Provisional pole for last year’s winners

In the first qualifying session for the 44th ADAC Zurich 24h Race, the winners of the legendary event’s 2015 edition – Laurens Vanthoor, Christopher Mies and Nico Müller plus the team’s new signing, old hand Pierre Kaffer – secured the provisional pole. In early sessions of the session, in dry conditions, the quartet crossed the line with the Audi R8 LMS of Audi Sport Team WRT in 8:21.951 minutes, thus setting the fastest lap time, with a 1.215-second lead over their fellow Mercedes-Benz drivers racing for Twin Busch Motorsport. The gaps on the following positions were really close, with the interval between second and ninth position amounted to less than a second.

The first qualifying session for the Eifel classic was started in dry conditions bit from the second hour, the race action was hampered by partly heavy rain. A situation that offered the teams the opportunity to prepare for the changeable conditions in the forthcoming 24h race. After all, changeable conditions have been forecasted for the race itself that will be started on Saturday at 15:30hrs. Due to the rain, improving the lap times in the second half of the session proved to be possible.

1 – Vanthoor / Mies / Müller / Kaffer (Audi R8 LMS)
21:31hrs Sets the new fastest lap: 8.21,951 Min. Despite a slight drizzle!
21:50hrs Drives slowly in the Döttinger Höhe area.

2 – Leonard / Frijns / Sandström / Vervisch (Audi R8 LMS)
20:59hrs Loses it and ploughs through the meadow at the Adenauer Forst.
21:52hrs Visits the Adenauer Forst meadow a second time .

3 – Abbelen / Schmitz / Huisman / Siedler (Porsche 991 GT3 R)
20:34hrs New fastest lap: 8.29,163 minutes.
20:53hrs Patrick Huisman: “The first lap still was slightly wet and slippery but I could keep the tyres on working temperature and, consequently, the right pressure. On the second lap I could really go for it but I had a lot of traffic.”
21:04hrs Sabine Schmitz smiling on her qualifying time: “I drove extra slowly to not butcher my style of driving for the WTCC races.”
21:25hrs Stands in the pits – the brakes are changed. .
21:58hrs Technical failure in the Yokohama-S.
22:01hrs According to Klaus Abbelen the race is too heavy. His Frikadelli-Porsche 911 GT3 R was pushed into the garage. Should the weather improve, the Frikadelli-Porsche could go out again for the final obligatory lap.
22:32hrs The Porsche is standing jacked up in the garage. Klaus Abbelen: “it’s to wet out there. We had a minor failure, that’s why I pitted. Should the rain decrease we will go out again.”

5 – Stippler / Fjordbach / Mortara / Meyr-Melnhof (Audi R8 LMS)
23:20hrs Nicki Meyr-Melnhof: “We tried something in the early sessions. Then came the rain and we weren’t able to improve our lap time. But the car works fine and we were able to develop a good wet-weather setup.”

6 – Haase / Rast / Winkelhock / Stippler (Audi R8 LMS)
21:28hrs 8.23,318 minutes: new third on the time sheets, just slightly behind the fastest time of the Twin-Busch-Audi (8.23,166 minutes).
21:39hrs Team Principal Ernst Moser: “We currently aren’t taking the car to the very limit as we don’t want to take unnecessary risks, in these conditions. We word on the setup, adjust the lights for the dark – and our drivers are supposed to complete their obligatory laps.”
23:09hrs Rene Rast: “It’s difficult on the wet track. The conditions change lap by lap, and you never know how heavy the aquaplaning will be you will have to cope with in a moment. But the Audi handles well and we don’t take any risks. The fourth place we secured in the dry is a good position.”
8 – Alzen / Arnold / Götz / Seyffarth (Mercedes AMG AMG GT3)
22:27hrs Maximilian Götz: “We each complete at least one lap in the wet and the darkness to familiarise ourselves with these conditions.”

11 – Ohlsson / Bollrath / Oeverhaus / Hackländer (Audi R8 LMS)
21:37hrs The fastest lap time is disallowed due to pit-lane speeding.

12 – Klohs / Dieter Schmidtmann / Richter / Renauer (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
20:52hrs Schmidtmann replaces Renauer. “The first two laps were extremely wet but the third was good. At the Döttinger Höhe the track is dry. I hope we will be fast enough to make it to the Top 30 Qualifying.”
14 – Al Faisal / Gerwin / Dontje / Huff (Mercedes AMG AMG GT3)
20:13hrs Accident at the GP circuit – continues.

18 – Farfus / Krohn / Müller / Wittmann (BMW M6 GT3)
20:30hrs BMW’s DTM driver Augusto Farfus drives the first qualifying stint.
20:57hrs Driver swap: Marco Wittmann for Farfus.
21:18hrs Driver swap: Jörg Müller for Wittmann.
21:22hrs Wittmann after his two-lap stint: “Now I have completed my obligatory laps. On the first lap I was hampered by a lot of traffic but on the second it was better.”
21:57hrs Jesse Krohn prepares for replacing Müller at the wheel of the BMW M6 GT3.
22:09hrS Jörg Müller: “The conditions are as difficult as you expect them to be at the Nordschleife. There are wet sections and sections with light fog right above the track surface as the tarmac is rather warm and the rain vaporizes.”

21 – Weiss / Kainz / Krumbach / Stursberg (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
20:54hrs Is shown the so-called fried-egg flag and consequently has to pit.
21:01hr Olaf Manthey: “The position diodes apparently were mounted too low. This will be checked.”
22 – Graf / Westbrook / Catsburg / Palttala (BMW M6 GT3)
20:36hrs Klaus Graf: “It still is rather slippery and in the sections up to the Flugplatz area you have to be particularly careful. In the falling dawn detecting the wet spots is particularly difficult.”

23 – Sims / Eng / Martin / Werner (BMW M6 GT3)
22:27hrs Alexander Sims: “The conditions change from section to section. Currently it’s rather difficult out there.”
23:01hrs With 10:11.064 minutes the currently fastest car on the track.
23:26hrs Driver swap: Dirk Werner replaces Philipp Eng.
23:27hrs Philipp Eng: “It’s extremely wet out there but it was big fun.”

33 – Ziegler / Saurenmann / Schmidt (Audi R8 LMS)
22:57hr Driver swap: Saurenmann for Ziegler. Andreas Ziegler: “The vision is extremely poor but currently there aren’t many cars on the track.”

37 – Jöns / Kane / Holzer / Brück (Bentley Continental GT3)
21:05hrs Driver swap: Christer Jöns for Steven Kane.

42 – Cate / Dr. Kamelger / Turner / Guelden (Aston Martin Vantage GT8)
23:13hrs Pole for the Aston Martin in the SP8 category..

44 – Dumbreck / Henzler / Ragginger / Imperatori (Porsche 991 GT3R)
21:45hrs Peter Dumbreck: “We still try to find out how we can get faster. In these lighting conditions the slow drivers drive even slower. A fact that hampered me again and again while I tried to set a fast lap time.”

56 – Shoffner / Hill / Klaasen / Huisman (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup)
20:57hrs The team works on repairing the right rear.

