A Respectable 235,000 spectators and excellent conditions throughout the event provided an ideal situation for a spectacular 51st running of the ADAC TotalEnergies 24h-Rennen at the Nürburgring in the past four days. 135 cars across 20 classes and drivers from 36 different countries also delivered an attractive and varied field of participants. With a total of 162 laps, this year’s marathon in the Eifel goes down in history as the fastest to date. The endurance racing classic at the 25.378 kilometres long traditional track, marked by numerous incidents, didn’t bring the desired victory for Mercedes-AMG, but still ended in a successful way. In the fastest 24-hour race, the three customer sport teams were able to celebrate third place, a fourth place and success in the SP9 Pro-Am and SP-X classes.
Three Mercedes-AMG GT3s on course for the podium at the beginning of the night
Following fastest times in two qualifying and the record lap by Raffaele Marciello (SUI) in Top Qualifying, the Mercedes-AMG Performance Teams had justified hopes of scoring the overall win. In the race, held exactly ten years after the maiden win by Mercedes-AMG in the event, the Mercedes-AMG GT3s initially stayed in the front-running group. The #2 and #3 Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed cars and the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team BILSTEIN entry were among the first five for a long time. At times, the Mercedes-AMG drivers staged a thrilling three-way battle for the podium slots.
After the retirement of the #3 Art Car with a special livery for this event at the Nordschleife during the night, two cars from Affalterbach were still on course for the podium. While the two leaders were able to pull a slight gap, the #2 Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed and the #4 Mercedes-AMG Team BILSTEIN cars were involved in a long duel for the final podium slot. Philip Ellis (SUI), Raffaele Marciello and Luca Stolz (GER) had the upper hand with the #4 car and eventually finished in a respectable third place. It is the third consecutive podium result for Mercedes-AMG in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. Edoardo Mortara (SUI), who was nominated as the fourth driver just prior to the event, was withdrawn during the race to allow maximum driving time for the Performance Drivers Marciello and Stolz during the final stages of the race. Last year’s runners-up Adam Christodoulou (GBR), Maximilian Götz and Fabian Schiller (both GER) followed in fourth place.
Class success in the Pro-Am and SP-X categories
The third-best Mercedes-AMG GT3 was the #6 Mercedes-AMG Team BILSTEIN entry. Hubert Haupt (GER), Jordan Love (AUS) and Arjun Maini (IND) took the chequered flag in eighth place overall in the season highlight and secured second place in the SP9 Pro-Am class as a result. Both Mercedes-AMG GT2 that were entered also made it to the finish at their 24-hour race debut, successfully concluding the comprehensive test and development phase of the new customer race car as a result. Finishing the race equaled a 1-2 in the SP-X class. Frank Bird (GBR), Elia Erhart, Thomas Jäger and Jörg Viebahn (all GER) claimed victory with the #46 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT car from Mikaël Grenier (CAN), Jay Mo Härtling (GER), David Thilenius (USA) and Moritz Wiskirchen (GER) with the #222 Mercedes-AMG Team Schnitzelalm machine.
For Schnitzelalm Racing‘s two Mercedes-AMG GT3s, the race ended prematurely. Both for the #10 (consequential damage after innocently having become involved in an accident) and the #11 car (contact with the barriers), a top ten classification was in reach prior to retirement. The #89 Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT4 also was unable to resume its race following an accident in the early morning hours.
“This year’s 24-hour race here at the Nürburgring once again was an undisputed highlight on our race calendar. In sporting terms, we have provided a spectacular, varied and extremely fast race for the fans. Also thanks to the weather, we were all able to celebrate a motorsport festival with an atmosphere that is unparalleled worldwide. I am proud of our drivers and teams who, without any doubt, have made a significant contribution to this successful 51st running twice around the clock in the Green Hell. Admittedly, we are slightly disappointed that none other than our art car “The Beast of the Green Hell” with starting number #3 also became an innocent accident victim. Nevertheless, joy prevails for being on the podium here as AMG for the third consecutive time. On top of that, also fourth place and second place in the Pro-Am class, we can rightly be proud of that. However, the lap times of the Ferrari were unbeatable. What is left for us is to wait for revenge next year and to congratulate the team led by Klaus Abbelen.”
