by Adrian Dorofte and Adrian Andronic
e-mail: mercedesbenzblog@gmail.com

Preview: AMG Customer Sports in the 24 Hours Nürburgring

A week prior to the start of the legendary 24 Hours Nürburgring, the race gullwing cars of the different AMG Customer Teams continue to be on the course of success. The second race weekend of the ADAC GT Masters took place in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. In the first race on Saturday, 11st May, 2013, Maximilian Götz and Maximilian Buhk (both GER) of Polarweiss Racing crossed the finish line second. Their team colleagues Andreas Simonsen (SWE) and Sergey Afanasiev (RUS) ended the race fourth. In the second race on Sunday, 12th May, 2013, both SLS AMG GT3 of Polarweiss Racing won the same positions as already on Saturday – once again, a pleasing second position. The driver duo Götz/Buhk started from the second position and took over the lead already in the first turn, claiming the first position for a long time. A few minutes prior to the end of the race on a drying track, the SLS AMG GT3 was pushed away from its competitors to the second place. In the championship, Götz/Bukh managed to win the sixth position, while their team colleagues Simonsen/Afanasiev won the fourth position. In the team ranking, Polarweiss Racing won the first position.

Podium position in International GT Open in Portimão/Portugal

The second round of the International GT Open was held in Portimão/Portugal. Jan Seyffarth (GER) and Miguel Toril (ESP) from Seyffarth Motorsport ended the race on Saturday, 11st May, 2013 on the sixth overall position and on position three in the GTS category. In the second race on Sunday, 12th May, 2013, Seyffarth/Toril won the 14th overall position after a tyre failure and position nine in the GTS category.

Lead in the Polish GT Championship

Piotr Krawczyk and his SLS AMG GT3 continue to be the leaders of the Polish GT Championship. In the FIA CEZ race on the Austrian Red Bull Ring, the driver of the AMG Customer Team Premium Motorsport Poland came home second on Saturday. A remarkable success for the leading contender in the Polish GT Championship, who had his first race on the track near Spielberg – in addition, on a wet track. In the race on Sunday, Piotr Krawczyk crossed the finish line fourth.

Seven SLS AMG GT3 in 24 Hours Nürburgring

One of the highlights of the season for the AMG Customer Sports Programme takes place on Whit weekend. Seven SLS AMG GT3 will be entered into the 41st ADAC Zurich 24 Hours Nürburgring: Black Falcon enters three cars while ROWE RACING even enters four. All of the race gullwing cars start in the SP 9 class. Due to their good results in the first VLN (Veranstaltergemeinschaft Langstreckenpokal Nürburgring) races, start numbers 22 and 23 from ROWE RACING are already admitted for the top-40 qualifying. As already in 2012, Bernd Schneider and Thomas Jäger will support the customer teams as part of the AMG Support Program and will also actively take part in the race. Lance David Arnold will have his first race as AMG driver this year.

An overview of AMG Customer Teams in the 24-hour race:

- Start number 9, Black Falcon: Bernd Schneider (GER), Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED), Sean Edwards (GBR), Nicki Thiim (DEN)

- Start number 10, Black Falcon: Andrii Lebed (UKR), Andreas Simonsen (SWE), Dennis Rostek (GER), Hari Proczyk (AUT)

- Start number 63, Black Falcon: Vimal Mehta (IND), Kaled al Qubaisi (UAE), Daniel Keilwitz, Christian Bracke (both GER)

- Start number 21, ROWE RACING: Marko Hartung, Kenneth Heyer, Roland Rehfeld, Christan Hohenadel (all GER)

- Start number 22, ROWE RACING: Klaus Graf, Thomas Jäger, Jan Seyffarth, Nico Bastian (all GER)

- Start number 23, ROWE RACING: Lance David Arnold, Alexander Roloff, Jan Seyffarth, Thomas Jäger (all GER)

- Start number 125, ROWE RACING: Michael Zehe, Reinhold Renger, Marko Hartung (all GER), Mark Bullit (USA)

Ola Källenius, chairman of the board, Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “All employees of Mercedes-AMG are very proud of the fact that the AMG Customer Teams Black Falcon and ROWE RACING enter seven SLS AMG GT3 altogether into the 24 Hours Nürburgring. This meaningful and historical race is also an important event for the brand AMG, which has intensively been performing motor sports since its establishment in 1967.That is why we hope that our customer teams will have success in this race. Good luck to all drivers and persons involved!”

Uli Fritz, head of AMG Customer Sports: “This year’s 24 Hours Nürburgring will be challenging for the AMG Customer Teams, as they will have to compete with numerous factory-backed teams. However, Black Falcon and ROWE RACING have been preparing very well for the endurance classic. Both teams have put together a good package with excellent drivers. Several SLS AMG GT3 will start in the front. But one must never forget that there is always a possibility of surprises coming up in the 24 Hours Nürburgring.”