88 – Alzen / Arnold / Götz / Seyffarth (Mercedes AMG AMG GT3)
20:34hrs Steal’s the Frikadelli Porsche’s pole with a 1: 8.28,259-minute lap.
20:47hrs Maximilian Götz: “The Mercedes handles well. At the beginning you had to be careful as the GP circuit still was wet. But I didn’t take any risks. We still want to qualify for the Top 30 Qualifying. We virtually have completed our setup work and only need some final touches.”

9 – Haupt / Buurman / Engel / Müller (Mercedes AMG AMG GT3)
20:51hrs Now fastest with an 8.23.553-minute lap.

100 – Edwards / Klingmann / Luhr / Tomczyk (BMW M6 GT3)
21:23hrs Martin Tomczyk: “I now have completed my two obligatory laps and we used these laps to check the car. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow in Q2.”
21:58hrs Lucas Luhr gets behind the wheel.
22:05hrs John Edwards: “My first laps this weekend – in the dark and the wet. This was rather exciting.”

101 – Henkola / Yamauchi / Sandritter / Richardson (BMW M6 GT3)
20:51hrs Braking mistake in the Dunlop Kehre – goes off into the gravel but continues without help.
20:57hrs Drives slowly In the Adenauer-Forst area.
21:11hrs Technical failure at the GP circuit.

122 – Beckmann / Strycek / Hass / Schulten (Opel Manta)
22:03hr In category SP3, featuring 10 competitors, the iconic car currently is the fastest with a 10:13.603-minute lap.

701 – Lauck / Mailleux / Bleekemolen / Laser (SCG SCG003C)
21:29hrs Has to pit after having been shown the so-called fried-egg flag.
21:40hrs The race control called the car in as its GPS eye didn’t work.
21:42hrs James Glickenhaus: “We hope for a lot of rain in the race as this would increase our chances due to the high amount of downforce we produce.”

911 – Tandy / Estre / Bamber / Pilet (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
20:17hrs Patrick Pilet, 2015 IMSA Champion, will drive the first stint for the team.
20:23hrs Patrick Pilet: “Going out in these conditions is big fun for me. I love it when it gets slightly slippery. But setting a top time will be impossible in threes conditions
20:54hrs Driver swap and ride-height check. Le Mans winner Earl Bamber for Pilet.
20:57hrs Pilet: “I didn’t take any risks and tried to familiarise myself with the circuit. The conditions are extremely difficult.”
21:14hrs Nick Tandy for Bamber.
21:27hrsd Earl Bamber: “I came right from testing in the USA to the Eifel and used my laps to adapt to the circuit. I just drove on the lower part of the GP circuit for the first time with the Porsche 911 GT3 R. . I still have to find my racing line, there.”
21:48hrs Nick Tandy: The conditions out there are changing all the time. Detecting the dry and the wet spots is really difficult. Driving on a completely wet circuit would be easier. But as we possibly will have to cope with the same situation in the race it was good that we had the chance of accustoming to them.”

912 – Lietz / Bergmeister / Christensen / Makowiecki (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
20:18hrs Jörg Bergmeister gets ready for the first stint.
20:29hrs Jörg Bergmeister has gone out. First of all he will run in the brakes.
20:51hrs Put stop with brakes change. Jörg Bergmeister continues.
21:22hrs Jörg Bergmeister informs via radio on oil on the track in the Adenauer Forst area.
21:37hrs Driver swap: Richard Lietz for Jörg Bergmeister
21:46hrs Jörg Bergmeister: “I completed my two obligatory laps and apart from that I focused on running in the brakes. We already are qualified for the Top 30 Qualifying and therefore there’s no need for taking any risks.”

The reigning champions once again the hunted

The reigning champions are back on top: in the first qualifying session for the 44th ADAC Zurich 24h Race at the Nürburgring, the four drivers racing for Audi Sport Team WRT – last year’s winners Laurens Vanthoor (BEL), Christopher Mies (Germany) and Nico Müller (SUI) who will be supported by Pierre Kaffer (Germany), this year – took the Audi R8 LMS #1 to provisional pole by crossing the line in 8:21.951 minutes. But it has to be admitted that the hunt for fast lap was hampered by heavy rain that began to fall in the second hour of the session.

“It definitely is nicer than being 35th on the time sheets,” Pierre Kaffer said when Laurens Vanthoor had set the fastest lap time. “But the competitiveness level on this year’s grid is extremely high and due to the rain, the time sheets don’t really reflect this situation. Laurens Vanthoor was the last driver to have crossed the line on a dry track and so, our rivals certainly will be able to also up the ante. At the Nordschleife it doesn’t matter if you have to cope with light or heavy rain – you always have to be careful. But it goes without saying that it’s nicer for us and the fans when it’s dry.”

Audi and Mercedes-AMG the fastest rivals
Second and third positions on the time sheets were secured by the Twin Bush Motorsport Audi R8 LMS #16 raced by Marc and Dennis Busch (Bensheim), Christian Mamerow (Waltrop) and Rene Rast (Stolzenau) who crossed the line in 8:23.166 minutes as well as Kenneth Heyer (Viersen), Sebastian Asch (Ammerbruch), Luca Ludwig (Bornheim) and Daniel Keilwitz (Villingen-Schwennigen) with the Mann-Filter-Team’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 #75 that completed the 25.378-kilometre lap on the racetrack consisting of the GP circuit and the legendary Nordschleife in 8;23.300 minutes.

When the torrential rain began to fall this meant the end for the hunt for fast lap times. On the other hand, the teams now had the opportunity to already gather experiences in these difficult conditions. On Friday morning, from 09:30 to 11:30hrs, the race action will be continued with the second qualifying session that will determine who will be the last 13 teams to join the 17 that already made it to the Top 30 Qualifying in the first three VLN rounds and the 24h Race Qualifying Race. And in the Top 30 Qualifying, on Friday evening from 19:50 to 20:30hrs, the 30 fastest teams will fight for the positions on the first 15 rows of the grid for the race on Saturday (Start at 15:30hrs) in the individual time-trial format.

The coming 24h-Race action in the ‘Green Hell’ can be followed live and at close range even by those motor-racing enthusiasts who haven’t got the opportunity to make the trip to the Eifel. RTL NITRO will cover both the Top 30 Qualifying on Friday and the entire race live – the latter in a 26-hour non-stop coverage. Furthermore, everything important on the 44th ADAC Zurich 24h Race including live timing, live ticker and video streams from 13 different perspectives at www.24h-rennen.de.

Black Falcon the quickest in the first clash

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.
17:25hrs Continues.

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.

Welcome press-conference quotes

During the welcome press conference of the 44th ADAC Zurich 24h Race, last year’s winner Nico Müller (Audi) as well as Marco Wittmann (BMW), Thomas Jäger (Mercedes-AMG) and Martin Ragginger (Porsche) answered the questions of the media representatives and looked ahead to the things to come.

