09.10.2016

おめでとうございます(*) – Lexus brings first VLN victory to Asia

The Farnbacher team is always good for a surprise: Five years after the crew around team manager Horst Farnbacher took the first victory for Ferrari in the VLN endurance championship Nürburgring, the team which is based in Lichtenau/Germany came up with another premiere at the 9th round in 2016: With their Lexus RC-F GT Prototype, Dominik and Mario Farnbacher took the first victory for a car manufacturer from Asia. After 28 laps they crossed the finish line 33.551 seconds ahead of Alexander Sims and Stef Dusseldorp who were driving a BMW M6 GT3 of ROWE-Racing. Into third position finished Christopher Mies and Connor De Phillippi in an Audi R8 LMS of Montaplast by Land-Motorsport who had already won two races this season; their gap behind the winners was 41.947 seconds at the finish.

“This is a fantastic result, the reward for all the hard work in almost two years”, said a delighted Horst Farnbacher after the race, being well aware that his team has just achieved something really great. Not only in Germany and in Europe is the Nürburgring Nordschleife considered to be the queen of all circuits, in Asia, too, drivers who are performing well and succeed at the “Green Hell” enjoy a high reputation. All those involved in this victory celebrated the victory accordingly enthusiastically at the pit wall. “I can hardly believe what we did today”, Mario Farnbacher said. Their success was however not just a matter of chance. Since the season 2015, Farnbacher-Racing has been regularly competing in the endurance championship with the Lexus and the team has consistently advanced the development of the RC-F on its way to a genuine GT3 race car. “The cooperation between Lexus in Japan, Toyota in Cologne and our team has been perfect”, Dominik Farnbacher explains. “Almost everything is new in the prototype which made its debut today and it is much more comfortable to drive. We always had to take a lot of risks with the previous one to be fast. We can be much more relaxed now in the new model.” The secret of success was on the one hand the perfect strategy of the team (they changed from wet-weather to dry-weather tyres in lap two which was the perfect moment) and, on the other hand, the constant performance of the drivers who did not make any mistake throughout the four hours’ race duration while their competitors had some difficulties in the challenging weather conditions.

Amongst those favourites who suffered some smaller problems were the double winners of the season Mies and De Phillippi. The US citizen had a big moment after the start when he touched the track barriers at the access of ‘Brünnchen’. “I enjoy racing in the rain”, De Philippe said, “but this mixture of a half wet, half dry track was extremely difficult.” His team mate took it more easy. “We can be absolutely happy with our third place”, Mies said. “We have missed two VLN races and the battles in the leading group are so close that we finally simply miss these eight hours racing.” Also happy with their result were Sims and Dusseldorp, who finished second. “The final part of the race turned out to become really exciting as it started to rain again slightly”, Dusseldorp said. “You have to be fully awake in this situation, we were pushing very hard at this moment as we wanted to defend our second position against the Land-Audi.”

In the timed practice, Norbert Siedler demonstrated that he is a real expert in the rain. The Austrian took pole position in the Porsche 911 GT3 R for the Frikadelli Racing Team. He and Patrick Huismann then finished the race in seventh place. In addition to Farnbacher, Land and Frikadelli, Uwe Alzen and Lance David Arnold in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Haribo-Racing as well as Jesse Krohn, Victor Bouveng and Christian Krognes in the BMW M6 GT3 of Walkenhorst Motorsport powered by Dunlop also enjoyed some leadership kilometres. While the race was over for the Haribo-AMG due to a radiator damage after a collision in the first part of the race, the Walkenhorst-BMW finally finished fifth behind the Audi R8 LMS of Phoenix Racing.

More successful premieres: Bruno Spengler and the KTM X-Bow GT4.
DTM driver Bruno Spengler was overwhelmed with his racing debut at the Nordschleife; the Canadian was engaged by BMW to drive a BMW M235i Racing Cup car and completed twelve laps at the 24.358 kilometres long combination of the Grand Prix Circuit and the Nordschleife. “A completely new experience”, he said after the race. “Never before had I looked so many times into the rear view mirror. But I had an absolutely problem-free race, so I am very happy in the end.”

The two KTM X-Bow GT4, too, completed their first race kilometres at the “Green Hell” very successfully. Christopher Haase and Arne Hoffmeister had a close battle with Ferdinand and Johannes Stuck over long distances. The two teams finally finished 15th and 16th respectively – the double victory in the GT4 class being mandatory.

After the first decisions in the VLN championship had already been taken at the eighth round, another Champion was crowned now at the DMV 250-Meilen race. David Griesner, Juha Hanonen and Roger Vögeli scored a class victory in the Opel Astra OPC Cup and thus secured the third title for Lubner-Motorsport. “A fantastic race”, said Griesner, visibly pleased. “We can now be totally relaxed at the last race in two weeks’ time and fully enjoy it. The team and we, the drivers, have shown strong performances throughout the whole year and we have deserved to celebrate our title now.”

The season finale of the VLN endurance championship Nürburgring will take place on 22nd October. The 41st DMV Münsterlandpokal will run over the traditional distance of four hours.

(*) おめでとうございます is Japanese and means „felicitations“.