Lumirank: New position-display functions

In both the 24h Qualifying Race and the 24h Race, a large-scale LED display behind the windscreen of the competing cars provides the visitors with important information. Compared to last year, the system was refined once again, for 2019. As the time-keeping data also will record the driver currently driving the respective car, the display also will show an acronym of his name.

On the displays of the majority of the cars, the name of the current drivers will slowly alternate with the current position in the race. In the car of the race leader, the display will flash in addition and in cars that have not yet completed a timed lap, the name will alternate with place holders ??? („_ _“). This will be – for instance – the case if a car doesn’t complete a lap on the entire circuit but opts for using the short layout. In the pits or in standby, the display shows the number and the acronym ‘24H’. In the case of the Manthey Porsche #911 driven by Richard Lietz, the LEDs consequently would display:

  • 911 and 24H alternating: in standby
  • _ _ and LIE alternating: car on the track but no timed lap completed.
  • 023 und LIE alternating: The car holds 23rd position
  • 001 and LIE flashing by turns: The car holds the lead.

For the spectators on site, the new detail makes the Nordschleife action even more transparent. 24h Race Director Walter Hornung is convinced: “The LED displays are great for all the fans on site. In the Eifel woods, informing the crowds via video walls is far more difficult than at other circuits. Therefore, the position displays are extremely important for keeping track of the race action. And even more so as the 24h-Race field will comprise more than 150 cars.”

24h Schedule is online

The schedule of the 47th edition of the ADAC Total 24h Race at the famous ‘Ring’ is online. Please find it here as pdf download document or for online reading:

> Schedule ADAC Total 24h race

TOTAL the new title sponsor of the 24h race

The Nürburgring 24h Race has got a new title partner: from 2019, the endurance race held at the legendary Nordschleife will bear the name of mineral-oil group TOTAL. After the expiration of the contract with the previous title sponsor, Zurich, the 2019 edition of the prestigious event will be the first that will be held – from 20th to 23rd June – under its new name, the ‘ADAC TOTAL 24h Race‘. Consequently, Germany’s biggest and greatest circuit race with some 200,000 visitors over the course of the weekend and a huge field of about 160 touring cars and GTs is in good company. After all, the internationally most tradition-rich Belgian Spa-Francorchamps 24h Race and the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans in France also cooperate with TOTAL. For the brand that is mainly known to the German motorists thanks to its fuels and engine oils, the multi-year deal with the 24h Race held at the Nürburgring, the longest and most demanding racetrack in the world, represents a new challenge.

Due to the new deal, the 24h race has got a new name partner that suits the profile of the event perfectly. “With a partner that also is involved in the mobility industry, many future discussion will be very easy,” underlines Peter Meyer, the ‘ADAC Nordrhein e. V.’ Chairman. “I’m happy about the contract with a partner that not does not only appreciate the immense publicity of the Nürburgring 24h Race but also has got mobility know-how and passion in its genes.” In nearly no other event, perseverance and competitiveness are subjected to tougher test than at the legendary Nordschleife. The fight of man and material as well as the extreme challenge in the technical and racing areas in the 24h Race fascinate both hundreds of thousands of visitors on site and millions of TV viewers around the world.

“We truly are looking forward to shaping the future of the Nürburgring 24h Race together with ADAC Nordrhein,” said Bruno Daude-Lagrave, Managing Director of TOTAL Deutschland GmbH, on the occasion of the signing of the cooperation deal in Berlin. “Our premium fuel, Excellium, and our engine oil, TOTAL Quartz, are particularly designed to protect the longevity of the engines. That’s our natural association with endurance racing. We already are cooperating with Le Mans and Spa-Francorchamps and are proud to now also support the third mega-event among the international 24h races as partners.”

The signing of the deal with the new partner makes an end to the long-term cooperation of the Nürburgring 24h Race with the insurance group Zurich. “We’d like to thank Zurich for the long and amicable cooperation,” said Matthias Wurm, Managing Director of Sporttotal Live GmbH, the promoter of the 24h race. “We are really delighted with having found TOTAL as new partner we now will open a new chapter with and particularly press ahead with the internationalisation.”