Nico Müller (Audi): “I already completed a Nordschleife lap on a bicycle and detected a lot of Swiss flags and heard a lot of Swiss voices while doing so. The race also is very popular in my home country and the reason is clear: it has got a unique atmosphere and represents a huge party for the fans. And we drivers hope to be able to entertain them appropriately. This year’s race definitely will be contested on an extremely high level, thus providing a lot of action and excitement for the fans. When it comes to the reliability it certainly won’t be a disadvantage that we already contested one or two 24h races, with our car. We are very confident, already know the car very good and know that it is fast. It will be a very close race with enthralling battles. That’s what we are looking forward to. At Audi, we drivers may mention our preferences although there are quite a lot of factors that have to be considered regarding the driver choice for the 24h Race. Quite obviously, it is an advantage if you have got some Nordschleife experience under your belt. These guys are slightly favoured. I feel really honoured that I was offered the chance of being part of the project last year and the fact that I also made it to the driver line-up for the 2016 edition is even nicer.”

Marco Wittmann (BMW): “Coming to the Nordschleife always is great. It’s something special, a true classic. The competitiveness on the grid is high, the racing will be really close and so, we have to face a true challenge. The weather conditions also arguably will be extremely difficult, thus making the race even more thrilling. Just getting behind the wheel and pressing the pedal to the metal won’t be enough. It also is important to help enhancing the car. We have reached a good performance level and in the third VLN round we proved that this is the case. I’m very confident – but with a little question mark regarding the 24h Race. With a new car there always is a dose of uncertainty but we are fast. We will race to win.”

Thomas Jäger (Mercedes-AMG): “Yesterday when I arrived I realised that a lot of fans already are on site. I expect a thrilling race as all the brands will be strong. The top cars are delivering on the same competitiveness level and all the driver line-ups feature extremely good drivers. I think the drivers will be a key factor in this race. But of course you also need a good team. A team has to well deliberate about weather it should sign a driver or not. After all, it takes not only pace but also routine if you want to succeed. We have got a rather good mix of fast DTM drivers and experienced endurance-racing experts. To make the lives of the different customer teams easier, we at Mercedes-AMG opted for supporting the teams with some of our guys.”

Martin Ragginger: “We are the only team contesting the race on Falken tyres and so, the tyres and the tyre development were an important factor during our preparation. But I think we are on a good way and succeeded in making consistent progress, over the course of the VLN rounds and the qualifying race. The switch from the 997 to the 991 also represented a big step. The car is better in every respect, from the brakes through the acceleration to the grip level. We can be happy with the entire development and even more so as we had the opportunity to compare our performance with the one of the works Porsches all the time. I also have to say a huge thank you to Porsche who are really supporting us a lot. I don’t care about the Balance of Power – I just get behind the wheel and go for I as that’s what I can do. The car is a really huge step forward but the others also are strong. Therefore, making it to the top five would represent a top result for us.”

Let the action begin (all times CEST)

The long waiting is over: finally, the engines of the cars contesting the ADAC Zurich 24h Race are back roaring around the Nürburgring’s GP circuit and Nordschleife. And while yesterday’s Adenauer Racing Day got fans and drivers in the right mood, the on-track action will begin today. 160 vehicles are ready for the 24h Race and today at 15:45hrs CEST they will go out for the first time. And then, from 20:00hrs, things will get serious in the first qualifying session. All the important ADAC Zurich 24h-Race information including live timing, live ticker and live stream can be found throughout the weekend at www.24h-rennen.de.

Yesterday afternoon at the Adenauer Racing Day, more than 3,000 fans cheered for the drivers that are going to contest the ADAC Zurich 24h-Race or the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) rounds. Extra for this day, Adenau decorated itself by painting its curbs red and white. “That’s a great advertisement for Adenau and a clear commitment to the Nürburgring,” said Andrea Thelen, chairman of the local chamber of commerce. The drivers also enjoyed spending time with the fans, signed countless autographs and answered numerous questions.

New vehicles in the battle for the win
But today it will get serious. At 15:45hrs, the drivers will go out for the first time to work on their cars in the practice session and from 20:00 to 23:30hrs, in the first qualifying session, they will begin the fight for the grid positions and the last positions in the Top 30 Qualifying respectively. And it may be expected that once again one of the GT3 vehicles will be the race winner. It goes without saying that Audi are keen on repeating the success they celebrated last year. “I want to again make it to the podium,” underlines Nico Müller who won the 20215 edition, “And if possible the one in the middle.” The Ingolstadt based manufacturer already contested the 2015 edition with the enhanced version of its GT3 racer and this year, the main competitors follow in their footsteps.

Austria’s Martin Ragginger will race a new Porsche 991 GT3 R: “The team is highly motivated and the new car represents huge progress. If you ask me, I don’t care about the Balance of Performance. I just get behind the wheel and go for it.” The youngest GT3 vehicle on the grid is the BMW M6 GT3. Marco Wittmann, the 2014 DTM Champion, is determined to push to the max, nevertheless. “No doubt: we want to win the race – but we also want to enhance the car,” he said. Meanwhile, Mercedes driver Thomas Jäger was more careful: “A podium would be nice.” For the Mercedes AMG GT3, it also will be the first Nürburgring 24h Race.

Crowd puller Nordschleife
The fans already just can’t wait for the start into race taking place on Saturday at 15:30hrs. Thousands already have arrived at the Nordschleife to not miss a single lap of this weekend’s race action. “Yesterday, when I arrived at ‘The Ring’, the fans already were everywhere,” Jäger said. “Really impressive.” Audi driver Müller also was thrilled: “The atmosphere here is unique – it’s a huge party for the fans. And we drivers only can hope to entertain them appropriately.”

The WTCC drivers on the Nürburgring Nordschleife

Pleasant anticipation, motivation, reverence – and loads of respect: These are the feelings the tin-top racing aces travel to the Nürburgring Nordschleife with. On Saturday, 28th May, their two races held together with the European Touring Car Cup, ETCC, do not only represent one of the highlights of the 24h-race weekend but for many WTCC drivers, the races in the Green Hell also are their season highlight. Please find below the statements of some ofthe WTCC drivers on the two three-lap races at the longest racetrack of the world.

José María López (Citroën Total WTCC): “It was the most amazing race of the year last year and I’m really looking forward to going back. Everything is special about this track, it’s 25 kilometres, it’s called the Green Hell, it’s different from anything you have experienced before. Last year was my first time and I really enjoyed it and to be able to win was something else. It’s something amazing to be flat out on this track. You have jumps, high-speed corners, a long straight, a long lap, it’s amazing. Of course with Fangio winning there and Carlos Reutemann winning there, the track has a strong connection with Argentina, my country, and it’s a very special place for Argentinian people.”

Tiago Monteiro (Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team): “It’s the biggest challenge. It’s definitely the hardest track in the world to learn, to be fast on and to be able to attack. I wanted to race there for ages but I never had the opportunity, so when they announced it I took the opportunity to go and test as much as possible. I went there three or four times and it was just amazing. Like Macau, the Nordschleife is a top challenge and that’s why we race there.”

Nicky Catsburg (LADA Sport Rosneft): “You have so much diversity and as a driver you can really make the difference. To set the comparison with other tracks, Eau Rouge, the fast corner at Spa, is always a challenge and always a corner people speak about but it’s so easy. You go out on your fast lap, you try to take it flat but if it’s not possible you take the run-off and you have found the limit. On the Nordschleife you cannot do that anywhere. If you go off, you are in the wall or the trees even. What makes it even more difficult is that you have so many of these high-speed turns where you really have to take risks. The other thing is you only see those turns once every eight minutes so it’s really difficult to be on the limit immediately. But I just love it, it’s such a cool track. I’m always a big fan of high-speed corners and this track has it all. And the atmosphere with the fans, I always look forward to going there.”