Christoph Sagemüller, head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport
“First of all, of course, congratulations to Frikadelli Racing Team for this impressive victory. This definitely was a tough race and the fastest running I have experienced here as we had optimal conditions throughout. And moreover, not really surprising, with an extremely strong competition. We had to push it to the absolute limit from the beginning of the weekend onwards and we extracted everything from our Mercedes-AMG GT3. For that, I would like to thank all our drivers and teams who represented Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing here in an impressive way. Too bad that we already had to retire a car with the potential of winning just before the halfway point of the race. But we weren’t the only ones with such setbacks this weekend. Nevertheless, we are really delighted with this further podium result. We pushed until the end and we can be very happy with our achievement. The 24-hour race debut of our new Mercedes-AMG GT2 was absolutely respectable as well. Like many in the field, we also had to deal with an incident with every car. But nevertheless, we have shown which potential this car has here at the Nordschleife.”
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing
“Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pace this year to make it by our own means from the beginning. We had good internal fights at Mercedes-AMG and all in all, it was a really good team effort by everyone. One thing is certain: we will attack again next year.”
Philip Ellis, Mercedes-AMG Team BILSTEIN #4
“We have achieved the best possible result. Unfortunately, we weren’t the fastest on track in this race. But we did our utmost, we had a great duel with Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed for a while. Therefore, third place was the maximum. After such a challenging race, we are almost a little bit disappointed for not having won, but I can certainly live with this result.”
Raffaele Marciello, Mercedes-AMG Team BILSTEIN #4
“I reckon that there were some emotional moments for the fans. I come from the Westerwald region, so not too far away from here, and I had many friends and acquaintances who came to visit, some of them already having arrived on Saturday last week and having had a great week here. The 24-hour race was a cool event. We staged a good show with the fellow Mercedes-AMG drivers and of course, I am proud that we made it onto the podium at the end.”
Luca Stolz, Mercedes-AMG Team BILSTEIN #4
“The race was a veritable roller-coaster ride that, thankfully, we survived unscathed. Maximilian Götz did an incredible job at the start from tenth place and was already up in seventh position even before the first corner. Fourth place is always slightly disappointing as we were so close to the podium. The race in general was very demanding and challenging. After last year’s second place, fourth place is a strong result. We are always very competitive here. However, seeing Mercedes-AMG on the podium is great, so therefore my sincere congratulations to Mercedes-AMG Team BILSTEIN.”
Adam Christodoulou, Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed #2
“Fourth place is not a bad result, even though we had hoped for more, of course. The 24-hour race at the Nürburgring is the race everybody wants to win. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to do so. Teams and drivers have given it their utmost, but sadly, we lacked the speed to win today.”
Fabian Schiller, Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed #2
“It was a difficult race for us and unfortunately, we had to retire following the contact at midnight. But still, we are happy for Mercedes-AMG and our teammates that they made it onto the podium.”
Jules Gounon, Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed #3
“Being on the podium with the #4 and the #6 cars is an outstanding achievement for our team. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for victories today, but the opposition simply was a little bit stronger in this race. Bearing that in mind, our performance was really strong, we have shown super team work together with Mercedes-AMG. And all drivers have done a great job.”
Hubert Haupt, Mercedes-AMG Team BILSTEIN #6
“I have completed the first 24-hour race in my life at the Nürburgring. First of all, I would like to thank my team and Mercedes-AMG for this unbelievable opportunity. Unfortunately, we had a few incidents, but we held on to our strategy and did a great job. We are very happy with second place in class.”
Jordan Love, Mercedes-AMG Team BILSTEIN #6
“I am happy that we were able to conclude our development programme centered around the Mercedes-AMG GT2 in such a successful way. Making it to the finish in the 24-hour race is by no means evident. Recently, we worked so hard to ensure that this car not only lasts but is also fast. Many thanks, therefore, to HWA and Mercedes-AMG that we have achieved this together.”
Thomas Jäger, Mercedes-AMG Team HRT #46
“We are delighted to have finished the race. It was the first long race with the Mercedes-AMG, so that already is a major achievement in itself. After the minor technical problem, everyone, the drivers and the Schnitzelalm team, have done a good job. It was great fun and I hope that there will be more Mercedes-AMG GT2s on the grid soon.”
Mikaël Grenier, Mercedes-AMG Team Schnitzelalm #222