Impressions from the Pitwall
I had arrived at the Nürburgring already on Wednesday for the Adenauer Racing days, the RCN on Thursday morning and then a transition from the 24 hour classics towards the contemporary Version.
The Adenauer Racing Days and the RCN were events worthy of late mai, as you can see in the Albums.. Full Sunshine, some white fluffy Clouds and a lot of Pollen in the air. The Training of the 24 hour classics had the same appeal, bright colors and sticky tyres made the sessions a joy to be outside in the woods.
Once finished I sprinted towards my Apartment, quickly changed into my Team clothes and off i went to discover my Drivers.
Alex Toril drives the whole year with me so we have a working way to communicate and have started to learn from each other, the 3 VLN races we did together did prove very important later in the race in maintaing the car on the track, the tyres alive and the position towards our competitors at a maximum. I look forward to the rest of the year when him and Tim Scheerbarth drive the SP7 Geutebrück Porsche.
Mario Farnbacher, the young pro Driver is very well known in the US, has driven a multitude of different Cars and brings a calm professionalism towards the Team that is really appreciated.
Andy Weishaupt, the ADAC GT Masters Driver.. the nicest guy ever.. he already drove with Black Falcon before I joined and was 110% enjoyable and quick.. he managed to always be in the car when the weather changed heavily though, he knows the speeds that the GT's bring to the table and was able adapthis speed to the much less Aerodynamical SP7.
I will press my thumbs for him in his Bentley this weekend.. yes me.. the BMW guy.. working for a AMG Team, controlling a Porsche.. rooting for a Bentley Driver.. what can I say.. I love Motorsports and what we do here is real motorsports.. the SP7 class would be the King of the Ring when the GT3's didn't exist. Somehow I still think we are, at least I felt like this on Sunday.
Arturo Devigus.. I hadn't heard a lot about him, but boy this guy can drive a Porsche. He was consistently fast in all of his turns, his Swiss clockwork like laptimes in the dark and dry parts of the night were very impressive. I put him in the car on the last stint to drive the race home and tried to navigate him to finish on lap 9 .. which he did 24:00:10.594, being the total driving time... talk about precision. ( And he didn't block the HTP and Black Falcon GT's when they blew past him, which was one of my concerns at that time)
The Race did start and we settled into the regular Race Mode towards our next class win ... we did win the SP7 class in 2014 and 215 already.. 2015 with Gerwin, Philipp Eng, H Plesse and Manuel Metzger ... oh look at those names..3 guys are in the Big Cars now.. ( jsut a reminder for the Young guns like Fabian Schiller that SP7 is a very good stepping stone.. and yes i followed your laptimes and even if you don't read this.. you can get some good training with Markus ! )
Then the Hail came.. the torrential downpour from rain and hail, combined with massive gusts of wind made 20+ cars crash or simply slidder off the racetrack.. from Schwedenkreuz to metzgesfeld we had a cover of white ice marbles.
I am so proud of Alex Toril that he managed to keep the car on the track. Of course the Radio system broke down at that point and all i manged to get accros to him was: "10 kph, 10 kph, slow the fudge down".. it worked, he parked the car at the Fuchsröhre compression, took out his Gopro and amused himself in the 90 minutes it took for the cars to be able to drive up towards Adenauer Forst again .. it's a lot of inside jokes on that tape, and it costs a lot of money to put them online so sorry, I can't show them here .
At some point the marshals considered bringing everybody to Breidscheid and bring back the Cars over the Public roads. Yes there was Hail and Leaves and branches everywhere.
Eventually they made it all back and we prepared for the Restart. 19:20 we went for it again... this time without Mrs Holle being a bitch ( german fairytale weather girl).