Tom Coronel (ROAL Motorsport): “It’s the best race track on planet earth. It’s the most challenging track, it’s changing all the time. You can never do a lap perfectly. Every lap you have at least 10 times a near narrow escape and I don’t think anybody knows the track 100 per cent because that’s impossible. Whenever somebody asks me if I want to drive the Nürburgring Nordschleife I get an automatic smile on my face which I don’t get with anything else that I can do on planet earth. So you can imagine how far it goes. You have to be scared because if you don’t respect this track then you don’t respect anything on planet earth. This is the most challenging thing a race driver can find. It’s always in your mind that there is something scary but at the same time you feel privileged that you are allowed to drive this track.”

Thed Björk (Polestar Cyan Racing): “It’s the most amazing track in the whole world. It’s absolutely unbelievable and I’m so happy to be racing there in the WTCC. It’s an experience of a lifetime. If you are at least a little bit interested in cars, then you have to drive the track. It’s not scary but you have to be very, very aware of the risks. You need to pick the speed up as you go and try not to overdrive. Many people do mistakes there and it’s a track that can kick you into mistakes. But try to be calm and not go to the limit. It’s easier said than done but you need to have a lot of respect for the track. I know the track. I can write it in my sleep, every corner, every small thing, I love it. It took me a couple of laps to learn it but now I know it inside out.”

The race of the year at the Nürburgring

The same procedure as every year: the 2016 ADAC Zurich 24h Race once again will be the race of the year, for the visitors. And as usual, this title – awarded in the reader poll of an internet portal – suits the event perfectly. After all, the spectators that make the trip to the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife will be provided from 26th to 29th June four days of enthralling action. Some 160 vehicles on the 24h-race grid will battle it out for the prestigious win in the greatest race of the year, with about three dozen of them having to be regarded as serious race-win contenders. The stunning GT3 vehicles entered by Audi, BMW, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche meet the challenge represented by the international competition: among them super cars entered by Aston Martin, Bentley, Lamborghini, Lexus and Nissan or the spectacular Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus prototypes. Never ago, the 24h-race featured such a top-class field and so, making a prediction regarding the outcome is more difficult than ever. Furthermore, the World Touring Car Championship, WTCC, will contest two championship rounds on Saturday noon 28th May), thus providing the crowds another special highlight prior to the 24h-race start.

With a one-two-three in the third round of the 2016 Endurance Championship Nürburgring, VLN, held two weeks prior to the 24h race, BMW underlined their ambitions to become a major force in the battle for the win in the endurance classic. In this final acid test prior to the season highlight, three BMW M6 GT3 racers and their-top-class driver line-ups made for a podium lock-out – and for a lot of happy faces in the BMW camp. Afterwards, Jörg Müller – who won the race together with 2014 DTM-Champion Marco Wittmann and Finland’s Jesse Krohn – was beaming and talked about “A perfect race.” With this triumph, the BMW teams secured the first VLN race of the brand-new car.  “Making it to the podium always is great„” said former DTM Champion Martin Tomcyk, “Although this wasn’t one of our main priorities in this preparation race.” The German contested the race together with Lucas Luhr and John Edwards (USA) to finish second, in the end. “We wanted to optimally prepare for the season highlight and the final test went really well for us. Now we are curious to find out in the 24h race where we are standing compared to our opponents.”

Well-balanced situation in the preparation races
The careful scepticism of the BMW drivers seems to be justified. After all, other competitors also succeeded in shining, in the preparation races. Two of the VLN rounds were won by an Audi R8 LMS and in the Qualifying Race 24h Race, the Mercedes AMG Teams HTP and Haribo celebrated a one-two. Always close behind were the Porsche teams, with reigning World Endurance GT Champions being the spearhead. They will contest the 24h classic with two 911 GT3 R on behalf of Porsche. For the fans, this virtually favourite-less situation means that they may look forward to a particularly thrilling race in the Green Hell.

What a programme: attractions galore from Wednesday to Sunday (all the times CEST)
On Wednesday, 25th May, even before the motor racing programme gets going, the visitors will be provided a first highlight: from 16:00hrs, fans and competitors will meet during the Adenauer Race Day, held  in the heart of Adenau. And with a special permit, numerous vehicles of different competitors also will drive in a parade from the circuit down to Adenau’s city centre. And from Thursday, it’s time for the days of thunder at the Nordschleife. Highlights of the day are the first practice session, from 15:4hrs) and the night qualifying (from 20:00hrs) for the 24h race. And on Friday, the grid positions will be determined. Following the second qualifying session in the morning one will know which competitors made it to the Top 30 Qualifying, the spectacular time-trial session at the Nordschleife that will determine the positions on the first 15 rows on the grid.  And in the afternoon, at 12:45hrs, the WTCC racers will battle it out for the grid positions. In the evening, the crowds will be wowed by the Stihl Timbersports Show in the Fan Arena (Historic paddock) and the Falken Drift Show in the Müllenbachschleife. If you don’t want to miss any bit of the Saturday action you have to get up early in the morning. The day will begin with the 24h-race warm up (08:15hrs) that will be followed by the two WTCC races (from 11:25hrs). And at 15:30hrs, the 24h race will be started.

Glickenhaus-Trophy for the fastest lap on the legendary Nordschleife

The Nordschleife and the ADAC Zurich 24h Race are birth attendants for legends: here, myths are born while drivers, team members, fans and organisers again and again fall for the magic of the legendary ‘Green Hell’. In the future, those who achieved something special at this unique motor-racing venue will be honoured with a special reward: from 2016, the ‘Glickenhaus-Trophy’ will be awarded as challenge cup year by year to the driver who proved to be the fastest of the fastest – but has to be returned to then be awarded to next year’s fastest of the fastest. That driver who set the fastest Nordschleife lap time in the respective Top-30 Qualifying for the 24h-race.

The trophy has been donated by James Glickenhaus who has fallen for the special magic of the circuit and its greatest race many years ago. With his Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, the American car collector is contesting the race himself in the SP-X category with three beautiful prototypes. “If you are coming to the Nürburgring and walk to the paddock, you are standing in front of a wall with names and that’s the moment when you realise that you are entering sacred ground,” he says, “It is a very special and wonderful place.” He appreciates the special regulations that allow for thrilling battles between different types of vehicle. “Here, we as a small Italo-American team have the chance of competing with manufacturers tat can look back on an incredible tradition and history. We are so lucky that the organisers created these regulations.”

Award ceremony within the framework of the Top 30 Qualifying
To honour those men who meet the challenge represented by the most difficult racetrack in the world, Glickenhaus donated the trophy on which the driver who secured the pole and his lap time will be engraved, from this year. A move that was enthusiastically welcomed by the race organisers, ADAC North Rhine. “This idea says a lot about the outstanding attractiveness of both the race and the circuit,” says Race Director Walter Hornung. “We embraced the idea with delight and are happy about this initiative.” To underline the meaning of the new trophy and stimulate the drivers for their crucial kilometres, the Glickenhaus-Trophy will be showcased prior to the Top 30 Qualifying. When Walter Hornung waves his flag so send the drivers out for their two flying laps, the trophy will be placed on a special podium at the home straight. And right after the Top 30 Qualifying, within the framework of pole-position press conference, the winner will be presented with the trophy by James Glickenhaus himself.

