Rene Rast was able to cruise to victory at the 2014 ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24 Hours sealing what turned into a second half of the race dominated by he and the rest of the #4 Phoenix Racing team – Christopher Haase, Christian Mamerow and Markus Winkelhock.
Both Rast and Andreas Simonsen who piloted the #1 Black Falcon run Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 set a new distance record for the race, completing 159 laps of the 26km combination of the Nurburgring’s modern GP circuit and the ‘Green Hell’ of the Nordschleife.
The final winning margin was just under three minutes, the Black Falcon team promoted to second once the #20 BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert pitted to serve its overdue penalty. There were further late issues for the BMW team, a spin at the Hohenrain chicane at the end of the Dottinger Hohe. The off bent the steering arm of the car, the needing to remove the front underfloor to repair the car in the garage dropping the entry – which had run in a podium places from much of Sunday’s racing – down to sixth behind the Aston Martin Racing Vantage.
While the leaders spent the final hour separated by several minutes Pedro Lamy and Dominik Baumann for Aston and BMW squads respectively delivered the climactic battle the race deserved.
Baumann chased down the Portuguese in the Aston, trying to grab fifth place in the final laps as the they battled through and around slower cars that including the #4 Audi that would go on to win the race. The traffic played an enormous part in the battle the BMW baulked twice by slower cars. Once exiting the Karussell and then again on the final lap when Baumann was forced to gve up his chase of the Aston as he was forced onto the grass as he tried to stay on the tail of the Bilstein livered Vantage.
At the of a race in which the AMR team had slowly worked their way into the top ten after a disrupted start that featured a malfunctioning fuel rig Lamy secured fifth, behind the Falken Motorsports Porsche in third and the #22 Rowe Racing Mercedes that completed the podium finishers with drivers Michael Zehe, Christian Hohenadel, Nico Bastian and Maro Engel.
Other moments of the final hours threatened the drama that could still unfold. Kremer Racing’s SP7 Porsche suffered a flat right-rear tyre inside the final hour, the driver limping the machine back to the pits only for the carass to come apart within sight of the pitlane, taking the door off with it as it flailed madly around.
Despite the risks inhernent in any lap of the ‘ring both the Porsche and Black Falcon Mercedes took on final laps when either could have slower to be the first to take the checkered flag, put out at 4am regardless, rather than to the winner on his first time over the line after time expired.
Late problems for the #23 Rowe Mercedes promoted the SP-Pro class winning Gazoo Racing Lexus LFA Code X to eleventh overall, immediately ahead of both the SP7 winners, the #56 Black Falcon Porsche team and the SP8 winners, another from the Gazoo Racing stable, the more standard Lexus LFA.
Raeder Motorsport won the SP3T class by a lap and took 21st overall, while in 24th overall Besaplast Racing Team won SP4T. Completing 139 laps the #91 Prosport-Performance Porsche team won the SP10/GT10 class by two laps from the #100 Aston Martin Test Centre entered V8 Vantage.
2014 ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24 Hours overall standings after 24 hours:
1 – #4 Phoenix Racing Audi – Haase/Mamerow/Rast/Winkelhock
2 – #1 Black Falcon Mercedes – Bleekemmolen/Simonsen/Menzel/Arnold
3 – #22 Rowe Racing Mercedes – Zehe/Hohenadel/Bastian/Engel
4 – #44 Falken Motorsports Porsche – Henzler/Dumbreck/Ragginger/Imperatori
5 – #007 Aston Martin Racing – Lamy/Mucke/Turner
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