Manthey-Porsche establish new record with lap No 6

The 46th ADAC Zurich 24h Race ended with a 90-minute final spurt. The race was red-flagged for about two hours due to rain and then, the Manthey-Porsche #912 defeated the Black-Falcon-Mercedes #4 in a spectacular sprint battle and gave the team the record-breaking sixth overall win. After the restart at 13:59hrs CEST, these two cars were the only ones in the same lap and thrilled the 210,000 spectators on site and the millions at home in front of their TV sets or mobile devices with a fierce fight that was won at the end of the day by Frenchman Fred Makowiecki for Manthey. For the team that is based in Meuspath, right at the Nordschleife, it was the first triumph since 2011. It was the sixth win for the squad that established a new record with this success and is the exclusive record holder, now. At the same time it was the 12th win for Porsche. The 47th edition of the legendary event will be held from 20th to 23rd June, 2019.

“What a race! Very emotional, great for Porsche and the entire motor-sport,” said the Briton Nick Nandy, 2015 Le Mans winner, who won the race together with Richard Lietz (Austria), Patrick Pilet (France) and Makowiecki. “A win for the entire team. This is one of the toughest races in the world, virtually everything can happen and there are so many potential winner cars on the grid. In your life you possibly have two or three chance of winning such a race. It’s fantastic.” For all the four victorious drivers it was their debut win in the ADAC Zurich 24h Race. “It couldn’t have come any better regarding the 70th birthday. We credit this win to Dr Porsche on the occasion of the next decade in his life We established a new lap record and wouldn’t mind to continue like this,” said Porsche Sport Director Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser.

Crucial move at the Mercedes-Arena
The crucial overtaking manoeuvre was made by ‘Mako’ with 1:11 hours to go at the entrance of the Mercedes-Arena. The two rivals touched and the Mercedes-AMG spun, with the Porsche taking the lead. But Christodoulou wasn’t ready to give in and pressurised his rival to the max. Even a slight crash-barrier contact didn’t stop the Briton. In the end, however, Makowiecki crossed the line 26.413 seconds before Christodoulou, thus making for the second-closest finish in the history of the race. The closes was the Black Falcon win in 2015 with a 5.697 lead.

“I tried absolutely anything but there was nothing I could do. We’ll be back next year,” said Christodoulou who failed – just as Maro Engel (Germany), Manuel Metzger (Germany) and Dirk Müller (Germany) to win the race a second time. Third place was secured in a just as thrilling battle by Dutchman Yelmer Buurman in the Black-Falcon-Mercedes #5, followed by the Aston Martin #007 and the Black-Falcon-Mercedes #6. Last year’s winners, the Audi Sport Team Land Audi R LMS #1, finished sixth, thus being the fourth manufacturer among the top six.

Even before the race was temporarily red-flagged – incidentally the first time since the Black Falcon win and the only seventh since the races debut edition in 1970 – the famous Eifel weather displayed even its most notorious facets – from brilliant sunshine to thunderstorm-like heavy rain.

“This was one of the most thrilling 24h races of all times and one of the most nerve-wrecking four all those involved,” said Race Director Walter Hornung: “It featured everything that’s making motor racing so fascinating. Sensational drivers, great racing cars, weather gods that provided the most different conditions and a circuit that takes the drivers to their limits in every single second.”

Mega fast opening stage
The race was started on Saturday afternoon in brilliant sunshine with a spectacular show of Kevin Estre in the Manthey-Porsche #911. The Frenchman took the lead from the pole and was virtually flying, broke the lap record – that had been established by Augusto Farfus in 2015 – two times and quickly opened a gap on the rest of the field, thus laying the basis for the comfortable lead of his team in the following hours. The #911 controlled the field until late in the night but then, Romain Dumas lost in on a trail of oil, crashed – and the race of #911 was over.

Afterwards, the sister car, #912, stepped into the breach. Due to different pit-stop rhythms, #912 and the Black Falcon Mercedes AMG GT3 #4 alternated in the lead but then, Patrick Pilet in the Porsche accelerated to early out of a Code-60 zone. As it was about the lead, the offense was investigated by the race control extensively by dint of GPS data, vehicle data and video footage – but in the end, all these data confirmed the offense (82kph in a Code-60 zone) and the team received a 3:32-minute time penalty. The battle for the win seemed to be over, but then, the red flags due to the dense fog 20.5 hours into the race nullified the gap between the two cars that still were racing on the same lap.