The Nordschleife: Racing without Limits

The shock was big and the measures were drastic: in 2015, the racing at some sections of the Nordschleife was partially slowed down by speed limits that were introduced in the 2015 qualifying race. These speed limits became necessary due to a massive crash in the 2015 VLN season opener that questioned the safety of both competitors and spectators at the Nordschleife. Consequently, the German motor-sport authority DMSB opted – in cooperation with the VLN and 24h-race organisers – for extensive instant measures. Measures that made sure that holding motor-racing events at the longest, most beautiful and most challenging circuit of the world remained possible at all. And now – exactly a year later – many decisions have been realised: new regulations, new requirements that have to be met by drivers and vehicles respectively, rebuilding measures at the track, additional safety facilities: all this makes sure that the 24h qualifying race again can be held without speed limits in force.

In the past year, several task forces developed the measures that now come into force and rarely in the past, so many parties worked on the regulations of a motor-racing venue. “The package was based on a process many experts were involved in,” confirms DMSB President Hans-Joachim Stuck, who does not only know the Nordschleife as former racing driver like the back off his hand but also loves it. “The DMSB experts cooperated with the circuit operators, the series and race organisers, representatives of the Nürburgring track safety, driver representatives and manufacturers to make use of as much know-how as possible and find a broad agreement at the same time. And we achieved the joint goal to make motor racing at the Nordschleife safer without reducing the attractiveness of the races for drivers or visitors.” Among the results are – first of all – the improvement of the visitor safety in different track sections and a significant performance reduction of the top vehicles. Furthermore, the driving regulations also were modified.

Additional safety zones at the Nürburgring
As early as in autumn 2015, the excavators arrived at the Norisring. As soon as the last racing car had left the track, the measures developed by the circuit operator in cooperation with the safety experts and agreed upon with the circuit commission of the World Motor Racing Association, FIA, were realised. By doing so it was made sure that track license also remains valid for top categories such as the GT3 class. These measures comprised – in addition to the elimination of bumps – the installation of additional safety zones as well as of additional crash barriers and FIA fences at certain spots. “Racing on the Nordschleife still is big fun – even after the modifications,” said Dirk Müller (Mercedes-AMG GT3). “The new section at the airport is not half bad. It was turned into a truly challenging corner. Completely different than before the modification Currently, the grip is limited, there, but this will change over the course of the coming races. And the angle of the plateau up there was changed.”

Vehicles: thrilling sport despite performance limitation
Meanwhile, a task force that comprised – inter alia – the ADAC technology experts and representatives of the car manufacturers targeted the performance of the cars racing in the top categories. In the classes SP7, SP-9/GT3, SP-Pro and SP-X, the engines’ horsepower output will be reduced by 10 percent compared to the beginning of the 2015 season. At the same time, the aerodynamics of these cars also will be limited. These measures comprise the air vents in the front wheelhouses and the definition of a minimum ride height. The attractiveness of the cars, however, isn’t reduced by these measures. During the VLN season kick-off, the motor-racing enthusiasts witnessed thrilling motor sport without speed limits – and the drivers also were delighted. “It’s great that the speed limits are history,” said – for instance – Maro Engel. The 2015 FIA GT Champion von 2015 underlines what worried many drivers and fans. “Quite obviously, a racetrack and speed limits are antithesis per se and I’m convinced that all the drivers are happy about their abolition. A big praise for all those involved. The changes proved their worth in the VLN season opener and we may look forward to a fantastic 24 Race.”

‘Nordschleife license’ will be revised
In 2015, the conditions at the Nordschleife that are unique in global endurance racing resulted in the introduction of the ‘DMSB Permit Nordschleife’ (DPN) – a kind of driving license featuring a multi-step structure for different kinds of events. The basic principle – advancement to a higher category only following the proof of a certain dose of experience – now was refined. Exceptions for the entry categories on the one hand and the professional racing drivers on the other were clearer defined. “We defined clearly more detailed than in the past which preconditions are necessary for a driver to obtain the steps A and B of the Permit,” said DMSB President Stuck. “For all those involved it was important that every racing driver – no matter if beginner or experienced – has to intensively come to grips with the special Nordschleife conditions. The big number of cars, the different performance levels of the different categories, the unique track layout and last but not least the signals in the case of dangerous situations: every driver has to prove that he is well informed on these special characteristics.” To achieve this goal, the DMSB Academy installed a free E-learning tool every licensee has to use to prepare for racing at the most difficult racetrack in the world.

Drivers develop new Code-60 regulations
Should an accident have occurred at the Nordschleife, the marshals are showing the code-60-signal during the rescue and cleaning-up works. Compared to the previous practice, the regulations have significantly been changed. From 2016, double waived yellow flags mean a maximum speed of 120kph. In the cases where the safety-car would go out on other circuits, the marshals show the yellow flag and in addition a code-60 flag: this means 60kph. The green flag annuls speed limits and overtaking bans. This two-step speed-limit system is supposed to reduce the risk of rear-end collisions and at the same time, the number of Code-60 zones is clearly reduced as Code-60 only is activated when marshals are busy on the track or the circuit is really blocked. Like his colleagues, Frank Stippler (Audi R8 LMS) got to know the new regulations during the first VLN round and confirms: “The new Code-60 regulations with the two-step speed reduction is really good. Now you haven’t to decelerate from top speed to 60 kph right away but decelerating to 120kph is enough, for the beginning.”

The 24h prologue lures teams, drivers and fans to the Nordschleife

In the run-up to the ADAC Zurich 24h Race held on the Corpus Christi weekend, the teams now are entering the hot phase of the preparations for the prestigious event: for the teams, the season opener of the Endurance Championship Nürburgring, VLN, represented the first clash and just two weeks later, they now are about to contest the next test in race conditions. The ADAC Qualifying Race 24h Race (16th to 17th April, 2016) provides teams and drivers more than nine hours of track time – including the six-hour race – on the legendary Nordschleife. In the season opener Audi proved to be in great form: the one-two of the Phoenix Audis R8 LMS represented a clear sign for the competition: the brand that won last year’s 24-h Race once again represents the benchmark. But the brand-new Mercedes-AMG GT3 also is a race-win contender: Black Falcon secured the third position on the podium, in the season kick-off. In addition, competitive squads racing for BMW, Bentley and as well as exotic vehicles, such as the Scuderia Glickenhaus prototypes, will add to the excitement. Advance booking tickets for the 24h Qualifying Race can be purchased at www.nuerburgring.de, with the info and ticket hotline being available at +49 (0) 800 2083200 (free of charge from the German landline).