So you see all these Pictures in the Livestream at night, of sleeping mechanics, or people in the Hospitalities, Lounges.. you know all the Drivers are going to their Mobile Homes, Hotel Rooms or Trailers to catch a couple of hours of Sleep... I hereby Invite you to inspect the Pitwall, where the time keepers, tacticians and engineers don't sleep. We don't. I think it is much easier to stay awake on Sunday by keeping yourself full of coffee and cola... Sadly we didn't have a always filled Red Bull Fridge like in Dubai.. why didn't we Mr. Mateschitz ? Just for the Pitwall people, it would be greatly appreciated :)
Black Falcon is a team that functions. The crew and mechanics are pushing themselves in every Pitstop, what Niko Driedinger managed to do with these young guns is impressive. I don't know if there is a video of a normal Pitstop but the choreography of it is beautiful. I wish there was a way to overlay different pitstops as I am sure the moves are studied and always tight. These guys, be it the GT crew or the Porsche..I salute you. You know who you are.... oh and Chrissy.. man.. you rock. Congratz on the Opel ( yes he has a C coupé now. He is simply a Man of good taste.. and Youngtimer are just awesome)
After Manthey dropped out of the Race, our fiercest competitor we had no real pressure from behind, the Getspeed Porsche had very good times but my Driver Pool was faster overall and our times had less differences regarding who was driving. So I had the pleasure of having my Youngtimer Trophy Heroes just behind us. The Porsche Kremer crew is a bunch of established Men of a certain age ( let's say they are a bit older than me) that simply impress me in every race i see them. It's one of those: " when i grow up i want to be like them" moments.. then i realize they are just a couple of years older and i should get my stuff together and drive myself..
The US-NL-D Train of Frikadelli eventually overtook them.... well.. they still managed 3rd in the Class that i think represents the pinnacle of VLN Racing Spirit. A lot of parts are made specially by and/or for the teams and developped just for this one car.. the #whiterocket Black Falcon is truely a unique model of a car, aswell as Mantheys or the Kremer SP7.
Then suddenly, no i didn't sleep, but it was a pretty smooth race on Sunday.. it was Sunday 13:00 and we started to calculate times, refueling and when/how the race would be finished. Being 4 Laps ahead makes all this much easier... but then the Window for the #4 car to push for a last lap popped up.. and that was THE opportunity.
The Rest is a blur of events.. the 2nd to last lap the Leading GT's came close and close to my SP7.. and eventually passed Arturo directly after the caroussel, he managed perfectly to not influence either of them, but we aren't that slow either in the SP7 and he followed them. The GT's had to drive another lap for the #4 to have a chance ( newer tyres, enough fuel), but I wanted the Porsche to finish as you have to cross the line and take the chequeredflag.de to really win. As I said above.. it went beautifully and Walter Hornung flagged us personally as one of the 2 first Cars :)
Sorry Arturo I let you drive to the Parc fermé without help because then I focussed on the Livestream where Maro Engel did his Jules Caesar Move.
Veni, vidi, vici.. he came from behind, he sah the gap. he won the race.
Anyone who doesn't take that open Door has no place among the Top GT Drivers of the World.
You cannot imagine the feels of the whole Team after we finished.. 3 classwins including the overall #1, the 2nd GT fourth overall, the V6 in the top 30 !!! That is almost a stock Porsche with over 40 GT3 that started in 150 car car.. Aurel, Philipp, André and Miguel did a terrific Job to be that high and they have such a hard competitive class.
The first Reissdorf was heaven, then some tears of joy and relief.. and after the different podiums, the joy of "my"drivers being there and the team being as one.. hugging drivers, high fiveing teams, crew, family, friends.. it came all to an end when i hopped into my M2 and slowly cruised home.
I did my job, as did thousands of other little cogs and wheels in the big game that is the 24 hours of the Nürburgring.. to make it an epic one.. a legendary for me... my car winning, 15th overall.. Adam, Bernd, Maro and Manuel winning overall ( which got me 50€ as i bet on them with a friend) what a journey.
Racing IS life.. weather you are in the car or you help just a little bit. I felt really alive on Sunday.