Action galore on and aloof from the track

The programme of the biggest race in the world does not only provide the fans with a huge dose of motor racing but also quite a lot of highlights aloof from the track. The multifaceted programme ranges from the Falken Drift Show on Friday evening at the Müllenbachschleife through the Red Bull FMX-Show that will be held there right afterwards – to the Stihl Timbersports Show contest in the historic paddock – also on Friday evening. There, the Falken drift team also wows the crowds several times a day in the Fan arena with a big stand.

“In the Falken Drift Show held on Friday evening at the Müllenbachschleife we entertain the crowds with about 20 cars and for nearly an hour with a spectacular drift show in the Dunlop Kehre. We thrill the fans on the grandstand with every conceivable kind of spectacular drifts: individual drifts, drifts with several cars in a row – or parallel drifts. But all this is just show, no competition,” says Dutchman Rohan van Riel who takes a Falken-BMW M5 to its very limits. “And we perform the same show – with four cars – from Thursday to Sunday and several times a day in the Fan Arena in the historic paddock.”

Right after the Falken Drift Show, the Red BULL FMX Show also will be held at the Müllenbachschleife. “Three FMX drivers, one of them Luc Ackermann, the reigning European Freestyle Motocross Champion, show a 15-minute freestyle programme with their motocross bikes, featuring stunning flights over two big ramps. On Saturday this programmed will be showed a second time, right before the start of the 24h race on the home straight, in front of the Mercedes stand,” says Chris Baur, the Red Bull Motorsport-Manager Germany.

Furthermore, the Timbersports sport lumberjacks will make for a lot of chopped wood in the historic paddock. “On Friday evening we hold a show contest in the Fan Arena, with the six fastest sports timberjacks battling it out with one another in six different disciplines. Furthermore, we present the fastest power saw of the world in action. It’s powered by a 290cc kart engine,” reveals Thorsten Schledorn, the Stihl Timbersports Series presenter.

Qualified Teams Top-30-Qualifying

The first motor-racing decisions for the 24h Race are brought about long before the weekend of the legendary race. The coveted starting positions for the Top-30 Qualifying have been assigned from the first round of the Endurance Championship Nürburgring, VLN. This means that there are – including VLN round two and the 24h Race qualifying race – three races held in the run-up to the 24h race that offer the competitors the chance of securing one of the soughtafter positions. According to the 24h-Race regulations, the four fastest teams in the VLN qualifying sessions as well as the 10 quickest in the practice session as well as the five best teams in the qualifying race secure a slot on the top-30 grid. But traditionally, not all the theoretically possible Top-30 Qualifying positions are taken. This year, 15 vehicles already secured a position for the battle for the 24h-Race pole position in the time-trial format.

Qualified teams Top-30 Qualifying prior to the 24h Race:

Qualified in the VLN 1 qualifying session
1#911Manthey RacingLaurens VanthoorPorsche 911 GT3 RSP9
2#22WochenspiegelJochen KrumbachFerrari 488 GT3SP9
3#102WalkenhorstChristian KrognesBMW M6 GT3SP9
4#47Mercedes AMG HTPDominik BaumannMercedes-AMG GT3SP9
Qualified in the VLN 2 qualifying session
5#912Manthey RacingPatrick PiletPorsche 911 GT3 RSP9
6#4Mercedes AMG HTPDirk MüllerMercedes-AMG GT3SP9
7#48Mercedes AMG HTPMaximilian GötzMercedes-AMG GT3SP9
8Not assigned
Qualified in the 24h Race qualifying session
9#31Frikadelli RacingNorbert SiedlerPorsche 911 GT3 RSP9
10#7Aston Martin RacingNicky ThiimAston Martin GT3SP9
11#5Mercedes AMG Black FalconYelmer BuurmanMercedes-AMG GT3SP9
12#99Rowe RacingMartin TomczykBMW M6 GT3SP9
13#705Scuderia GlickenhausAndreas SimonsenSCG 003CSP-X
14#44Falken MotorsportsSven MüllerPorsche 911 GT3 RSP9
15#8Audi Sport WRTRobin FrijnsAudi R8 LMSSP9
16#98Rowe RacingNicky CatsburgBMW M6 GT3SP9
17Not assigned
18Not assigned
Qualified in the 24h Race qualifying race
19Not assigned
20Not assigned
21Not assigned
22Not assigned
23Not assigned