In the 24h Qualifying Race it’s not about points and therefore, teams and drivers can fully focus on preparing for the 24h Race. And with two qualifying sessions, a six-hour race as well as additional test and adjustment runs they are offered a lot of possibilities for doing so. An opportunity the top teams just can’t forego. So it comes as no surprise that the two Phoenix Audis R8 LMS that came first and second in the VLN season opener also will be involved. Audi Sport Team WRT also will enter two vehicles – they won last year’s 24h Race with a similar line-up. “I couldn’t have been happier with the car, in the season opener”, beamed Phoenix driver Frank Stippler after having won the first race in the season. “And I hope we will be able to tie in with this performance, in the 24h Race.” At the same time, ‘Stippi’ is well aware that many competitors also are keen on winning the prestigious endurance classic at the Nordschleife. “The competition will be extremely tough – just as it was the case in the recent past,” he underlines. „Mercedes and BMW are making huge efforts to shine in this event. Therefore, the battle will be fantastic.”

Maro Engel: “The competition will be tougher than ever”
And indeed, other top manufacturers also will enter new GT3 racers together with customer teams: the new Mercedes AMG GT3 made it to the podium by finishing third behind the two Phoenix Audis right away. It was the car’s only third outing at the Nordschleife but Team Black Falcon was able to prove the vehicle’s potential, nevertheless. “This year we will have to cope with a competition that’s tougher than ever,” confirms Maro Engel who finished third together with Bernd Schneider, Manuel Metzger and Adam Christodoulou. ”All the major manufacturers will be there and we will race the new Mercedes-AMG GT3. Driving the car on the Nordschleife is huge fun. We use the VLN for preparing for the 24h Race. That’s our main goal: to be a factor in the battle for the win and possibly secure the trophy for AMG.”

Competitive teams promise thrilling race action
At the 2015 IAA, BMW launched the new M6 GT3 that will be raced at the Nordschleife from 2016. The debut in the VLN season opener, however, was mediocre: Walkenhorst Motorsport finished seventh, thus securing the only top-10 result for the Bavarian manufacturer. With ROWE Racing and Walkenhorst Motorsport, two competitive squads will contest the quali race with BMW’s new GT racer. And Schubert driver Lucas Luhr is convinced: “The new BMW M6 GT3 is fast and competitive. That’s just normal when you race a new car: we haven’t covered a lot of kilometres and the Nordschleife is something very special. There are some things that still have to be sorted.” And this also applied to the VLN season kick-off: “There, a power steering failure forced us into the pits for 20 minutes. Fortunately we still have got some time – and those knowing BMW are sure: we will get a grip on it.” At the same time, the Porsche teams also didn’t quite meet the expectations, with Manthey racing, running two new 911 GT3 R, just making it to the top 10. No doubt: they also have got more potential. After all, both Porsches dropped back due to punctures. Meanwhile, Bentley Team Abt proved to be well prepared and finished sixth, in the first VLN round of the year. The Germans run the Bentley Continental GT3 for the first time, this season, and therefore, the squad needs every single kilometre of testing it can cover. Right after the first VLN race, Nissan announced to compete in both the 24h Qualifying Race and the 24h Race. The Nissans will be run – inter alia – by Team Zakspeed. And Toyota also will use the 24h Qualifying Race as preparation and will take several cars along.

A lot of excitement for the fans
But the 24h Qualifying race does not only promise excitement as the fans can witness many of the 24h Race protagonists at closest range. The action also makes straight impact on the 24h Race, as the five best placed cars of the Qualifying Race secure a position for the Top-30 Qualifying. And there’s even more for the fans, on the weekend of the Qualifying Race: simultaneously to the test and adjustment runs at the GP circuit, a regularity rally will be held at the Nordschleife. Afterwards, from noon, the RCN will start into a performance examination. The first qualifying session for the 24h Qualifying Race will take place on Saturday afternoon, the second on Sunday morning. The six-hour feature race will be started at 12:00hrs. Particularly attractive: the ticket price includes paddock access. There, the Falken power-slide artists will entertain the visitors. And from 10:50hrs, all the spectators with valid ticket may promenade along the starting grid. Tickets for the 24h Qualifying Race are available from €15 (day ticket Saturday or Sunday), with the price for the weekend ticket amounting to €25.

06th April, 2016

Extra category for TCR touring cars planned from 2016

From 2016, ADAC Nordrhein is going to announce an extra category for the new TCR touring cars for the ADAC Zurich 24h-Race (26th to 29th May) and the 24h qualifying race (16th to 17th April). This new category will be contested with racing cars that are ideal for both professional teams and weekend racers: inexpensive, rugged 320bhp cars that guarantee exciting motor racing for those involved and the fans. With this move, the organisers of the Nordschleife highlight open the grid for teams from all over the world. After all, there are numerous national and regional TCR series’ about to follow the path paved this year by the international series held according to the TCR regulations.

Marcello Lotti, CEO of WSC, the promoter company of TCR International Series, says: „It is with great satisfaction that we welcome ADAC Nordrhein’s decision to introduce a new category for the TCR cars in the ADAC Zurich 24h-Race. The simple fact that a race that is universally praised for its tradition and fascination, and which takes place on one of the most celebrated and demanding racetracks in the world, is opening the door to a brand new category is a tremendous recognition of the soundness of the TCR concept. In their maiden season, TCR cars have already proved the perfect combination of providing close and exciting sprint races with reasonable running costs. Their participation in the ADAC Zurich 24h-Race will prove that they are both reliable and have the performance to appear in long distance races as well.“

By announcing the TCR category for the 24h Race, ADAC Nordrhein abides by a long-term tradition: “We always were open for new categories and concepts,” underlines Race Director Walter Hornung, “No matter if the diesel vehicles in the 1990s or the alternative-drive concepts in the following years. In the 24h race, they all found a platform where they could test, prove and – last but not least – present themselves.” A few years later, this applied to the category that features the win contenders, today. “A short time after their definition as a category by the FIA, the GT3 cars already were allowed to also compete in the 24h race.” And now, in 2016, the year after the TCR vehicles contested their debut season in an international series, they also will be offered the chance of contesting the ADAC Zurich 24h Race. The big interest of teams and drivers in the new category doesn’t come by chance: with their price of less than €100,000, the turbo-charged 2-litre touring cars are comparatively inexpensive and very attractive, nevertheless. In addition, there is a broad range of cars available. The 2015 starting grids of the newly created International Series features the Honda Civic, Ford Focus ST, Opel Astra OPC, Seat León, Subaru STi and VW Golf. And according to the plans, they all may contest the 2016 ADAC Zurich 24h Race without any additional redesigns being necessary.

September, 23rd 2015

Winners’ Press Conference Quotes

Please find below the quotes of the three top-placed teams – Audi Sport Team WRT, BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS and Falken Motorsports – after the 43rd ADAC Zurich Nürburgring 24h Race.

Christopher Mies: “Yes! Now I have won the biggest trophy secured by one of our family members to date. The race was a tough battle right from the start – with many changes in the lead. In consideration of the numerous retirements, surviving was the first and most important duty. That fact that we did not only succeed in doing so but made it to the highest step on the podium is just fantastic. In the beginning I was lost for words and couldn’t believe that we really made it.”

Edward Sandström: “We encountered absolutely no technical problems and the car ran reliably. Okay, we had this minor refuelling incident but BMW had to cope with the same incident. And this had nothing to do with the car itself. As I said: the car was just perfect.”

