Sporty and mixed, unbeatable as an event – this is the balance of the 46th ADAC Zurich 24h Nürburgring from MANN-FILTER’s point of view. Both Mercedes-AMG GT3 of the Mercedes-AMG Team MANN-FILTER were absolutely competitive in every phase of the endurance classic on the legendary Nordschleife. Unfortunately, however, the pleasing competitiveness in both cases was not reflected in a top result.
The imponderables of the world’s biggest car race hit the seven drivers and the HTP Motorsport team responsible for the use of the two racing cars in all hardship. The “MANN-FILTER Mamba” with start number 48, which started from position 8, lost almost 25 minutes or three laps after less than 90 minutes due to a crash barrier contact by Dutchman Renger van der Zande (31). Shortly after 0.30 am, colleague Maximilian Götz (32, Uffenheim) lost his left rear wheel immediately after the pit lane exit. Another three rounds were lost. And last but not least, a more than four-minute time penalty for disregarding flag signals cost three of the positions so laboriously regained, leaving Indy Dontje (25, Netherlands), Christian Hohenadel (41, Quierschied), Götz and van der Zande only 20th in the end.
In the course of the great race to catch up, the double stint of Götz was more than impressive after the fog-conditioned race interruption on Sunday between 12.00 and 13.45 o’clock. The Franconian overtook opponents on a rain-wet track and was the fastest man on the 25.3-kilometre race track in this phase. “The car wasn’t just gigantic in the rain. It’s a shame to think what would have been possible without these incidents,” the ex-DTM driver sighed.
The sister car of the Mercedes-AMG Team MANN-FILTER with the number 47 would also have had the speed to take part in the fight for the podium positions until the end. After the Austrian Dominik Baumann (25) took the lead for the first time with a spectacular overtaking manoeuvre at 7.24 pm, the Spaniard Daniel Juncadella also burned down a driver’s firework at about 2.30 am and shortened the gap to the top lap after lap. Until at 4.45 a momentous mishap occurred early in the morning at rank 3. “Everything went great, the car was a dream, I’ve never had so much fun at a car race. And then I wasn’t fully concentrated for just one second, and that was it. I am so sorry for the entire team,” the DTM driver struggled with himself.
After the crash barrier contact, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 proved not to be repairable on site. This ended the “24 Hours Nürburgring” adventure for Juncadella, Baumann, double starter van der Zande and DTM star Edoardo Mortara (31, Switzerland).
Huge response from fans and customers
Although the hoped-for and possible podium place at the big highlight of the season was missed, the 24 Hours Nürburgring can still be booked as a complete success from MANN-FILTER’s point of view. The positive response from around 200,000 fans around the Nordschleife speaks for the closeness and effectiveness of the appearance of the premium brand from Ludwigsburg. The “MANN-FILTER Mamba” is now one of the real favourites not only on the Nordschleife. The now traditional “MANN-FILTER Training & Racing” programme has meanwhile established itself as the perfect customer event. Around 100 guests from Germany, Moldova, Bosnia, Austria and the Netherlands accepted the invitation to the Eifel region and experienced two days full of the finest racing action, but also interesting product training courses about the MANN-FILTER brand.
“We were not able to meet our own sporting expectations,” says Jörg Engels, Director Brand Management Automotive Aftermarket at MANN+HUMMEL. We were on par with the best. But would and would are terms that do not count in motorsport. From a marketing point of view, we have undoubtedly succeeded in making a big impact. The positive response from customers and fans was overwhelming. Our Training & Racing program as an elementary part of our extensive activation activities on and off the race track has been very well received. We will continue these activities intensively in the remaining races of the ADAC GT Masters, but also in the course of our involvement in the European Truck Racing Cup. This season we still have an extensive programme ahead of us, and the plan is clear: Put the bad luck behind us, wipe your mouths off and go to the next race week.