Top-30 Qualifying: The regulations.
The time trials for the 24h Race pole are one of the highlights of the weekend. On Friday evening (11th May) from 19:00hrs (CEST), Race Director Walter Hornung sends the 30 fastest Nordschleife teams of the season out for two flying laps that are not only crucial for the positions at the front end of the 24h-Race grid but also in the fight for the Glickenhaus Trophy: the coveted challenge cup for the fastest Nordschleife driver of the season will be awarded to the best driver in the Top-30 Qualifying. Prior to the 24h-Race weekend, up to 23 positions for the time trials are assigned according to the following format:

  • Four positions each for the four fastest teams in the qualifying sessions for the VLN rounds one and two.
  • 10 positions for the fastest teams in the Top-30 qualifying of the 24h-Race qualifying race.
  • 5 positions for the five best-placed teams in the 24h qualifying race.
  • The teams must have registered for the assigning procedure prior to the respective event. Nobody will be moved up. This means that – for instance – the fifth placed teams in the VLN qualifying sessions will go away empty-handed.
  • All the Top-30 qualifying positions not secured prior to the 24h-Race weekend will be assigned according to the aggregated results of the first and second qualifying sessions.

Land Audi prevails in dramatic Finale

From deep frustration to virtually over the moon in 20 minutes: Thanks to quick-witted move in the tyre gambled during the final pit stop – with just two more laps to go – Markus Winkelhock, Kelvin van der Linde, Christopher Mies and Connor de Phillippi celebrated the win in the 45th ADAC Zurich 24h Race that already seemed to be lost. 90 minutes before the end of the race a defective sensor cost the Team Land’s Audi R8 LMS #29 the lead that it had held for many hours and the dream of the race win seemed to be over. But when rain suddenly began to fall, the team used an originally already mulled pit stop to equip the car at the last moment with wets. The result: the team did not only close in on the rivals that had seemed to be uncatchable but even passed them to regain the lead. The WRT-Audi #9 that held the lead at this point on time went off on its slick and hat no chance of keeping the Land sister car at bay. René Rast who drove the final stint even lost second position to Nick Catsburg in the Rowe Racing BMW M6 GT3 #98 after both cars had switched to wets for the final lap.

“I just don’t know what to say as I believed the race to already have been lost for us” said Markus Winkelhock who was virtually lost for words after his third win in the endurance classic, following the ones in 2012 and 2014. For Christopher Mies (2015) it was the second 24-Race triumph while Kelvin van der Linde, Connor de Philippi and Team Principal Wolfgang Land celebrated their firs 24h-Race win – in front of 205,000 spectators on site.

Hitchcock thriller in the final minutes
“Now I finally know why they call the Nordschleife ‘The Green Hell,’ said de Phillippi. And van der Linde who drove the final stint, added: “I only heard the order ‘Push, push, push!’” Team Principal Wolfgang Land also was delighted. “This was a true Hitchcock thriller,” he said. “Now it’s party time.”
Three-time Le Mans winner Marcel Fässler, who raced the Audi #9 together with Rast Nico Müller and Robin Frijns once again had to leave the Nürburgring empty-handed, on the day after his 41st birthday. But despite all his disappointment, he didn’t begrudge the fellow Audi drivers the win ”As they really deserved it.”
At the same time, the Rowe Racing squad also was in party mood. “That was pure chaos,” said Team Principal Hans-Peter Naundorf after his team’s best 24h-Race result to date that was secured by Catsburg, Markus Palttala, Alexander Sims and Richard Westbrook. “The decisions were made intuitively and the second place is a success for everybody. The show was huge. That was motor racing on the highest level.“

“This was literally hot race weekend. Fantastic weather, tough battles up to the final minute of the race and fans that partied to the max, The 24h Race truly was a huge motor-sport festival,” said Race Director Wolfgang Hornung who witnessed – after 23.75 hours in sunshine that was anything but the your typical Eifel weather – a spectacular finale in the wet. As a downpour in the closing stages jumbled the result. While Rast and Catsburg on their slick were virtually helpless and drove at snail’s pace, around the Nordschleife, van der Linde in the Land Audi that was shod with wets battled his way back up to the lead.

