Maxime Martin Nurburgring 24 Hour race report

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24 Hours of the Nürburgring
First experience, brilliant performance!

Maxime Martin
Maxime Martin

Photo by: Ed Fahey

Maxime Martin will never forget this last weekend. Because one can never forget the experience of competing in the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring for the first time on the Nordschleife, also known as the Green Hell... "An incredible experience, Maxime commented. A mythical race, and something it will always remain! Everything at the Ring is exceptional, going so far as to say quite extreme. There were no less than 175 cars on this crazy circuit. Not only are you overtaking the odd Renault Clio, but even an Opel Manta! It goes without saying that the differences in speed are quite unbelievable. It requires some highly precise driving, with on the one hand the perpetual anticipation and on the other on-going concentration …"

And then there are the spectators for these 24 Hours of the Ring… “They are everywhere. 300.000 persons! It’s just like Le Mans. They set up tents and camping-cars everywhere! They are there to party and watch the cars fly passed, in a décor like no other. The link with the drivers is not quite the same as at Le Mans, but it is truly impressive … »

From a sporting angle. For their initial experience at these 24 Hours of the Nürburgring, the Marc VDS Racing team’s main ambition was to assimilate, learn and if at all possible finish the race. “As from the qualifying sessions we knew that we had the right rhythm, Martin continued. I finished in 14th place, but we could have done better. But there was no point in taking unnecessary risks. On the other hand right from the start of the race, Bas Leinders, Markus Palttala and myself suddenly realised how physical these 24 Hours of the Ring were! We were the only team with three drivers. All the other cars were being manned by four drivers, and now we know why! We carried out double stints, which implied on-going stints of between 2.30hrs and 2.50hrs in the car. When you get out you are worn out! A driver really gets shaken about on the Nordschleife … One takes risks when overtaking the innumerable number of slower cars, one has to be over alert at all times and the track conditions can change from one moment to another. Truly tiring; both physically as also mentally. On top of that there’s always something happening on the track. There are numerous accidents, one needs to overtake ambulances, the marshals place warning cones where cars have collided whilst they try to remove them from the track. It’s very special, in fact quite unique … “

On the one hand unique but on the other highly enriching, all the more so when the results exceed all expectations. On its debut in the Eifel, The Marc VDS Racing BMW Z4 GT3 finished fourth overall, behind three works cars and in front of many others, and more importantly ahead of all the other Z4 GT3 teams. “It’s quite simple, apart from the blown tyre I experienced after only 5 laps, just as I was heading up on to the straight and therefore without too much time loss, we didn’t have any major mechanical problems. I believe that we treated the car with great respect, especially the transmission, which allowed us to avoid any serious mechanical worries as compared to some of our immediate competitors. This result is thanks to the entire team. This weekend at the Nürburgring, the Marc VDS Racing team has undoubtedly shown itself to be amongst one of the top players. We’ll be back in the Green Hell, that’s for sure, but our fourth place has left us with the sweet smell of great success to come … “

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Series ENDURANCE
Tags bmw, marc vds, martin