Chadwick, Frey win Nurburgring 24 hours in respective classes
Updated: Jun 28, 2019
Acclaimed drivers Jamie Chadwick and Rahel Frey conquered the "Green Hell" by winning the legendary Nurburgring 24 Hours race in their respective classes.
The 2019 edition of the legendary 24 hours of Nurburgring was decided in the very final stages after 24 hours of brilliant racing for the top positions. While the #911 Manthey Porsche lead most of the race, its line-up of Kevin Estre, Earl Bamber, Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor saw their victory slip away when they were handed a 5:32 minutes penalty for speeding in a yellow flag area. The Team Phoenix Audi driven by Pierre Kaffer, Frank Stippler, Frédéric Vervisch and Dries Vanthoor inherited the lead in the closing laps and took the prestigious victory after 157 laps of one of the most famous race circuits in the world.
But it was a closely fought race throughout the different classes, with many talented ladies behind the wheel; among them, W-Series championship leader and Williams F1 Team development driver Jamie Chadwick was certainly one of the most anticipated racers to tackle the Nordschleife. Chadwick delivered brilliantly, conquering the "Green Hell" and taking SP 8T class victory in the #37 Aston Martin together with Alex Brundle and Peter Cate.
After a minor gearbox issue in the very first minutes of the race that forced the #37 Vantage GT4 at the back of the field, Chadwick-Brundle-Cate quickly made their way up the order until second place.
When the sister car #36 (temporarily leading) hit trouble, Brundle took the lead towards Saturday's evening.
Chadwick drove faultlessly through traffic and completed an impressive night stint, as the work entry from Aston Martin brought home the first success for the brand new V8 Vantage GT4.
“It’s rare that I’m lost for words, but this is one of those moments when it’s hard for me to put my emotions into sentences. It was a bit stressful at the end as we managed the car and the nerves but I am just so happy! I have done three 24-hour races and I’ve won two of them in Aston Martins.” - said the young British lady, "From slipping to the back of the field in the early stages, to clawing our way back to get the win, required everyone’s careful and calculated effort. I must say thank you to everyone at Aston Martin and, of course, Alex and Peter".
It has certainly been a stunning 2019 so far for Chadwick, jumping from single seaters to GT cars with ease, always at top competitive levels.
"I think I kinda split the two, they're so different, you obviously learn different things in each and you can take those forward. Driving is the same, they've all got steering wheels and pedals, but I think the big thing is to focus on trying to separate the two and focus on each individually." - she commented to us during the last W-Series weekend.
But Chadwick wasn't the only female driver to stand on the top step of the Nurburgring podium last weekend, as former DTM driver Rahel Frey also conquered the 24 Hour race in the SP8 class, just one week after finishing in the top 10 at the 24 Hour of Le Mans.
Frey was able to complete a successful recovery through the field and, with help from teammates Berhard Henzel, Frank Schmickler and Pavel Lefterov, brought the Audi R8 LMS #148 to a remarkable P20 in the overall standings and to class victory.
"Mission 24h back to back successfully completed - still a bit tired and flashed but happy and proud." - wrote Frey on her social medias. As Audi ambassador, she also congratulated Audi Sport customer team for overall victory.
The Nurburgring weekend was another milestone in an already outstanding career for the Swiss lady, who is currently combining a full ELMS season with VLN and Audi Sport Seyffarth appearances, where she dominated the Hockeheim round.
In the SP9 class, the GetSpeed Performance entry driven by Shoffner-Hill-Schiller-Palttala brought the #17 Mercedes AMG GT3 to 14th overall position, after a small repair stop during the night.
Janine Hill commented: "Rooster Rojo J2racing taking the Finish flag. 24 hrs of fun and pain. P14 overall and P5 in class- great achievement- thanks to the Profi’s Schiller & Palttala and and incredible team!!! Thanks Mechanics and Engineers & all the support from AMG!"
Experienced and respected Nordschleife driver Claudia Hürtgen also drove to class podium (SP 10) the #71 BMW M4 GT4, together with Michael Schrey, Michael Fischer and Thomas Jäger. The Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport completed the race in a notable P25 and second in class after starting from the pole position, but missed on a victory for a tank issues.
Team boss Michael Bonk said: "Since the tank volume for the race had to be reduced, the tank suddenly faced problems. At first we lost a lot of time for the tank, then we had to change a brake disc and two wheel bearings towards the end. The chance for class victory was there, but in these circumstances a second place in class and 25th in the overall standings was a success".
One of the biggest stories of this year's editions was certainly the #89 VW Golf by WS Motorsport. An all-female entry (included most of the engineers and mechanics), the Giti Tire sponsored team encountered a major setback in the very first minutes of the race, as an engine issue caused the VW Golf to be pushed back into the garage after only 4 laps. The heroic mechanics worked on the car for more than 13 hours and Jasmin Preisig, Carrie Schreiner and Ronja Assmann were finally able to rejoin the track after a full engine replacement.
"After few laps of the @24hnbr our team had to replace the whole engine. Our girls made it and their endurance and motivation was outstanding. After nearly half of the race the new engine was running! It was a honor to me to race the first laps after that long and hard work of our girls! It was great and after 24hrs we crossed the finish line! Big thanks to @girlsonly.ws" - commented Ronja Assmann on her social feeds.
Jasmin Preisig was just as impressed by her team's hard work and committment that lead to the #89 finishing the toughest race on the calendar: "What a week! Our engine was damaged after a few laps in the race because something damaged the water cooler. But we have not given up - our girls changed the engine over night and we could fight back in the race! After 24h we crossed the finish line and saw the chequered flag! Incredible! Thank you so much girls!"
Carrie Schreiner echoed her teammates, congratulating the unstoppable mechanics and thanked the many fans that kept encouraging the WS Racing team during the prolonged stop.
It could have been another class victory for the KTM X-Bow GT4 driven by Austrian star Laura Kraihamer, as the Teichmann Racing entry comfortably led the Cup-X class up until midnight. Incredibly, the #111 team was black flagged for a "breach of noise regulations".
Kraihamer had previously completed a faultless stint and was waiting to get back into the car for her night shift.
"Decisions come along with the sport we love the most and not always we do understand them. At midnight, in the middle of a great race, running on a promising P37 overall & 1st in class, an amazing team, that had worked months to prepare a perfect car and flawless organization, drivers, who had driven without any mistake and fully motivated were pulled out of the race due to breach of "noise regulations" with our KTM XBow GT4...Still hard to realize, incredibly disappointed and still yet thankful for every lap I was allowed to turn in the amazing @24hnbr! Thanks to the whole team of Teichmann Racing & KTM - great job!! Nothing more to say than: WE WILL BE BACK." - were Kraihamer's words after a disappointing finish to a very promising first part of the race.
In Jaime's words:
“It’s rare that I’m lost for words, but this is one of those moments when it’s hard for me to put my emotions into sentences.”
Ph credits: Gruppe C Photography