MANN-FILTER and the myth of the Nürburgring – the Mamba at the 24-hour race
Participation in the 50th anniversary of the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring was to be one of the highlights of the 2022 motorsport season for MANN-FILTER and Landgraf Motorsport. After more than 20 hours of race fever, a terrific atmosphere and a well-rehearsed team, the “Green Hell” lived up to its name and the race came to an unfortunate end for the MANN-FILTER Mamba.
Ludwigsburg, June 1, 2022 – At the 50th anniversary of the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, it was an honor for MANN-FILTER to celebrate the comeback on the Nordschleife with the ever-popular Mercedes Mamba. In front of a crowd of more than 230,000 spectators who had made the pilgrimage to the Eifel region from all over the world, MANN-FILTER started together with its proven partner Landgraf Motorsport and a professional driver line-up consisting of the two Nordschleife professionals Dominik Baumann (29, Austria) and Patrick Assenheimer (30, Germany), as well as the junior duo Julien Apothéloz (21, Switzerland) and Luca-Sandro Trefz (20, Germany).
Mamba fans provide goose bumps feeling
After two years of the pandemic and no visitors allowed, this year was a very special return for MANN-FILTER to the most famous racetrack in the world. Full stands, all-night parties and fans from all over the world. During the festival, the MANN-FILTER team provided spectators with caps, autographs and also mingled with the campers to absorb the very special atmosphere. Even the four Mamba snake charmers felt right at home in the atmosphere amid yellow-green colors, caps and T-shirts. The support of the fans gave the whole team goosebumps and made it easy for the team to hold out for more than 24 hours and give their all to deliver an exciting race to the spectators.
MANN-FILTER and Landgraf Motorsport – a well-established team
During qualifying for the starting position for the 24-hour classic, Patrick Assenheimer completed the fastest Mamba lap and with the 27th place provided the quartet with an acceptable starting position. The team was well aware in advance that the race would not be decided in the first corner, so they decided on their joint tactics: Staying out, getting through, maintaining consistency. The race was released with the signal and a fast, flying start. 24 hours of action! 24 hours of MANN-FILTER Beast Mode-On! The Mercedes AMG GT3 ran like clockwork, reeling off lap after lap. The drivers took turns diligently and the fans cheered every time the yellow-green Mercedes raced through the corners.
Catching up during the night after damper damage
After a defect on the damper, however, the Mamba had to return to the pits. The quick Landgraf mechanics repaired the damage in no time. Nevertheless, the time loss at this point was already enormous, which pushed the MANN-FILTER Mamba back to 37th place. This increased the ambition of the four drivers once more. During the night, the team stepped on the gas pedal considerably and worked its way up into the top 15. The goal of the podium in the PRO-AM classification was firmly planned at this point. But as we all know, things turned out differently than expected.
The myth of the Nordschleife strikes again – breakdown after 22.5 hours
The finish line was already within reach when the “Green Hell” lived up to its name. Two hours before the end of the race, the weather changed. The first raindrops gathered on the vehicles' windshields. Some parts of the track were already wet, while other sections remained dry. The first cars came to the pits for a tire change and the Landgraf Motorsport team also opted for cut slicks to provide more grip. This was no easy task for Luci Trefz, who sat behind the wheel of the Mamba, given the circumstances. He bravely collected kilometers before the myth of the Nordschleife struck in the end. The Mamba slid, lurched, and crashed. In the end, the damage was too great to continue its journey. The abrupt end of a successful performance. Disappointment spread through the team.
“Everything pointed to a friendly end to the race. But in my stint, the Nordschleife presented itself as enormously difficult”, said Luci Trefz. “The tire choice we made as absolutely right. Although I no longer saw any raindrops on the windshield, the track was damp at the accident site. I didn't make the corner”.
Team-mate Patrick Assenheimer was also broken after the end of the race: “Of course, you're disappointed when you drop out so close to the end in a 24-hour race. We had fought our way back and it looked promising. Unfortunately, we lacked the last bit of luck in the end”.
MANN-FILTER takes positive stock
They worked hard, always stuck together and never gave up: Despite the unfortunate end to the race, the team is feeling positive after the weekend. The atmosphere, the fans’ support and the very special Nürburgring-Nordschleife spirit remains in everyone's memory and ensures unforgettable moments:
“For me, it was the first 24-hour race on the Nordschleife”, says youngster Julien Apothéloz. “I just recently got my permit. This was a new experience for me and with all the fans it was unique and a lot of fun. The whole team did a super job. The fact that it wasn't enough in the end is a shame, but that could have happened to any of us. We showed over 20 hours that we maintain good speed. That is something we can be proud of”.
Dominik Baumann, who only joined the team shortly before the race weekend, can only agree: “I felt at home right away. Based on a pure performance point of view, we could well have achieved our goal. We can't blame anyone. On the team side, we didn't make
Winning together – losing together – the MANN-FILTER team spirit
Landgraf Motorsport team boss Klaus Landgraf, who himself sat behind the wheel at the 24-hour race in earlier times, knows all about the pitfalls of the track. He knows the myth of the “Green Hell” and draws a positive balance: “Our team and drivers have been working hard and passionately towards the 24-hour race recently. Due to a defect, we fell back to 37th place and managed to fight our way up to 14th place during the night. Unfortunately, this outstanding performance was not rewarded in the end. I very much thank the entire team, the drivers and our partner MANN-FILTER. We will emerge out of this situation stronger and will be back on the grid next year”.
MANN-FILTER concludes an exciting race weekend and takes away experience, impressions and a very special goosebump feeling as a souvenir. In the end, the Mamba had to admit defeat to the “Green Hell”. But setbacks only join a team closer together and allow it to emerge stronger from the situation. Putting things behind us and looking ahead: MANN-FILTER will return and overcome the myth at some point, the team is unanimous on this point.
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