Alex Lynn - Nurburgring 24 Hours review
It was honestly heartbreaking to retire from the Nurburgring 24 Hours when we had such a good chance of a great result. I’ve never felt so gutted. We’d already come such a long way in our Team Schnitzer BMW M6 GT3, and made it through the night, when a slower car hit our M6 on the Adenauer Forst. It was just five hours to go and we were in a really good position. That's just the way this race is, with so many cars, but at least BMW were very happy with our performance.
Right from the start of the race weekend we’d begun really smoothly. I was driving with Augusto Farfus, Timo Scheider and Antonio Felix da Costa: all of them really strong, highly regarded professional drivers. We were always quick, and every driver had good pace straight away. The car was good in terms of balance and the tyres were looking strong as well.
As I explained in the last blog, practice and qualifying doesn’t give any of the drivers much of a chance to do many laps of the awesome 25-kilometre Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit, apart from those who are doing the actual qualifying runs. That was Augusto in our car, because of his experience and his renowned speed in these cars, and he did a really good job to put us fourth on the grid. I only actually got in four laps before the race, but I felt happy with the car. Everything was good, and although we were a bit far off the Audis in qualifying we sort of expected that. We were banking on our race pace and that was really strong.
We had a cycle of all the drivers at the start of the race, just to get everyone into the rhythm. I was fourth to go, and then we started doing double-stints with all the drivers. As the race settled down there were five BMWs in the top 10, and we were the leading BMW in third position and fighting for second. The leader was a couple of minutes in front but at that point we were the quickest Beemer for a long time. Everything was going well.
It was a massive experience and one I won’t forget for a long time. My double-stint lasted from half past 12 to half past three in the morning – proper dead of night! It was so cool, and when I went to bed after that the sun was already coming up. I enjoyed it so much.
Altogether I did five stints, and I honestly thought we were going to have a dream come true. This year at the Nurburgring I’ve come from racing the M235i Cup car when I’d never even seen the place, to getting my permit to race on the Nordschleife in GT3 cars, and then to be in the fight to win one of the biggest races of the year in GTs, and the biggest race at the Nurburgring, would have been incredible.
But it wasn’t to be. We were going very hard for a long time, and obviously I’m disappointed with the result, but I’m proud that we were so competitive. I’ve had a fantastic time with BMW this year and it’s been an honour to represent them and Schnitzer in such a prestigious race. I’m very happy with our performance, but gutted that we didn’t get the result we should have got.
Now I have to look ahead to the Le Mans 24 Hours with the G-Drive team. We have the official Le Mans Test Day next weekend and after our test at Spa we’ve got high hopes of doing well in the LMP2 class. Hopefully we can start that on a good footing!