Mercedes-AMG Team HRT with two top 10 finishes in the world’s toughest race

24-hour race at the Nürburgring 2020

This weekend, the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring once again impressively demonstrated why the classic Eifel race in the Green Hell can without doubt claim the status of the world’s toughest race. The Eifel once again showed its less inviting side: temperatures dropped to 8 °C right at the start of the race. At first, there were only wafts of mist over the Grand Prix track, but Saturday afternoon the rain did not stop at the Nordschleife.

Nevertheless, almost 100 vehicles competed in the most difficult conditions. The fans were missed: Since spectators were only allowed on selected grandstands on the Grand Prix track due to the coronavirus pandemic, things remained quiet around the Nordschleife. But there was all the more action on the Eifel asphalt! Numerous teams fell victim to the challenging conditions and had to give up prematurely. Among them was start number 4, one of the three factory-fitted Mercedes-AMG GT3s of the Haupt Racing Team supported by BILSTEIN.

The race weekend for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Adam Christodoulou, Maro Engel, Luca Stolz and Manuel Metzger got off to such a promising start. Maro Engel was on fire securing the Glickenhaus trophy for the fastest time in qualifying on Friday: with 8:57.884, the Nordschleife specialist clocked by far the best lap time in the damp Nordschleife asphalt – a real sensation. “It was great fun,” said Maro Engel about his fast lap in the GT3 equipped with BILSTEIN EVO RT shock absorbers. “The lap was definitely all that could be done!”

The Mercedes-AMG GT3 with the starting number 2 was also one of the most spectacular cars in the field: “With this racing car in the familiar BILSTEIN colours, we want to set an example for the correct handling of the coronavirus. This simply means wearing masks and keeping a minimum distance of one and a half metres to protect yourself and others,” says Timo Krutoff, CFO of thyssenkrupp Bilstein GmbH.

Yelmer Buurmann was less lucky with the sister car with the starting number 2. He flew off in the second night, qualifying at the Schwedenkreuz on a wet track and damaged his Mercedes considerably. The team obtained the suspension of a test car from the AMG headquarters in Affalterbach and managed to repair the Mercedes-AMG GT3 with the start number 2 until the start of the top qualifying. The reward was a place among the top 20 in the top qualifying session for the Mercedes in BILSTEIN colours.

The first hours of the race were dominated on a cold and wet Saturday afternoon by the GetSpeed Mercedes AMG GT3 with start number 9 and the Mercedes with start number 4 from the Mercedes AMG Team HRT. After the weather had calmed down a bit in the early evening, the rain returned shortly after 8pm. On the race track the drivers now had to brave darkness, rain, spray, fog and cold. Very tough conditions on the most dangerous race track in the world.

At 8.24 pm the ticker then reported the cancellation of starting number 4! Leading by almost two minutes, the HRT-Mercedes-AMG with Manuel Metzger at the steering wheel hit the crash barrier on extremely slippery asphalt. The end for the favourites for the overall victory. Less than two hours later, the next overall leader dropped out: The number 9 Mercedes-AMG GT3 stranded in the Kallenhard section. By 10.30 pm the race control had seen enough: Because there was now too much water on the track, the race was stopped and only restarted the next morning

On Sunday morning, a three-way battle developed at the top between the number 3 Audi R8 and the number 99 and 42 BMW M6 – with a happy ending for Alexander Sims, Nicky Catsburg and Nick Yelloly in the number 99 BMW M6: after a total of 85 laps, the M6 crew finally took overall victory.

The two remaining Mercedes-AMG GT3s of the Haupt Racing Team gave their best after the re-start and fought their way forward place by place. Starting from 19th place, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Patrick Assenheimer, Dominik Baumann, Dirk Müller and Maro Engel was able to finish eighth overall. The Mercedes in BILSTEIN colours also made up eleven places: Hubert Haupt, Yelmer Burrman, Nico Bastian and Philip Ellis entered the Top 10 in 9th place.

The teams supported by BILSTEIN also impressed in the classes with strong performances. In the SP 8T class, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 from Black Falcon Team Textar took second place (21st overall). The Black Falcon Team Identica in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup MR in the SP Pro class took one class victory. In the V2T class the Team Avia Sorg Rennsport took second and fifth place.