NEWS: N24 2013: An Historic Event

The 2013 ADAC Zurich Nürburgring 24-Hour was as thrilling as ever this year and most unusual – thanks to a forced 9.5-hour break between 11pm and 8am, caused by unreal levels of rainfall, spray and fog making the track unsafe. The event heralded a historic, dominant wet weather performance by the thunderous Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3s, with the Black Falcon overall winner and the Rowe Racing cars finishing third and fourth. The amazingly quick and consistent BMW Sport Trophy Team Z4 GT3 came second. No Audi. No Manthey. No 911. Weird! And the Prodrive-built Aston Martin GT3 (#007!) which was so dominant in the dry faded to 10th. It really was a tale of two halves in the two separated sections of the world's best endurance race – one seven hours, mainly dry, then one nine hours, mainly wet.
The highly experienced N24 regulars, Black Falcon and the AMG GT3 Mercedes-Benz SLS (one of seven in the event) secured their first overall win in the 24-Hours of Nürburgring, with Bernd Schneider (Germany), Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands), Sean Edwards (GB) and Nicki Thiim (Denmark) driving from sixth position on the grid to finish the legendary endurance race 2:39 minutes ahead of the second placed car after 88 laps.
Record-breaking five-time DTM champion Bernd Schneider had a largely trouble-free race in the SLS AMG GT3 Black Falcon – after an excursion off track on Monday morning ended without drama. The victory was rounded off by positions three and four for Rowe Racing, with Thomas Jäger a double entrant, taking the cockpit in two SLS AMG GT3s prepared by Rowe! Hardcore! In Gullwing #22, the former DTM driver, along with Klaus Graf, Jan Seyffarth and Nico Bastian (all Germany), came home in third place overall. Jäger, at the wheel of car number 23, aided by team-mates Lance David Arnold, Alexander Roloff and Jan Seyffarth (all Germany), finally took the chequered flag in fourth place.
Alexander Böhm, Black Falcon General Manager: "The ultra-reliable SLS AMG GT3 was once again the cornerstone for this historic victory. All the drivers did a great job – we were really fast, especially in the wet. A big thank you to all team members!"
Hans-Peter Naundorf, Rowe Racing Team Manager said: "I am extremely pleased with securing P3 and P4 with #22 and #23, especially as we were forced to retire last year while in the lead. My thanks go to all drivers and team members. Congratulations to the winning team, Black Falcon."
Uli Fritz, Head of AMG Customer Sports, commented: "We were not among the favourites to win, as we are not a works team but simply a customer outfit. We are very excited about this historic success. So far in 2013, we have won every major endurance race with the SLS AMG GT3 – in January, the Dubai (UAE) 24-hour race, in February, the Bathurst 12-Hours (Australia) and now the legendary 24- hour race here at the Nürburgring. My congratulations go to all AMG customer teams, and many thanks to tyre partner Dunlop for the excellent manner in which they have supported our team."
And Ola Kaellenius, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH said: "A great success for our customer teams Black Falcon and Rowe Racing. I am very pleased that we have succeeded at only the third attempt in taking the top spot in the SLS AMG GT3. This victory is the best confirmation of our customer sports programme."
Meanwhile, Toto Wolff, Head of Motorsport at Mercedes-Benz added: "This victory in the 24- hour race at the Nürburgring is the just reward for the loyalty of our customer teams. Mercedes-Benz has a magnificent tradition in endurance racing that stretches back as far as the 1950s. The Nürburgring has always had a great importance and symbolic meaning for Mercedes-Benz, because this is where the legend of the Silver Arrow was born, so it is all the more gratifying to witness the success here today of the AMG customer teams. The Mercedes-Benz name stands for performance, quality and reliability – which are the perfect prerequisites for winning such a tough race on the most demanding racetrack in the world. I extend my congratulations to our customer teams, Black Falcon and Rowe. Credit is also due to Mercedes-AMG for their outstanding support without which this success could not have been achieved."
Driver Bernd Schneider of Black Falcon, # 9 said: "Our car was super to drive, especially in the wet, and even while the surface was drying out, we were always up with the leading group. I’ve attempted the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring on several previous occasions, but this is the first time I’ve ever crossed the finish line. My congratulations and thanks go to the whole team. The guys at Black Falcon did a great job."
Thomas Jäger, Rowe Racing # 22 added: "Once again, we have seen what a fabulous car the SLS AMG GT3 is to drive, even under these very difficult conditions here at the Nürburgring. Our third and fourth place finishes represent a great team result for us, and obviously I’m delighted for the guys at Black Falcon on their historic victory."
And Lance David Arnold, of Rowe # 23 said: "I’m very pleased that I was able to finish fourth on my very first outing for the AMG customer team ROWE RACING. This was very tough race, not least because of the heavy rain and the constantly changing conditions. I’d like to express my gratitude and congratulations to the whole team."
And we'd like to thank them for the amazing V8 burble and pace they showed in the epic race. The SLS contingent were a joy to watch and have really aded something special to this unique racing event.

Without doubt, this year's N24 top news story – apart from the glam of 007 Daniel Craig turning up to pilot a DB5 in the 100 Aston Martin parade prior to the race – had to be the Aston Martin Rapide S, powered by Hybrid Hydrogen.
The car, built by Aston Martin Racing in conjunction with Alset Global (a technical partnership made in heaven, which can not be underestimated for the future of motor racing/performance cars) and driven by Dr Ulrich Bez (AM CEO) became the first hydrogen-powered car to compete in, and to undertake zero CO2 emissions laps of, an international motor race.
Aston Martin CEO, Dr Ulrich Bez said: "We have exceeded our already very ambitious target of completing a full lap of the Nürburgring on hydrogen." 
Aston Martin partnered with Alset Global on the project to showcase its commitment to engineering innovation in its centenary year and should be applauded for doing this at the N24, not in a road car, lapping around the M25. Bravo!
The no. 100 Aston Martin Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S was the sole entry within a special E1-XP2 classification. The Hybrid Hydrogen system, comprising a hydrogen fuel supply system, tank and proprietary engine management system, ran faultlessly throughout, demonstrating the reliability and durability of the technology which could be on a series production vehicle within a couple of years. In the race, the car reached top speeds of around 160 mph / 255 kph on pure hydrogen, producing zero emissions.
"This is a historic day for two reasons: besides being the first hydrogen-powered race car to compete and undertake zero CO2 emissions laps, it has showcased the most practical technology available to fundamentally, and within a very short period of time, address the challenge of global emissions, without disrupting the automotive industry," said Jose Ignacio Galindo, CEO and founder of Austria-based Alset Global.
The hydrogen was supplied by Alset Global’s partner, Linde, via its TrailH2-gas mobile refuelling truck. Hydrogen was stored at 350 bar and a full refill was reduced to just 30 seconds per pitstop by the end of the race. 

Road Magazine is about to publish an N24 special and we have all the news on this momentous moment from Aston Martin and Alset, with exclusive interviews and comments from everyone involved, as well as lots of scoops on the rest of the event itself and a behind the scenes with the Team Falken Motorsport's GT3 R. Stay tuned for more and see some sneak preview images at our Facebook page of the best, maddest race on the planet. 


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