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.”