What an event the Nurburgring 24 Hours is! Wow!
Those were the words I kept telling people over and over again, not only during the race weekend but actually for the whole week afterwards too!
You here about the scale of the Nurburgring 24 Hours but you don’t appreciate just how many people and what it all means to the fans and the major manufacturers that compete there every year. It is truly epic!
Of course the circuit isn’t too bad either! I will never get tired of driving that track. It has just about everything a racing driver wants in a circuit. It challenges you every lap, over and over again. I loved driving it, and in the Bentley M-Sport Continental GT3 it was an absolute pleasure and privilege to be competing in it. Especially as we had that really cool green livery, which was the first time there, had been a classic green Bentley race car since the mega 2003 Le Mans winning Bentley Speed 8.
The weather conditions were typically unpredictable just before qualifying and we hadn’t done a great deal of running in wet conditions on the track. This probably hurt us a bit and we started the race down in the pack, which wasn’t truly reflective of the pace we had in the Bentley Continental GT3.
Guy (Smith) qualified and then started the race, doing a really good job early on. He was coming through the field very nicely and we were up in the top ten after ninety-minutes. But then, as often happens at the N24, Guy was hit by the Rowe Mercedes and he went off in to the wall, badly damaging the car.
The Bentley M-Sport team did an amazing job in getting the car back out and repairing some pretty significant damage. What was even more incredible was that from then on the car was a dream to drive and we were really competitive eventually getting back up to 16th in class. Our performance levels were brilliant and we at least were able to gather a load more data and experience. It was also nice to take the chequered flag for the guys in the pits too because they deserved it after working unbelievably hard all week before the race and then turning the car around after the incident.
You need a whole load of luck at the Nurburgring 24 Hours, due to the amount of cars on track, the speed differentials and track conditions. We didn’t really get any of it, but we learnt an awful lot as a team and showed front running pace on our strong comeback mission. We’ll be back even stronger and just as hungry next year I’m sure.