The ADAC Total Energies 24h Nürburgring was the declared season highlight for the Team Giti Tire Motorsport by WS Racing and the unique event more than lived up to the high expectations. With a class win and a podium finish, the team was absolutely convincing from a sporting point of view. But what counts even more is the great team spirit of the squad, which was newly assembled in winter, and which mastered all difficulties in the race with flying colors.
With four cars Giti Tire Motorsport by WS Racing went into the "biggest car race in the world" - the 24h race at the Nürburgring. In the colorful mix of the team's race cars, which started in different classes and equipped with the proven Giti GTR1 Compete race tires, there were hot class win contenders like the VW Golf GTI in the VT2-Front class as well as classic amateur sports cars like the BMW 328i in the VT2-Rear class or the Porsche Cayman in the close-to-production V6 class. Of course, the unique project "Girls Only - Ready to rock the Green Hell" was also back at the start. This all-female team within the team was the spearhead of the team not only from a media point of view, but also from a sporting point of view, as they competed against tough opponents with a BMW M4 GT4 in the SP8T class.
The pilots Carrie Schreiner, Célia Martin, Fabienne Wohlwend and Pippa Mann shared the work at the wheel of the BMW M4 GT4 with the #220 in the cool Giti-Tire design, which together with the house colors of partner Sachs helped the BMW to a unique look. After experiencing a minor technical problem in the first qualifying session, which caused them to lose a lot of time for set-up work, the race weekend went like clockwork for the squad from the second qualifying session onwards. The technicians, in cooperation with suspension specialist Sachs and the drivers, found a perfect set-up and the BMW ran absolutely smoothly. This trend continued in the race. All drivers completed their stints quickly and flawlessly. The pit crew, which had been completely rebuilt over the winter, outdid themselves despite the short preparation time and handled the drivers during the numerous pit stops with absolute flawlessness and routine. This enabled the drivers to gradually work their way up the field and reach the podium. Here the quartet of drivers fought for second place for a long time, but in the end had to admit defeat to the superior Aston Martins. The third place and thus the leap onto the podium attracted great media attention for this remarkable project.
In sporting terms, things went even better for the VW Golf GTI with the #223, which in the meantime has transformed itself from a perennial runner to a victory aspirant in the VT2 Front class. However, the competition in this highly competitive class was very strong this time, as in addition to the private cars, some of the factory-supported vehicles were also on the grid. From a pure vehicle performance point of view, even a third place would have been a huge success here, but the Golf and its drivers Axel Jahn, Ulrich Schmidt, Robert Hinzer and Lutz Wolzenburg showed once again that pure lap performance is not everything in a 24h race. In the end, the Golf was able to take the class win against these overpowering opponents. The key to success was the consistency and flawlessness with which the vehicle, driver and crew completed this long race. The crew was not even fazed by two drive shaft failures, each of which was repaired by the technicians in record time. With the well-deserved class win, WS Racing crowns the long and sometimes hard development work with this vehicle.
The BMW 328i with the debutants Matthias Möller, Fabian Pirrone and Detlef Stelbrink as well as the New Zealander Wayne Moore, who contested his 28th 24h race, had a completely different objective. Here, the focus was clearly on the idea of mass sports. The three debutants and the veteran wanted to drive a clean race and, above all, reach the finish line. Lap times and placings did not play a major role. Thus the driver quartet drove also into the night an absolutely clean race, but was then hit by a lapping opponent hard at the front axle, so that the BMW remained on the spot. After the return transport the necessary repair lasted over four hours, so that it was foreseeable that they could take up the race again, but would probably not finish in classification. Nevertheless, the team did not give up and sent the BMW back into the race. With a good strategy and a bit of luck, they even managed to finish the race with 52 laps down, which was celebrated by the team and the drivers as a small victory.
The drivers of the Porsche Cayman, which started in the V6 class, were not so lucky. The four drivers, Nils Steinberg, Niklas Kry, David Drinkwater, and Nicolaj Kandborg, had started the race with ambitions of winning, having already demonstrated their potential with strong lap times in qualifying. In the race, the team stayed in the leading group for a long time until David Drinkwater had to drive through a debris field in his stint and damaged both rear tires. As outside assistance at the track is prohibited under the regulations, Drinkwater had to change the tires himself after the team brought tires and tools to the accident site through heavy traffic. Dropping back to P6 as a result, the driver crew had fought their way back up to the podium ranks with blazing lap times when a fused engine wiring harness due to catalytic converter damage finally put an end to the Cayman's race. Nevertheless, the four drivers were very satisfied with their performance.
Team boss Thorsten Willems was impressed afterwards by the team spirit of his squad: "It was one of the most emotional 24-hour races for us. Despite the problems, we never gave up and the guys and girls went above and beyond on several occasions. So I have to say a very big thank you to the whole team!" But the team boss was also impressed by the sporting achievements: "The fact that our "Girls-Only" team finished on the podium in the SP8T class is a great achievement by the team and the drivers. After the crash at NLS 1, we had very little preparation time, which we obviously used well. The great media interest in this project shows how important our work still is in this respect. I'd also like to extend a very big thank you to our partners Sachs, Giti Tire, Motul and Endless, who gave us the best possible support. The track support from BMW Motorsport was also excellent again."
The event leaves a deep impression on the team boss: "Three out of four cars at the finish, podium twice and a class win - that's something to be proud of. In addition, we brought the BMW 328i out of the woodwork again and made an arrival in the classification possible. Our team spirit is absolutely impressive and we also had great pit neighbors. So it's really fun!"
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