Uwe Alzen: Change of lanes

He is considered to be one of the fastest drivers at the Nürburgring Nordschleife: Uwe Alzen. After fantastic and successful results as driver in Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-AMG race cars, the man from Betzdorf in Northern Rhineland-Palatinate is now adopting new approaches – on the other side of the pit wall…

“No, no, I will not stop racing yet”, Alzen says. “At our first participation as ‘Mercedes-AMG Test Team’, I rather wish to concentrate onto a smooth running of the operation. I will go back into the cockpit for races six, seven and nine – this is the plan.” Apart from Uwe Alzen Automotive, Black Falcon is a second Mercedes-AMG Test Team.

Alzen, though, is not really entering new territory. He was already running an own team in the past and entered cars in races. Nevertheless, one detail is absolutely new: His enterprise Uwe Alzen Automotive is for the first time acting as a development team with works contract. The racing team will compete with a brand-new GT4 for Mercedes-AMG which will run through a comprehensive test programme during the season at the mother of all race tracks before it will be available for customers to race in the next season. “I am absolutely delighted”, says Alzen. “This is an exciting project into which I wish to contribute as much as possible.”

It is not without reason that AMG counts on Uwe Alzen as test and development team. There is hardly any other driver with such a huge experience in top-class racing at the Nordschleife. “For me, the Nordschleife is and remains the ultimate challenge”, Alzen says. “Even after more than 30 years of racing here, I never get bored. There is no other circuit worldwide on which you can develop a new race car any better.”

It is not at all a problem for the 50 years old that this is the first time for him not to be at the level of frontline action. “Me, too, I am not getting any younger”, he says. “And if I am still able to set top times at the age of 50, I will also have a lot of fun in a GT4 race car.” Alzen knows the differences between a GT3 and a GT4 car perfectly and he is convinced of the new race car. “The big differences lie in the areas of the tyres, suspension and downforce. The GT3 class is at the upper limit, these are consistent race cars without any compromises. So the running costs are accordingly high”, he says. “The current generation of GT4 race cars is in contrast completely designed for use in grassroots sports. Both the purchase price and the running costs are much lower. And this has no impact at all on safety. In this respect, they are almost similar. Finally, you do not miss driving pleasure either.” Alzen will rely on a strong driver crew for his GT4 debut: Thomas Jäger, Fabian Hamprecht and Mike Stursberg represent the perfect symbiosis of professional and amateur drivers.

“Our target is to complete as many kilometres as possible in the remaining races and to collect data and information”, Alzen explains. “For a modern customer sports car, it is of great importance to be able to control the car and to have a good driving comfort. And here, we have the perfect mixture, in particular with the two regular drivers Fabian and Mike. They both have already completed numberless laps at the Nordschleife and this in the many different makes and models. They will deliver valuable results for AMG which can be incorporated into the final development before the cars are then delivered to the customers end of 2017.”