Strong performance by BILSTEIN and Black Falcon

Five BILSTEIN cars in the top 10 and many class wins at the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring 2018

BILSTEIN and the Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon just missed out on an overall victory at the 46th ADAC Zurich 24-Hour Race 2018. In a race characterised by freak weather conditions, thick fog spoiled their victory a few hours before the end of the race. Maro Engel, Adam Christodoulou, Manuel Metzger and Dirk Müller have to make do with second place in the Mercedes-AMG GT3. On the 25.378-kilometre-long combination of the Nürburgring Grand Prix course and the Nordschleife, Richard Lietz, Patrick Pilet, Fred Makowiecki and Nick Tandy in the Porsche 911 GT3 of Manthey Racing prevailed. In third place: The BILSTEIN Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Yelmer Buurman, Thomas Jäger, Jan Seyffarth and Luca Stolz.

Already in qualifying, the teams, equipped with BILSTEIN suspension systems, made the first bang and were able to place three cars in the top 10. Maro Engel in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 with starting number 4 by Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon only just missed out on pole position. The 32-year-old was only a little more than eight tenths of a second from first place. In pole position: The Porsche 911 GT3 R with starting number 911 by Manthey Racing. Behind them were two more Porsche 911. With the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 (starting number 007) and BILSTEIN Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 (starting number 5), two other GT3 cars equipped with BILSTEIN suspension drove in positions five and nine.

On Saturday, the race was thrilling from the start and was packed with brilliant sunshine. After the Porsche 911 GT3 R with starting number 911 initially took the lead, there was an open exchange of blows. In the first five hours alone, first position in the overall classification changed eight times.
Events came thick and fast overnight: the leading Porsche 911 GT3 R with starting number 911 took off. The second Manthey Porsche took over the first place. Just a minute behind: The Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 with starting number 5.
Eleven hours after the start of the race, the expected rain set in during the night. Manuel Metzger, in the Black Falcon Mercedes in second place, came out best with the extreme conditions and started playing catch-up. Metzger made up time second by second on the leading Porsche, and shortly after three o’clock it was announced: The Mercedes-AMG GT3 had taken the overall lead!

On Sunday morning, the leading Manthey Porsche with starting number 912 received a time penalty of 3:32 minutes. The vehicle was simply too fast in a Code 60 Zone in the early morning hours. The Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Maro Engel, Adam Christodoulou, Manuel Metzger and Dirk Müller took the overall lead again. A total of four BILSTEIN cars were now in the Top 5 with growing fog. The race was paused three and a half hours before the end. In numerous parts of the course it was now so foggy, that the safety of the drivers was no longer guaranteed. The race was restarted shortly before two o’clock. The comfortable lead of more than four minutes for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 with starting number 4 was gone. In the following heart-stopping finale for the overall victory, Fred Makowiecki in the Porsche 911 GT3 R with starting number 912 overtook Adam Christodoulou in the Black Falcon Mercedes to take first place after a light touch. Makowiecki would not surrender this lead until the end – overall victory went to the Porsche 911 GT3 R of Manthey Racing at the 46th ADAC Zurich 24-Hour Race 2018.

The unofficial Pro-Am Category was won by Ferrari 488 GT3, by the Wochenspiegel Team Monschau. Class winners were, among others, the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 (SP 9-LG), the Porsche 991 Carrera (V6) and the Mercedes-AMG GT4 (SP 10) by Black Falcon, as well as LMS Racing by Bas Koeten Racing with the Cupra TCR in the TCR Class.

“Congratulations to Manthey Racing! Unfortunately, this year we were not able to take the victory. But to have five cars in the top 10 is a great success. All BILSTEIN Teams had a strong performance,” says Florian Hägemann, Head of Marketing & Motorsport at BILSTEIN. “We are postponing ‘The Legend Strikes Back’ until next year.”