The best Mercedes-AMG was last year’s winner, the Black Falcon #1 in fifth position, followed by the Frikadelli Porsche #31 that finished sixth. The Wochenspiegel-Ferrari #22 came seventh and the best Bentley was the Abt Bentley #37 in 16th position.

Winners’ press-conference quotes

That’s what the drivers of the top-placed teams in the 45th ADAC Zurich 24h Race at the Nürburgring had to say.

Connor De Phillippi (Audi Sport Team Land): “The tyres were of major significance, this year. We tested quite a number of different tyres, over the weekend, and found the definitely best solution for the race.”

Christopher Mies (Audi Sport Team Land): “Having been the leaders for such a long time it’s really disappointing to see that the car suddenly doesn’t produce stops to perform. Fortunately our guys didn’t give up and found the problem quickly. And in the last pit stop we were just lucky. At first we had a refuelling problem and we already had shod the car with slicks but at the last moment we opted for switching to wets. And that proved to be the crucial move for our win.”

Markus Winkelhock (Audi Sport Team Land): “I’m absolutely happy. We held the lead for 22 hours – nearly throughout the race. And then we dropped back to third due to a technical problem . If you contest the 24h Race you just want to win it. Finishing second or third also is nice but this race is very special and you can win it only once a year. And when the rain began to fall we other drivers already sat in the truck and couldn’t believe what was going on out there. To be honest I still am lost for words.

Kelvin van der Linde (Audi Sport Team Land): After the sensor problem I honestly stopped thinking. The only thing I did was pushing. We wanted to pass the BMW ahead of us at all costs. During the final stop we had a minor refuelling problem and spontaneously opted to switch to wets. A decision that proved to be just perfect, with hindsight.”

Markus Paltalla (Rowe Racing): “The Land Motorsport Team has been racing in a class of its own since Friday and was extremely strong, in the warm conditions. But they also were really good in the night. We made the maximum out of our performance and are happy with our achievements.”

Nick Catsburg (Rowe Racing): “It was a great weekend for me. At first the WTCC wins and now on the 24h-Race podium. Although I have to admit that we didn’t really expect to secure such a good result, on Saturday.”

Alexander Sims (Rowe Racing): “Spa and the Nürburgring are the greatest GT3 races in the world. To have made it to the podium in both races is just fantastic. We didn’t expect to make it to the Nürburgring podium but we firmly believed that we could do it. An excellent result.”

Richard Westbrook (Rowe-Racing): “We had a very good and strict schedule for this race but in the closing stages we unfortunately had implementing problems. We tried to push to the max but the heat made a bigger impact on our tyres than we would have guessed. I think we delivered in great style. These guys next to me are my team and everybody gave their very best.”

Nico Müller (Audi Sport Team WRT): “The team performance was great. Everybody did a perfect job. Apart from the final decision. The race ran perfectly for us. The result really hurts.”

Marcel Fässler (Audi Sport Team WRT): “A really successful weekend, the 24h Race is just unique. More than 30 GT3 vehicles on the grid. This figure alone is something special. On Wednesday we drove around the entire Nordschleife on mountain bikes and already could feel the outstanding atmosphere. And I think that’s what’s making the Nürburgring so special. The race itself is hardcore motor racing. You have to assess the risk when and where you should overtake. If you don’t, your race can come to an early and sudden end. And it’s incredibly thrilling. And at the end of the day – I have to admit it – the right squad as won. Although it hurts us at a team.”

Robin Frijns (Audi Sport Team WRT): „It hurts to have been so close and not have made it, in the end. It goes without saying that we would have loved to cross the finish line as race winners. We also would have deserved the win as we tried really hard. Unfortunately we made the wrong decision in the wet and that cost us dearly.”

René Rast (Audi Sport Team WRT): “Throughout the race we were close behind the Land Audi. Due to yellow-phases the gap the hey a one-minute lead over us and although we tried hard to close the gap we couldn’t With 90 minutes to go we could take the lead due to a technical problem at Land. When we came in for the final stop, the track still was widely dry. This was the moment we made the wrong decision. We should have switched to intermediates. In the end, our result gives me mixed emotions.”