Nico Müller: “It was the first 24h race with the new R8 and to have won it right away demonstrates how good the car really is. We could go flat out and encountered no technical problems whatsoever. A big thank you to Audi and WRT – they provided us with a tool that delivered right from the start and enabled us to celebrate this win, today.”

Laurens Vanthoor: “Last year the win in the Spa 24h Race and now the win in the Nürburgring 24h Race. It feels great to have won both these races with WRT. And it definitely is an achievement I’m proud of.”

Maxime Martin: “In the end, we weren’t far behind the Audi when crossing the finish line. It’s a minor shame as we came here to win the race. But we will be back next year to try to win it with another car.”

Lucas Luhr: “I’m not completely happy with having finished runner-up. We came her to win and so, you of course are somewhat disappointed about second place. After all, every racing driver wants to make it to the highest step on the podium. But in consideration of the fact that our BMW is about to go into retirement, second place is a fine result. Congratulations to Audi for having won with the new car right away. We at BMW are happy with having finished second, nevertheless, as we did a great job, in Munich.”

Markus Palttala: “Audi were just too strong, with their new R8. We gave our very best but doing so just wasn’t enough.”

Richard Westbrook: “This circuit is something very special for me – just like for any other racing driver. The organisers did a really great job with the speed limits – a big thank you to everybody for this effort. We gave our very best – although it wasn’t enough. The car was perfectly prepared for every imaginable weather condition. Congratulations to Audi. They did a great job and in the end, they proved to be too strong for us.”

Peter Dumbreck: “In the closing stages we came in for a splash and dash – to be on the safe side. The gap on the BMW behind us (#26) was big enough and we wanted this podium at all costs. Now we are here and this means that we got everything right.”

Wolf Henzler: First of all I want to stress that we didn’t receive any penalties. This was very important for us. The slow-zones certainly were the currently only option for obtaining the possibility to contest this race at all. But now, it should be discussed what has to be done in the future and if there possibly is an other solution to be found. The top priority: to preserve this racetrack that is unique in the world as I want to keep on contesting races, here.”

Martin Ragginger: “All the members of the team worked hard on providing us with this great car. We made a major effort when it came to enhancing the tyres to have the chance of squeezing the maximum out of the car. We set lap times on a high level and made few mistakes. We were competitive and our driver line-up is well-balanced. And we already are looking forward to the new Porsche as we want to use it to give the competition a n even harder time.“

Alexandre Imperatori: “I’m really happy and delighted with having my team-mates. They helped me a lot when it came to learning the track. Fourth in 2014 and now third: that’s fantastic. I hope that we will be able to secure an even better result, next year with the new version of the GT3.”

Audi secures third Nürburgring 24h-Race win

The winners of the 43rd ADAC Zurich 24h Race are Christopher Mies, Edward Sandström, Nico Müller and Laurens Vanthoor. After 156 laps at the combination of GP circuit and Nordschleife, Mies took the chequered flag with the Audi R8 LMS (#28) entered by the Audi Sport Team WRT as race winner. His lead over second-placed Maxim Martin in the BMW Z4 GT3 (#25) of the BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS that was raced by the line-up Maxime Martin, Lucas Luhr, Markus Palttala and Richard Westbrook amounted 40.729 seconds. This was the closest finish in the history of the race. Third place was secured by Peter Dumbreck, Wolf Henzler, Martin Ragginger and Alexandre Imperatori in the Falken Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (#44). For information around the ADAC Zurich 24h Race, impressions and background features please visit the event’s website: www.24h-rennen.de.

In the closing stages of the unique motor-racing marathon, staying power was the most important attribute. The podium positions deservedly were secured by the teams that set consistently fast lap times throughout the race and were able to contest the entire race without encountering major problems. Due to the changeable weather conditions – particularly in the night – the race proved to be one of the most challenging editions of the recent past. Numerous favourites were forced into early retirements. The competitiveness on the grid was enormous. Temporarily, sports cars of seven different manufacturers held top-10 positions. Over the course of the race, the crowds witnessed 35 changes in the lead – another record in the history of the Eifel classic.

“To have won the 24h race is just incredible,” cheered DTM driver Nico Müller. “It was the first 24h race for the new Audi R8 LMS and it was anything but easy. We were pressurised throughout the race. Great that the car survived in such a great style. It was my only second 24h race and it was an honour for me that I was offered the chance of being a part of this project.” And his team-mate Christopher Mies added: “The last lap gave me goose bumps.”

The BMW camp also was delighted. “What a fantastic result for the BMW Z4 GT3 in its final works-supported appearance – and even more so in consideration of the extremely competitive field,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt following the second place secured by Marc VDS. “Although we were pipped in the fight for our 20th overall win, the combination of a faultless job delivered by team, drivers and a reliable, well-engineered vehicle kept the extreme excitement alive up to the finish line.“ Having finished fourth in 2014, Falken Motorsports made it to the podium, this year. The delight of the drivers and the team is huge,” said Peter Dumbreck. “The entire squad did a fantastic job throughout the 24 hours. In the night, with the changeable weather conditions, the racing proved to be particularly challenging. But we always were lucky in the tyre gamble and the Falken tyres coped with the challenges represented by the conditions in great style. At the same time, we didn’t encounter any major problems throughout the race and only had to come in for the scheduled pit stops.”

2016 24h race on the Corpus Christi weekend and once again with the Word Touring Car Championship in the support programme.

The 44th edition of the ADAC Zurich 24h Race will be held from 26th to 29th May, 2016, at the combination of GP circuit and Nordschleife. This means that the motor-racing highlight in the ‘Green Hell’ will be contested on the Corpus Christi weekend. And once again, the World Touring Car Championship, WTCC, will be part of the legendary event’s support programme. “The FIA calendar for 2016 has not yet been fixed and approved but following the successful debut in this year’s event we are more than confident that the best touring-car drivers of the world will once again come to the Eifel to race at the Nürburgring Nordschleife,” said Race Director Walter Hornung. He came to a positive conclusion: “Once again, the 24h race demonstrated why the Nordschleife fans call it ‘The Race of the Year’. It provided great, enthralling motor racing and a huge feast for the entire family. That’s the mix making this race so fascinating for both the drivers and the fans.”

News and Quotes 15:00 to 16:00hrs

The winners of the 43rd ADAC Zurich 24h Race are Christopher Mies, Edward Sandström, Nico Müller and Laurens Vanthoor. After 24 hours, Mies took the chequered flag with the Audi R8 LMS (#28) entered by the Audi Sport Team WRT as race winner. At the end of the 156 lap race at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, his lead over Maxime Martin in the BMW Z4 GT3 (#25) added up to 40.729 seconds. Behind the BMW, Peter Dumbreck, Wolf Henzler, Martin Ragginger and Alexandre Imperatori took the Falken Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R to third place. 

5 – Bin Turki Al Faisal / Haupt / Buurman / van Lagen (Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3)
15:02hrs       

The last driver swap: Yelmer Buurmann takes over from Jaap van Lagen to contest the final stint.
15:10hrs       
Jaap van Lagen: “We hold a top-five position and are really happy with what we have achieved so far. Prior to the start we didn’t expect to be able to achieve such a good result in this competitive field. But we didn’t make any mistakes and the car ran better and better throughout the race.”

