Black Falcon Team Victorious with SLS AMG GT3 in 24-Hour Race

Words Jim Davis | January 15, 2013
The SLS AMG GT3 from customer team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon claimed an unchallenged victory in the Dubai 24-hour race
Words Jim Davis January 15, 2013

Once again, the SLS AMG GT3 from the customer team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon claimed an unchallenged victory in the Dubai 24-hour race (10th to 12th of January 2013). The gullwing car with race number 1 and the drivers Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE), Bernd Schneider (GER), Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED) and Sean Edwards (GB) entered the race from the pole position and won the race two laps ahead. Thus the team continued its success of the previous year.

However, the run-up of the 24-hour race was an unfavourable one for AMG Customer Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon: The gullwing car with race number 1 was damaged so hard in an accident on the test track, the Grand Prix track of the Dubai Autodrome, which is 5.39 kilometres long, that it could not be repaired on the spot. The team decided to purchase the substitute car of the British team Preci-Spark and worked for two entire nights in succession in order to prepare the car for the free training sessions and the qualifying on Thursday. Without a roll-out prior to the end of the qualifying, Jeroen Bleekemolen achieved the fastest training time already in the third lap – thus the Dutch driver laid the cornerstone for today’s success. The victorious SLS AMG GT3 was the first customer sports gullwing car ever that was delivered: Preci-Spark was the first AMG Customer Team that took over a SLS AMG GT3 in 2011.

In the starting phase, the gullwing car of Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon remained among the first positions until it unluckily fell back during several code-60 phases. In a code-60 phase, vehicles are driven on the track with slow speed until the scene of an accident is cleared up and the race can be started again. In the further course of the race, the race number 1 remained unaffected by problems, did not give up its top position in the race and gained victory in the fight for the first position.

Alexander Böhm, team manager Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon: “I am extremely happy! The team showed an exceptional performance. We all thought that the accident on Wednesday would compel us to give up. However, our mechanics assembled the car with a new chassis and showed their full commitment and determination. The car was finished five minutes prior to closing the pit lane and drove for 24 hours without any problems. Our drivers remained the vehicle on high speed during the entire race and did not have any problems with liability. I also want to thank the twins David and Godfrey Jones of the team Preci-Spark for their collegial and spontaneous help!”

Bernd Schneider: “A sensational success and great day for AMG Customer Sports. After the accident on Wednesday nobody in the team reckoned on winning the first position today. Our SLS AMG GT3 was fast on a constant basis and ran very reliably. Now I succeeded in winning the Dubai 24 Hours in my third attempt. I want to thank the entire team!”

Schneider, the five time DTM champion and AMG brand ambassador participated in the Dubai 24 Hours for the third time as part of the AMG Customer Sports Drivers’ Support. In 2012, he won the second position and in his debut year 2011 he claimed the seventh overall position.

The second SLS AMG GT3 from the AMG Customer Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon with race number 2 ended the endurance race in Dubai on position seven. Andreas Simonsen (SWE), Steve Jans (LUX), Simon Knap (NED), Sergei Afanasiev (RUS) and double starter Khaled Al Qubaisi (UAE) started from position 14. The gullwing car had established itself among the five fastest cars, before it fell back numerous positions after a collision. However, the team succeeded in gaining the seventh overall position due to constantly good lap times.

The British AMG Customer Team Preci-Spark entered the race from position 17 and achieved its best result ever in a 24-hour race by winning the fifth overall position. The twins David and Godfrey Jones (aged 59) drove in the Amateur Category with their sons Morgan (27), Garreth (29) and Phillip (32), in which they achieved a sensational second position.

The Italian AMG Customer Team De Lorenzi Racing won position twelve in their first race with the gullwing car. Race number 14 entered the race from the twelfth position with the drivers Gianluca de Lorenzi, Dario Paletto (both ITA), Dan Norris-Jones (GB) and Olivier Baharian (FRA) and lost precious time due to a longer repair in the beginning. In the course of the race, De Lorenzi Racing managed to approach to the top ten.

Ola Källenius, chairman of the board, Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “Dubai is the place to be for Mercedes-AMG. After the 1-2-3 last year, we managed to build up the success today through a further victory by the team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon. This success once again proves the performance and reliability of our SLS AMG GT3. I want to thank the Customer teams, the drivers and all participants.”

Uli Fritz, head of AMG Customer Sports: “Congratulations to the victorious AMG Customer Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon. Apart from the unchallenged victory, I am happy about the fact that all four entered gullwing cars reached the finish line. Having three of four entered SLS AMG GT3 winning top ten positions is an exceptional result. I want to thank all teams and drivers!”