Bernd Schneider, Team Black Falcon and AMG brand ambassador:The favourites in this year’s 24-hour races have had successes at Nürburgring, however, my first aim is to cross the finish line. Unfortunately, by now I have not been able to finish a 24-hour race on the Nordschleife (“north loop”). Last year, we were on the second place half an hour prior to the end of the race, however, we experienced a tyre failure in the last hour of the race and consequently had to end the race a quarter of an hour prior to the end. This was an extremely bitter experience for us – even though the team was consoled by the sister car’s winning the third position. I hope we are going to be successful this year, because again, we have excellent drivers in the team. Our package has the potential of winning a top-three position. I am sure that a lack of preparation will not be the case, because this year, I succeeded in winning the Dubai 24 Hours and the Bathurst 12 Hour Race.”

Thomas Jäger, Team ROWE RACING and AMG Customer Sports coordinator: “Last year we were on the course of success in the 24 Hours Nürburgring, until we had to give up because of technical problems. In 2013, we hope to have a race without any incidents and if our plan works out, the SLS AMG GT3 vehicles will be candidates for a top-three position. The 24 Hours Nürburgring is the most difficult 24-hour race in the world. We are looking forward to this challenge.”

Lance David Arnold, Team ROWE RACING: “In this year’s 24 Hours Nürburgring I will start in a new team. Together with my strong driver colleagues of ROWE RACING we will have a good chance of repeating our success – at least! As new AMG driver, I am part of ROWE RACING for the first time in 2013. I am looking forward to this new challenge.”

180 cars announced for the endurance classic

650 pilots and 180 race cars were announced for the endurance classic in the Eifel. The race will start on Sunday, 19th May, 2013 on five o’clock in the afternoon.

The finish of the race will take part exactly 24 hours later on Whit Monday. The top-40 qualifying for the start order of the first 20 start rows is held on Saturday, 18th May, 2013 from 5:50 to 6:45 in the afternoon. Motorsports enthusiasts can watch the qualifying and race on www.24h-rennen.de and www.facebook.com/24hNurburgring live. The German TV station Sport 1 will show detailed reports on the endurance race during the whole race weekend. The Top-40-Qualifying will be broadcast live, as well as the start and the finish of the race.

High-performance demonstration of Mercedes-AMG

Mercedes-Benz has a very special event highlight for all Motorsports enthusiasts as framework program of the 24-hour race on Sunday, 19th May, 2013. As part of a high-performance demonstration, four Mercedes-AMG vehicles will go up against Michael Schumacher in a Formula 1 Silver Arrow. The vehicles will start at different times from the Mercedes-Benz grandstand but will cross the finish line simultaneously. The Mercedes-AMGs will be driven by Formula 1 star Nico Rosberg, DTM record-breaking champion Bernd Schneider, ex-Formula 1 and DTM driver Karl Wendlinger and by the official driver of the Formula 1 Safety Car Bernd Mayländer.

An A 45 AMG, driven by Bernd Mayländer, will start first, followed by an E 63 AMG S-Model piloted by Karl Wendlinger, followed by Nico Rosberg in a SLS AMG Coupé Black Series and a then, a SLS AMG GT3 with Bernd Schneider. Finally, Michael Schumacher will set off in a Formula 1 Silver Arrow on the 20.832 kilometres lap around the Nordschleife (excluding grand prix circuit). On this special occasion, the Formula 1 record world champion will be the first driver to cover the Nordschleife in an state-of-the-art Silver Arrow since Juan Manuel Fangio in 1954.

66 SLS AMG GT3 sold worldwide

The SLS AMG GT3 is amongst the best-selling GT3 race vehicles in the world. The Mercedes-AMG GmbH managed to sell 66 cars to customer teams since the sales launch in the beginning of 2011.

Uli Fritz, head of AMG Customer Sports: “As newcomers in the GT3 segment, we initially did not expect to sell 66 SLS AMG GT3 in the course of two years. However, because of its considerable base speed, high reliability, its exemplary ease when it comes to reparations and attractive prices of spare parts and ware parts, our race gullwing car has convinced customer teams around the globe. Meanwhile, the SLS AMG GT3 starts in more than 22 race series on five continents and has firmly established itself in the race scene. Alone in Asia, we have eight cars starting in the meanwhile. We hold on to our philosophy of merely practicing Customer Sports with the SLS AMG GT3, no factory entries. Our focus lies on providing the AMG Customer Teams the best support possible.”







~ Official photos and details courtesy of Mercedes-AMG GmbH ~

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