns / Kane / Holzer / Brück (Bentley Continental GT3)
15:03hrs Marco Holzer to contest the final stint in the white Bentley.

38 – Brück / Menzel / Smith / Hamprecht (Bentley Continental GT3)
15:03hrs Last pit stop. Christopher Brück to contest the final stint.

44 – Dumbreck / Henzler / Ragginger / Imperatori (Porsche 991 GT3R)
14:26hrs Peter Drumbeck for Martin Ragginger for the final stint.

75 – Heyer / Asch / Ludwig / Keilwitz (Mercedes AMG GT3)
15:19hrs In the battle for sixth position, the lead of the Zakspeed-Mercedes-AMG over the Bentley #38 amounts to just 10.281 seconds.

88 – Alzen / Arnold / Götz / Seyffarth (Mercedes AMG GT3)
14:37hrs Alzen for Arnold for the final stint.

News and quotes 12:30 to 14:30hrs

The trilling showdown of the 44th ADAC Zurich 24h Race is in the offing. Apparently, only the four Mercedes-AMG racers that dominated the race action for the biggest part of the previous 23 action have the chance of winning the race: HTP-Motorsport (#29), Haribo-Racing (#88) and the Black Falcons #4 and #9. But behind them, the competitors still are waiting four their chances of spoiling the party for the Stuttgarters: the fastest BMW M6 GT3 (#23) holds fifth position, the Bentley Continental GT3 #38 follows in sixth.

1 – Vanthoor / Mies / Müller / Kaffer (Audi R8 LMS)
13:57hrs Driver swap, Nico Müller for Christopher Mies

2 – Leonard / Frijns / Sandström / Vervisch (Audi R8 LMS)
13:04hrs Driver swap. Robin Frijns for Frederic Vervisch
13:56hrs Driver swap: Stuart Leonard for Robin Frijns.

4 – Schneider / Engel / Christodoulou / Metzger (Mercedes AMG GT3)
12:45hrs Lap 114: the Black Falcon Mercedes is 27 seconds faster than race leader ’29.
14:27hrs The Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 takes the lead on lap 125

5 – Stippler / Fjordbach / Mortara / Meyr-Melnhof (Audi R8 LMS)
13:06hrs Pit stop for slicks.
13:11hrs Driver swap. Frank Stippler takes over
13:44hrs Accident at the Hohe Acht.

9 – Haupt / Buurman / Engel / Müller (Mercedes AMG GT3)
13:13hrs Pits for fuel and fresh tyres. No driver swap.
14:13hrs Pits for fuel and fresh tyres.

16 – Busch / Busch / Mamerow / Rast (Audi R8 LMS)
13:07hrs Switches from wets to slicks. Driver swap. Dennis Busch for Chris Mamerow.

21 – Weiss / Kainz / Krumbach / Stursberg (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
12:41hrs 30-second time penalty for pit-lane speeding.

23 – Sims / Eng / Martin / Werner (BMW M6 GT3)
12:51hr In the previous lap, the currently fifth-placed car was a massive 50 seconds faster than the race leaders.
13:21hrs Pits for fuel, tyres and driver swap: Martin for Sims. Sims: “With the line being completely dry, slicks aren’t a problem. There’s a Code 60 out there and therefore, the lap times are so high.”
14:29hrs Another scheduled pit stop. Dirk Werner for Maxime Martin.

29 – Vietoris / Seefried / Hohenadel / Van der Zande (Mercedes AMG GT3)
12:52hrs Pits as scheduled after a nine-lap stint. Hohenadel for Van der Zande.
14:06hrs New fastest lap time on lap 123: 8.19,788 minutes
14:11hrs Scheduled pit stop after a nine-lap stint.

33 – Ziegler / Saurenmann / Schmidt (Audi R8 LMS)
14:27hrs Peter Schmidt replaces Ronnie Saurenmann for the final stint.

44 – Dumbreck / Henzler / Ragginger / Imperatori (Porsche 991 GT3R)
14:26shr Final scheduled pit stop. Peter Dumbreck for Martin Ragginger for the final stint.

65 – Kroner / Schuhbauer / Dr. Bez / Neuser (Aston Martin Vantage V12)
13:14hrs Driver swap, Heinz-Jürgen Kroner for Wolfgang Schuhbauer

701 – Lauck / Mailleux / Bleekemolen / Laser (SCG SCG003C)
13:35hrs Bad crash in the Metzgesfeld area. Driver okay.

News and quotes 10:30 to 12:30hrs

The fight for the overall win in the 44th ADAC Zurich 24h-Rennen is heating up. While it seems to be sure that a Mercedes will win the race it is absolutely impossible to predict which of the four leading Mercedes-AMG GT3 racers will make it to the top step. The Haribo-Team (#88) lost valuable time due to a time penalty for a yellow-flag infringement, with HTP-Motorsport benefiting from the incident. With 112 laps completed, #29 now holds the lead. The two Black Falcon sister cars follow 2:09.026 minutes (#4) and 2:56,146 minutes (#9) behind, with Haribo being fourth. But the rain that begins to fall stronger keeps the hopes of the competitors alive. The Rowe Racing BMW M6 GT3 #23 still holds fifth position and behind it, the fastest Audi R8 LMS #5 follows in sixth. And the Bentley Continental GT3 #38 in seventh increases the brand variety at the front end of the field.