Action at close range: the Fan Arena experience

Roaring engines, burning rubber and the smell of action and excitement: that’s what the motor-racing enthusiasts will witness in the Nürburgring Fan Arena. The show programme in the historic paddock has got what it takes to thrill everybody – from the power-slide fan to the wood-chopping or motorbike enthusiast. From Thursday to Sunday, the programme features the most different shows – with national and international protagonist that will thrill the crowds with their skills. And this year, several never witness acts will even add to the fantastic atmosphere. 

One of the new acts in this year’s programme is Lithuania’s Arūnas Gibieza with his action-packed Red-Bull motorbike stunt show that takes the spectators’ breath away. “I am slightly excited but truly look forward to my first appearance at the Nürburgring,” Gibieza said a short time before his show in the historic paddock, “I never have been here, to date, but I heard a lot about the circuit. Now I finally am here and look forward to my first appearance at the Nürburgring.” Furthermore, Gibieza raves about the great atmosphere among the spectators on the stands and the really great support of his Red Bull Team that gives him encouragement and turns his stay in Germany into a particularly pleasant experience.

A very special stunt

Also unique is this year’s appearance of the Red-Bull Drift Brothers Joe and Elias Hountondji who are going to perform their first drift-run on the Nordschleife. “It is really, really unique that we will be drifting around the Nordschleife prior to each trace,” said  Joe Hountondji with a touch of pride in his voice. “That’s something never witnessed in the past.” Two weeks ago the brothers drove their first laps on the Nordschleife: at first two hours for learning the track and then a drifted lap. “Unfortunately we can’t complete a full lap drifting on one set of tyres – what means we hat to incorporate a tyre change,” the brothers revealed. Then, the lap with tyre change halfway around the Nordschleife also was practiced. The Hountondjis underline that it’s very important for them that nothing goes wrong and that the circuit isn’t damaged as they are well aware that the 24h-Race drivers are the main attraction of the event and can’t and won’t accept any delays of the race at the Nordschleife. “The biggest difference is that the run-off areas at the Nordschleife with the distance between track and crash barriers being extremely small,” the brothers explain. “Usually we perform our show at tracks with run-off areas with gravel traps. Here, a single mistake will result in a broken car and in a delayed race – what must be avoided by all means.”  The drift brothers explain that they love their sport, think that it has got lot of potential and that they hope to be able to bring the sport nearer to a bigger target group.

“Inter alia, we also will co-comment in the live stream and talk about what we have done and how the drifting sport works and that this represents a huge chance for us.” The brothers have been coming to the 24h Race for three years, now, and this year, they finally have got some tine for visiting some of the fans and enjoying the Nürburgring atmosphere as they aren’t in action all the time. “Pure madness what the fans have organised here. Some of them even have got pools in the woods,” the pairing said smiling.

But not only the new acts find their place in the Fan Arena as the well-known shows also once again can be admired in the historic paddock. Attractions such as the Falken Drift Taxis that represent real crowd pullers year by year as the spectators who love power slides and burning rubber even can apply for a ride in the passenger seats of the cars.  Rides that can represent a hard test for the passenger’s stomach. For 10 years, now, Dutchman Rohan van Riel has been a member of the team and once again contributes to the show with ardour, this year. “I’m really delighted to once again be a part of the show,” he said. “It’s just great that we are so successful with what we are doing. In these sunny conditions the spectators are in an even better mood and driving in these conditions consequently is even bigger fun.”

Wood-chopping sport for and with the fans

In addition, the extraordinary Stihl Timbersports wood-chopping shows will entertain the crowds several times a day in the paddock, with the athletes thrilling the visitors with their fascinating and exhausting sport. In their first demonstrations they show how a trunk is trenched manually or with different motor saws and pique the curiosity for the great show competition in the evening.

A competition the sportsmen love to integrate the spectators into. Here, the fans also may demonstrate their skills on a saw. To date, the squad has been absolutely happy with their appearances and also enjoys the nice weather – also the higher temperatures mean more sweating for the athletes. “Tonight we will have modified saws on the stage, with more than 70bhp and 140 decibels – what should delight every motor-sport enthusiast,” said team-member Leonard Schäfer who massively looks forward to the show and the atmosphere in the evening.

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.

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.