20.05.2012 - Valentin Hummel at the finish line of 24h Nurburgring
After five 24-hour races so far, Valentine decided at short notice to participate the third time in the largest sporting event of Germany, the 24-hour race at the Nurburgring. The team of his choice, of course, Sorg Rennsport in Wuppertal with his BMW 325i E92 Coupe. Valentin drove with this team several times before and liked not only the familiar and friendly atmosphere but also professional preparation of the vehicle and its use. The driver colleague Philipp Leisen, Dominik Greb, and John Black knew the Nordschleife very well and all were hoping for a successful race weekend.
In the first free practice Valentin said, that the rear axle was too soft, what Philip confirmed then. But the two slower drivers wanted the rear axle to be more soft, so it was decided to put this request in order to make them faster.
Valentin was allowed to go first in the first Qualifying to do his two laps. With a 10:30.221 min. he set the first fastest time in the V4 class. With the softer setup he was not happy. Philip then improved the time to a 10:19.125 minutes, which substantiated the claim to the No. 1 team in Class V4. The other two pilots were slower with the softer setup than in the free practice and agreed a harder setup, what made Valentin and Philip very happy. To test this new setup, Valentin was just before the end of qualifying on the track again, but remained with a faulty fuel supply on the track. Until the car was back in the pits, the qualifying was over. But even this few meters but have been enough to confirm the new setup as successful.
At the 2nd Qualifying Valentine declined to drive so that the two slower drivers could get some more laps to get used to the car with the new setup. Since none of the competitors could beat the time of the day before, P1 in class led to a starting place in row 12 of the 3rd Start group.
Philip was allowed to drive the start, because he had driven the best qualifying time. After the start, Philip quickly controlled the pace of V4 class. After one hour he was already leading by far with fastest lap 10:32.957 min. As second driver it was Valentine's turn then. In his 7th lap he did a 10:30.662 min then the fastest race lap in the class. This lap time was not beaten in the first 11 hours of the race until he improved the fastest time in class again with a 10.30.345 min. in the middle of the night. But before that his teammate had a broken suspension and lost 20.5 minutes in the pit and dropped down to 3rd place in class.
After half time it came with a gearbox failure even thicker. The installation of a replacement gear in the morning lasted 1h22Min. and the dream of a podium finish burst. When the race was resumed they found themselves again on the 7th place. Unimpressed Philip improved the best lap time from the night of Valentine to another 1 sec in 10:29.056 minutes. At about 11.15 Valentin was back behind the wheel and has blown for his last stint to attack again the fastest lap of the V4 class but with losing the ABS and a lack of power he was happy to be able to overtake one competitor and come back to the pit on 6th postion.
Nevertheless, the team then reached the finish after 24:02.51,419 hours on the 85th of 169 starters and 6th place in class of 10 starters. With 35% not finishing it was a respectable performance. In particular, the service team of Sorg Rennsport was the thanks of the drivers, because they had the defect devil successfully fought and ultimately triumphed.
Valentin thoughtfully after the race. "So many much faster GT3 cars have never been taken into account when driving. Even in a harmless bump carbon splitter fly on the track and cause punctures on the following vehicles. During the race we drove the BMW on an average speed of up to 160kph and top speeds of 245kph. At that speed a puncture is already dangerous but the GT3 drive an average speed of up to 200kph and top speeds of over 285kph. In case of an accident at that speed you really need some good guardian angel. There have been many accidents, all of which have left unscathed and it was a fantastic event, which has reached from my point of view the limit. In the night I was driving with the production-based BMW 325i the same lap times as an amateur on a Porsche 997 Cup car. Professional drivers usually do at night faster lap times than in the day, as more oxygen is in the air and therefore the engines have more power. The amateurs are slower by 10-20%. When the GT3 will be even faster, then it must therefore also be a qualifying with a minimum time to reach each driver at night, otherwise the speed difference is too big and too dangerous for everyone involved. "