1 – Vanthoor / Mies / Müller / Kaffer (Audi R8 LMS)
10:58hrs Kaffer for Vanthoor.
Vanthoor. A good stint. I slightly pushed in the dry to set a fast lap time. Later, in the rain, it wasn’t that easy. Taking more risks now wouldn’t give us anything.”
12:25hrs Christopher Mies for Pierre Kaffer:

2 – Leonard / Frijns / Sandström / Vervisch (Audi R8 LMS)
10:33hrs Crash at Eschbach, continues.
10:42hrs The Audi R8 LMS is pushed into the garage. The team wants to check the suspension geometry. In addition, the front is repaired.
11:24hrs Frederic Vervisch for Edward Sandström.

4 – Schneider / Engel / Christodoulou / Metzger (Mercedes AMG GT3)
10:49hrs Metzger for Christodoulou.
12:06hrs Scheduled stop. Manuel Metzger continues.

5 – Stippler / Fjordbach / Mortara / Meyr-Melnhof (Audi R8 LMS)
10:34hrs Switches like numerous other teams to intermediates.
11:40hrs Frank Stippler for Edoardo Mortara.

9 – Haupt / Buurman / Engel / Müller (Mercedes AMG GT3)
11:04hrs With 9:08 minutes the currently fastest in the field.
11:51hrs Maro Engel who was replaced by Dirk Müller reports: “My stint was fun. The rain made the racing slightly trick but we still had a lot of grip. I think we were able to again gain some ground.”

11 – Ohlsson / Bollrath / Oeverhaus / Hackländer (Audi R8 LMS)
12:19hrs Crash in the Schwalbenschwanz area, continues.

16 – Busch / Busch / Mamerow / Rast (Audi R8 LMS)
12:25hrs Pit stop: Switch to wets. Christian Mamerow continues.

18 – Farfus / Krohn / Müller / Wittmann (BMW M6 GT3)
11:03hrs Augusto Farfus: “The blown engine yesterday evening hurt badly. We held the lead and were really quick. And we still are that quick. A huge compliment to the entire Schubert squad. The guys put the disappointment away and worked through the night to again get the car ready to race. As I see it, they are the real heroes.”

21 – Weiss / Kainz / Krumbach / Stursberg (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
11:58hrs 52.6-second stop-and-go penalty for undercutting the minimum pit-stop time.

29 – Vietoris / Seefried / Hohenadel / Van der Zande (Mercedes AMG GT3)
11:29hrs Renger van der Zande pits from the lead for tyres and fuel. Continues.

29 – Vietoris / Seefried / Hohenadel / Van der Zande (Mercedes AMG GT3)
12:24hrs The HTP-Mercedes-AMG GT3 regains the lead.

42 – Cate / Dr. Kamelger / Turner / Guelden (Aston Martin Vantage GT8)
12:23hrs Accident in the Kesselchen.

44 – Dumbreck / Henzler / Ragginger / Imperatori (Porsche 991 GT3R)
12:00hrs Pits for tyres and fuel. No driver swap.
12:03hrs Pit stop for tyres and fuel. Driver swap – Ragginger for Henzler.

65 – Kroner / Schuhbauer / Dr. Bez / Neuser (Aston Martin Vantage V12)
10:32hr Dr Ulrich Bez for Heinz-Jürgen Kroner.
12:16hrs Wolfgang Schuhbauer for Dr Ulrich Bez.

75 – Heyer / Asch / Ludwig / Keilwitz (Mercedes AMG GT3)
11:50hrs Luca Ludwig for Daniel Keilwitz. Kellwitz on his stint: “It wasn’t easy. I had a lot of yellow-flag periods in my first stint. After the pit stop the rain began to fall and so, every single lap proved to be a challenge. But we opted for continuing on slicks and doing so was the right decision. We also opted for slick for our current stint as the circuit is nearly completely dry.”

88 – Alzen / Arnold / Götz / Seyffarth (Mercedes AMG GT3)
11:07hrs 1:32-minute time penalty for having ignored yellow flags and a Code 60 zone.
11:08hrs Pit stop for tyres and fuel. The car is shod with slicks. No driver swap, Götz continues.
12:10hrs In for the scheduled pit stop and the time penalty.
12:14hrs Lance David Arnold for Maximilian Götz. Fuel, fresh tyres and Gaffa tape for the front.

101 – Henkola / Yamauchi / Sandritter / Richardson (BMW M6 GT3)
11:52hrs Scheduled pit stop. Henkola continues.

912 – Lietz / Bergmeister / Christensen / Makowiecki (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
10:41hrs Michael Christensen stopped the car. No propulsion and the engine also refuses to start.
10:51hrs Reason for the early retirement: damage in the drive-train area. Michael Christensen: “All of a sudden I had no more power and then, the engine wouldn’t start again. So I only could park the car. Very disappointing as we possibly could have gained ground in the rain.”

999 – Bouveng / Blomqvist / Krognes / Di Martino (BMW M6 GT3)
11:51hrs Pit stop with drivers swap: Bouveng for Di Martino.