The Black Falcon team of Bernd Schneider, Sean Edwards, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Nicki Thiim have won the 2013 Nurburgring 24 Hours two minutes 39 seconds. It was the first ever win at the event for Mercedes, and Edwards becomes only the second Briton to win the race, behind Any Priaulx.
That margin was cut significantly in the final laps by a charging Maxime Martin in the BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS BMW Z4 GT3. The fastest man on the circuit Martin had to fight back from fourth place after a late final stop, passing the battling pair of ROWE Racing Mercedes SLS to go move up to second in a matter of corners.
On his outlap from the pit Martin cleaved more than 20 seconds from the gap to the two teammates, who had been running line astern for several laps previous. Martin hounded #23 round the GP circuit before making the pass for third after the Merc driver used too much kerb through the chicane early on the Nordschleife. He was past the second ROWE car only a few corners later when he moved round the outside of the #22 car at Schwedenkraus.
With more than three minutes to make up a challenge for the need never looked likely but Martin pushed on regardless, taking his challenge to the lead onto the last lap of the 88 completed in the curtailed 24 Hour race. Martin shared the #25 car with Andrea Piccini, Yelmer Buurman and Richard Goransson. The top two were the only two finish on the lead lap – the Nurburgring regulations showing the checkered flag to the first car to cross the finish line after time expires.
The #23 ROWE Racing car was called into the pits for a final splash and dash, allowing the #22 car to take third for the team for Klaus Graf, Thomas Jager, Jan Seyffarth and Nico Bastian. The #23 squad kept fourth place ahead of the #1 G-Drive Racing by Phoenix Audi – the best of the R8’s in the race.
The best Porsche in the overall standings was also the SP7 winner, the Manthey Racing team of Lucas Luhr, Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard dominating the class to win by three laps over another of the Porsche run out of Olaf Manthey’s stable – the #12 Wochenspeigel Team Manthey entry.
Having led the SP10 (GT4) class for much of the closing stages the Nova Race crew lost the lead late on to the Bonk Motorsport #58 team.
Full report to follow
2013 Nurburgring 24 Hours selected class winners
SP9 – #9 Black Falcon Mercedes – Bleekemolen/Edwards/Schneider/Thiim
SP7 – #18 Manthey Racing Porsche – Bernhard/Dumas/Lieb/Luhr (7th overall)
SP8 – #81 Corvette – Guttroff/Kiesch/Klasen/Strycek (21st overall)
SP4T – #105 Besaplast Racing Audi – Kovac/Lestrup/Thiim/Tshornia (23rd overall)
SP3T – #111 Raeder Motorsport Audi – Breuer/Deegener/Schmidtmann/Wohlfarht (25th overall)
SP10 – #56 Bonk Motorsport BMW – Akata/Mies/Uebler/’Wolf Silverster’ (28th overall)
SP2T – #216 Peugeot Automobiles Peugeot – Frankenhout/Niederhauser/Radermecker/Ricci (32nd overall)