9 – Lauck / Franchitti / Jahn / Mailleux (SCG 003c)
15:14hrs    

Last driver swap: Lauck replaces Franchitti for the final stint.
15:15hrs       
Comes back in a short time later and is pushed into the garage.
15:22hrs       
Latest information from the team: the power steering failed and there’s no battery voltage.
15:43hrs       
Still standing in the garage but will rejoin the race in a moment. The team has not yet solved the problem but wants to take the chequered flag at any price.
15:53hrs       
The entire pit-lane applauds the Glickenhaus squad that succeeded in push-starting the car with their last bit of strength!

11 – Primat / Brück / Schmid / Seefried (Bentley Continental GT3)
15:49hrs   

Pits once again.

21 – Schulze / Schulze / Strauß / Tresson (Nissan GT-R nismo GT3)
15:15hrs   

With just 45 more minutes to go, gearbox problems force the independent Nissan team to retire from 13th place.
15:19hrs       
Has rolled to a halt in the Klostertal section due to gearbox problems.
15:42hrs       
Michael Schulze: “The car won’t come back. We set ourselves the goal to secure a top-10 result and it goes without saying that we are very disappointed, now.”

28 – Mies / Sandström / Müller / Vanthoor (Audi R8 LMS)
16:06hrs  

The WRT-Audi #28, raced by Christopher Mies, Edward Sandström, Nico Müller and Laurens Vanthoor, wins the 43rd ADAC Zurich 24h race!

44 – Dumbreck / Henzler / Ragginger / Imperatori (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
15:38hrs   

Pit stop for fuel and fresh rear-wheel tyres.
15:39hrs       
Defends third position despite the late stop.

65 – Kolb / Denat / König / Rocco (Porsche 997 GT3 Cup)
15:07hrs   

Stopped following a collision with car #308 in the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
15:34hrs       
The team changes the radiator that was damaged in the accident. They absolutely want to take the chequered flag.

74 – Berg / Kaiser / Maurice / Echevararria (Porsche 997 GT3 Cup)
15:06hrs      

Final pit stop.

News and Quotes 11:00 to 13:00hrs

Three hours before the winner of the 43rd ADAC Zurich 24h race at the Nürburgring will cross the finish line of the combination of GP circuit and Nordschleife, the race has entered an ‘the-calm-before-the-storm’ phase. Since the early morning hours, the two leading cars have regularly been alternating as race leaders. Now it’s about driving safely at the limit to absolutely go for it on the final laps. One thing can be taken for granted: a mistake made at this point in time and the chance of winning the legendary race is over. With 21 hours contested, the order hasn’t changed: the  Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS (#28) leads with the BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS BMW Z4 GT3 (#25) the Falken Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (#44) following in second and third positions respectively. 

5 – Bin Turki Al Faisal / Haupt / Buurman / van Lagen (Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3)
11:34hrs    

Buurmann for Haupt. Technical Director Marvin Wagner: “We now will opt for another strategy. To make better use of the sets of tyre, we will switch to shorter seven or eight-lap stints.”

9 – Lauck / Franchitti / Jahn / Mailleux (SCG 003c)
11:15hrs    

Franchitti comes in for what is supposed to be a scheduled stop but turns out to become a major check. Manuel Lauck: “While changing the wheels we realised that oil was running out of the left rear wheel hub – a hint to a broken drive shaft. To avoid a break down we now will check the issue extensively.”
11:21hrs    
Check completed, rejoins the race.
11:25hrs    
Glickenhaus says: “The drive shaft is okay. But now we have a problem with the electronic throttle. The engine didn’t respond to the throttle but we were able to solve the problem.”
11:38hrs    
The team prepares for another pit stop. Race engineer Dario Pergolini: “Manuel Lauck contacted us via radio from the Nordschleife and informed us that the car once again temporarily didn’t respond to the throttle. He now will come in and we will check the issue.”
11:45hrs    
Rejoins the race.
11:49hrs    
Manuel Lauck informs the team via radio that the car is running flawlessly, again.

11 – Primat / Brück / Schmid / Seefried (Bentley Continental GT3)
11:48hrs    

Clemens Schmid replaces Primat. Primat: “The Nürburgring 24h Race is the greatest GT race in the world. A successful appearance in this race represents a very good business card. The Bentley debut in this event is successful. We made only few mistakes, so far, but gathered a lot of experience. For us, finishing is the most important goal but we would love to make it to the top 10.”

15 – Yoong Loong / Cheng / Lee / Thong (Audi R8 LMS ultra)
11:18hrs    

Scheduled pit stop.

17 – Laser / Cerruti / Edwards / Keilwitz (BMW Z4 GT3)
11:25hrs    

Edwards replaces Laser.

25 – Martin / Luhr / Palttala / Westbrock (BMW Z4 GT3)
11:56hrs   

While the leaders are pitting, the Marc VDS-BMW regains the lead.
12:01hrs
Back in the lead on lap 129. The 30th change in the lead!
12:10hrs    
The next change in the lead as it’s the Marc-VDS BMW’s turn to pit, now. no driver swap.

26 – Farfus / Müller / Catsburg / Adorf (BMW Z4 GT3)
11:07hrs    

Pit stop. Catsburg stays in the cockpit for a double stint. Team Manager  Bas Leinders: “The car is running absolutely flawlessly.”

28 – Mies / Sandström / Müller / Vanthoor (Audi R8 LMS)
11:03hrs    

29th change in the lead. The Audi is back in front as the MarcVDS-BMW comes in.
11:18hrs  
Moment of shock for race leader Nico Müller: at the exit of the GP circuit, the Audi gets off the track and makes a 360° spin on the grass. Can continue.
11:55hrs    
The leader pits. Nico Müller stays in the car for another stint. Short before the end of the stop the car catches fire when the petrol pump nozzle is pulled out of the filler neck but the fire is extinguished at once. Nico Müller rejoins the race.

35 – Buncombe / Hoshino / Krumm / Ordonez (Nissan GT-R nismo GT3)
11:03hrs  

Pit stop with driver swap: Oshino for Ordonez. Brake discs and pads are changed. Ordonez: “I could really go for it. There weren’t any yellow flag periods. Now we can push hard.”
11:08hrs    
Team Principal Bob Neville: “There are no more yellow flag phases and we will really push, now, as we want to make it to the top 10. On the other hand, we needed 3:20 minutes for the pit stop and therefore, we dropped back slightly.”

44 – Dumbreck / Henzler / Ragginger / Imperatori (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
11:02hrs   

Dumbreck is replaced by Henzler. The front and rear skirts are taped to the car, once again. Henzler: “Cross your fingers for me. Should we succeed in defending our third place this would be the best result for a Falken Porsche in the history of the race.”

85 – Smith / Kane / Meyrick / Arnold (Bentley Continental GT3)
11:27hrs   

Meyrick: “This is my first 24h race. I enjoy it so much that it’s difficult for me to get out of the car and let another driver take the wheel. We had our difficulties and only after half a day the car felt really good. We are learning consistently, gather data and try a lot of things.”