Published on May 22nd, 2013 | by F_Zanier
Swinging in The Rain
It was the shortest race in the Nurburgring 24 Hours history, “just” 15 hours, but despite that it will be rated high, among the most exciting and hardest-fought editions of the event. Heavy rain forced Race Control to red flag the race for 9 hours through the night, but that just meant less time available for teams to strecth their lead or recover from early odds, and so ended in drivers pushing like hell.
Black Falcon Motorsport won the race with their Mercedes SLS GT3 and good ol’ Bernd Schneider shone putting some decisive driving stints, not bad for a man that is on the verge of entering his 50s! Anyway, the real star of the race was Maxime Martin: the Belgian drove the last two stints for the Marc VDS team and took the grey Bmw Z4 from P4 to P2 boasting a pace that nobody else could match: lapping around the 8.30 mark he closed the gap quickly and with 4 laps to go he posted the fastest lap of the race, an 8.22 that was 30 seconds quicker than most of his competition. Martin was by far the quickest man on track also in the very wet night stints, and actually the race suspension played against him, as he had already built a 1-minute lead when the 24 Hours was stopped.
Just to give you an example of the treacherous conditions drivers had to cope with, above you can enjoy a video taken from the helmet cam of Leh Keen, driving the #17 Farnbacher Porsche 997 GT3R. The Porsche is the right car to have in wet conditions because the extra engine weight on the rear axle helps traction a lot, but despite that Keen’s driving is an opposite lock feast. The lap was filmed minutes before the red flag, and rain gets heavier one corner after the other. Pay attention at 7.29 mins, there’s an amazing save on the Pflantzgarten crest, something that I’m pretty sure required a change of underwear…