- Orange County, NY
24h-rennen.deOnce a year, the air around the Nürburgring Nordschleife is heavy with the scent of barbecue fires and night is turned into day. This (19th to 22nd June) is the time when the endurance-racing fraternity celebrates the season highlight at the longest and most beautiful racetrack of the world with a huge four-day party: the ADAC Zurich 24h-Race. On the track, this year’s edition of the legendary event once again promises to make for excitement galore. Never before, the huge starting grid featured a bigger number of top-class teams that have got what it takes to win the race. And never before, the teams were offered as much time for preparing meticulously.
Two teams will be the hunted, in this year’s ADAC Zurich 24h Race: on the one hand the defending champions, the Black Falcon team with its Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, that once again will contest the endurance-racing classic with a squad of Nordschleife professionals. And one of them will be particularly keen on the team’s 2013 triumph: new signing Lance David Arnold (Duisburg). “Twice I came oh so close to securing the overall win but both times, I didn’t quite make it,” he reveals. “Now I’m going to contest the race with Black Falcon and think that we’ve got a good package with competitive drivers.” The second hunted squad will be BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS. The Belgian team finished runner-up, last year, with Maxime Martin causing a particular stir. With quite a series of blinding fast laps he drove a stunning final spurt that thrilled the crowds all around the Nordschleife. Having also won the ADAC qualifying race in early April, the team now definitely must be regarded as one of the top favourites. Following the first Nordschleife races contested in 2014, DTM driver Martin looked ahead. “I think this will be an extremely thrilling race. The lap times in the VLN season opener already proved to be really fast and everybody was quick.” In addition, the team succeeded in signing a new asset: Nordschleife old hand Uwe Alzen. The German was delighted with the fact that the new cooperation was started with the win in the qualifying race: “What a great way to start a partnership. But you have to admit that we had this famous dose of luck, today,” he said after the race.
Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche: four brands at least have got what it takes to win the race
The favourites will have to face a tough competition as the grid features more potential winners than ever. In the past years, the race was won by BMW (2010), Porsche (2011), Audi (2012) and Mercedes-Benz AMG (2013) – and these brands also dominated the first Nordschleife races of the 2014 season. The first three rounds of the VLN Endurance Racing Championship Nürburgring – that is held according to the same technical regulations – impressed with packed starting grids and spectacular races that were used by the teams to extensively prepare for the 24h race. With the Phoenix Audi R8 LMS, the Frikadelli Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R and the Marc VDS BMW Z4 GT3, brands and teams alternated as race winners, with the poles being secured by Phoenix, ROWE Racing (Mercedes-Benz AMG) and RJN (Nissan GT-R). Meanwhile, the Manthey team’s Wochenspiegel 911 and the 911 GTR 3 in the livery of tyre manufacturer Falken secured top positions for the Porsche camp in practice sessions and the races. Furthermore, an SLS entered by Team HTP shared the first row of the starting grid for the qualifying race with an R8 LMS ultra of the Audi race experience and BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert secured second and third positions on the podium: so, identifying a clear favourite is definitely impossible. But the race will feature an outstanding top flight. Even more so as the GT3 category also will feature several somewhat exotic vehicles that would love to give the favourites a hard time: Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ford, Lexus, McLaren – and they all succeeded in already securing top-10 results at the Nordschleife, this year.
Baumgartner switches to motor racing: stratosphere jumper on the 24h-race grid
Traditionally, the ADAC Zurich 24h-Race features a fascinating mix of world-class drivers and passionate amateurs that again and again is spiced up by celebrities. One of the arguably most popular VIPs on this year’s grid will be Felix Baumgartner. The extreme-skydiver has found a new challenge: the racetrack. And he will meet this challenge together with competitive works drivers at the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS ultra entered by the Audi race experience team. “Thanks to Audi, my dream – to contest car races – comes true at the tender age of 45 years,” the likeable Austrian delightedly said. And he won’t be the only celebrity in the field. Former world-class motorbike racer Alexander Hofmann, for instance, announced to contest the race with a BMW. He already has got several years of Nordschleife experience under his belt. Ex F1 driver Nick Heidfeld will contest the race in a Nissan GT-R.
Fascinating support programme throughout the event
Apart from the action provided by the huge ADAC Zurich 24h-Race field, the programme features numerous other highlights (on track and aloof from the track) that have got what it takes to delight the crowds. As early as on Wednesday, 18th June, the Adenauer Racing Day will entertain those already arrived. In the centre of the town located close to the Nürburgring, competitors and fans will get themselves in the right mood for the things to come with interview rounds, autographing sessions, live music and other on-stage highlights. On Thursday, the free practice session and the night-qualifying session will provide the spectators the first dose of 24h-race action while the first results will be achieved as early as in the morning: in the RCN performance tests. The Friday highlight will be the three-hour race of the historic vehicles competing in the ADAC 24h Classic as well as the spectacular time-trial shoot-out for the best 24h-Race grid positions. In the top-30 qualifying, each of the 30 fastest teams may complete two flying laps and will fight for each fraction of a second. In the evening, event partner Falken invites to the tradition-rich drift show at the Müllenbachschleife. Tens of thousands of spectators will admire the skills of the power-slide artists. And on Saturday, prior to the start of the main event (16:00hrs), there will be a multifaceted motor-racing support programme featuring the . ADAC Procar – DTC (Grand Prix circuit) as well as a joint race of the Clio Cup Central Europe and the ‘Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy’ (Nordschleife). And throughout the event, gorgeous classic cars from the founder days of DTM can be admired on the track thanks to the demonstration runs of the ‘Tourenwagen-Revival’ association.
LINKS (will be updated when streams are available):Qualifying before the race
Press Conference Quotes
Top 30 Qualification
GAZOO Racing Stream
WIGE Live Timing
So, who's ready for this year's Nurburgring 24hr?