Shane Lewis Nürburgring Return Disappointing But Spurs Additional Desire to Win
NÜRBURGRING, Germany, May 11, 2005 - The weekend at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring got off to a rough start for Jupiter, Florida's Shane Lewis. It ended worse with a 20th place finish in the A7 class of the 270 car field. Despite all of that, the race holds a special place in his heart and Lewis plans to return to search for victory again next year. The frustrations of this year only served to spur the second year Nürburgring driver's desire to win one of motorsports most challenging events.
The No. 3 steam-racing Porsche 911 GT3 ST Lewis was entered in missed the first of the only two practice/ qualifying sessions for the 33rd Annual ADAC Zürich 24-Hour Race Nürburgring Nordschleife because of fuel pressure problems. The team was then faced with an uphill battle trying to qualify for the race on the 25.359 kilometers (15.75 miles), 73-turn Nordschleife circuit, fine-tune the recently completed 996-based Porsche to the new Michelin tires and get seat time for the four-man driving squad of Lewis, Vic Rice (San Rafael, Calif., USA), Achim Berg (Hennef, Germany) and Michael Schratz (Leverkusen, Germany). The German-based team came back strong in the second session posting the 36th fastest time overall (nine minutes, 59.497 seconds) and the eighth quickest lap in the class. That was to be the highpoint of the weekend.
Shane Lewis was given the honor of taking the green flag for the event. However, before he could begin his march towards the front, the fuel pressure gremlin, which was believed to be fixed, forced an early pit stop. Lewis handed driving duties over to 2004 Grand American Rolex Series team-mate Vic Rice. As Rice lapped the circuit in his first stint behind the wheel, a punctured tire forced a long, excruciatingly slow return to pit lane and another early stop. Despite the time lost, the team continued to fight to recapture the lost laps. Adding to the struggle was the weather; the worst of any previous Nürburgring 24 Hour. Cold and wet conditions faced the competitors throughout the weekend with freezing temperatures threatening during the night time hours. During his first stint, Berg was pushing hard to make up lost time and came across a virtual river of water crossing the track. Unfortunately, it was too late to react and that put the No. 3 Porsche into the guardrail. After limping back to the pits the team repaired the badly damaged car and sent Lewis out to see if it could continue. After a gallant effort to overcome the accident, it was determined the Porsche was too far damaged to continue and was retired from competition.
Lewis returns to North America this week to begin preparations for the May 21st Six Hours of Mont-Tremblant in Canada. There he will be back behind the wheel of the No. 3 PAP-Parts/ OZEXE BMW-Riley Daytona Prototype in Grand American Rolex Sports Car competition.
Shane Lewis: I'm disappointed for sure. We had such a strong showing last year and we were confident of our effort for 2005. To have mechanical problems was tough enough, then to have the torrential weather, well, let's just say this was a character builder. Although I didn't think I needed anymore character. I do want to come back though. I think this is one of the most amazing events in all of motorsports. It's now more of a challenge than ever. I really want to tame Green Hell."
For more on Shane Lewis please see www.ShaneLewis.com. Steam-Racing can be found at www.steam-racing.com.
Information, in both English and German, on the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, is available at www.adac.24h-rennen.de