Even after 15 hours of racing the 2014 Nurburgring 24 Hours continued to deliver wheel-to-wheel racing for the lead as part of a three way battle for the lead between Audi, Mercedes and BMW.
Each brand looks set to have one representative each in the fight that will decide the winner.
The second half of the race began with the #20 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS leading before pitting to give up the lead to the #4 Audi from the Phoenix Racing stable. The third player in the game was the #1 Mercedes, upholding the honour of defending winners Black Falcon after the severe delays to the #14 car which returned to the pits after several hours stranded on track after contact with an Aston Martin from a lower class.
The lead cycled through between the three of them with the BMW leading the lions’ share of the laps between the 12th and 15th hour marks. However, the end of the fifteenth hour fell with the red Mercedes in the lead having beaten the Phoenix Audi out of the pits when they both pitted together at the end of their 97th laps as they emerged from the pits half a minute ahead of the BMW.
Fourth place, but at a distance of over three minutes off the lead was the Falken Motorsports Porsche.
The lead group had been thinned slightly as daylight shoes across the Nordschleife, but unlikt previous hours when it was accidents responsible for the coppicing it was penalties for ignoring the flag signals around the track which took the #22 Rowe Racing and #15 HTP Motorsport Mercedes down the order, the #22 having to take up the chase of the Falken shod Porsche for fourth place, with the HTP entry running seventh behind the Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3.
The Aston team, however, were another to be handed a penalty for not heeding the marshals flag signals, and will have to serve the three minute stop go before their next pitstop.
In the lower classes for the first time in the race the Gazoo Racing Lexus LFA Code X led the SP-Pro class in 13th place overall after the Manthey Porsche #11 slid out of the top 20 overall. The Lexus was followed by the #56 Black Falcon Porsche that leads the SP7 class by less than a lap over the Raceunion Teichmann Racing team entry in the class.
Gazoo Racing’s ‘normal’ LFA continues to lead SP8 as it has done for most of the race with the Besaplast Racing Team and Raeder Motorsport entries classes SP4T and SP3T respectively.
2014 ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24 Hours overall standings after 15 hours:
1 – #1 Black Falcon Mercedes – Bleekemmolen/Simonsen/Menzel/Arnold 2 – #4 Phoenix Racing Audi – Haase/Mamerow/Rast/Winkelhock
3 – #20 BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert – Klingmann/Baumann/Hurtgen/Tomczyk
4 – #44 Falken Motorsports – Henzler/Dumbreck/Ragginger/Imperatori
5 – #22 Rowe Racing Mercedes – Zehe/Hohenadel/Bastian/Engel
Selected Class leaders:
SP-Pro – #53 Gazoo Racing Lexus
SP7 – #56 Black Falcon Porsche
SP8 – #48 Gazoo Racing Lexus
SP10 – #91 Prosport-Performance GmbH Porsche
SP3T – #111 Raeder Motorsport Audi
SP4T – #110 Besaplast Racing Team Audi