After the biggest win of his career with Maro Engel, Manuel Metzger and Bernd Schneider at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we thought there wouldn’t be a better time to ask AMG-Team Black Falcon’s Adam Christodoulou to pen his first Racing.GT column.
It feels a bit surreal to be writing this as the winner of the Nürburgring 24 Hours. To go into the last lap of a 24 hour race fighting for the lead with the AMG-Team HTP car was something special and it was great that we were allowed to fight as well.
I got out of the car with about five hours to go. And with about three hours to go, Sean Paul said ‘hold on, we might need you to get back in’, so I was pretty nervous watching it all unfold.
It all came down to whether we were going to do an extra lap or not. We had the fuel to do it, but we were uncertain whether the other car did, so we had to keep the pressure on. But once we realised that the opportunity was there and we could force an extra lap out of the race, of course we went for it.
Maro jumped in the car for the final stint and he had to drive his socks off, it was amazing to watch. Then when we saw HTP put their fireproofs on to do a splash and dash and they were slow getting out of the pits, we thought ‘hold on, this is going to be seriously close’.
I’d like to think that I’m normally quite calm, but watching from the pits I was crumbling because in that kind of situation, you’d much rather be in the car yourself and be in charge of your own destiny. I actually felt a little bit sick to be honest!
Added to that, the last two laps are always chaos because you aren’t classified if you don’t see the checkered flag, so suddenly with five minutes to go there must have been 20 cars that shot out of the pitlane. You just have to hope and pray that you don’t catch any of them at a bad point and you can make it through clean, because at that stage your mind always jumps to the worst-case scenario.
The car was working really well all week and throughout the race we had no problems. I was able to keep it on the road when it started hailing at the end of the first hour, and my team-mates did a stunning job, every stint they did was full attack.
Maro was hunting him down and as we got onto the Grand Prix circuit, he saw a gap and he went for it. There was a little bit of contact, but Maro made it round the corner and didn’t run off the track.
Those last two laps went from wanting the race to go on longer to carry on the fight, to the checkered flag not coming soon enough!
Did that just happen? We just won the biggest race of my life. Absolutely speechless. Thank you to everyone involved pic.twitter.com/hSIdlN2dvO
— Adam Christodoulou (@AdamChristo) May 29, 2016
I have a theory that you should never give up, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. Last year is a perfect example of that when the wheel fell off at Kesselchen. I look at it now and think it was mad that I tried to put the wheel back on myself because in theory I had no chance on the side of the track. I mean, how was I going to lift the car?
But part of me thought ‘I can fix this’, so I just tried whatever I could until reality kicked in. I eventually managed to get the car off track and got some tools from spectators and the marshals – okay took me two hours, but I managed to make it back to the pits. I just stick to that theory that you should never give up because it’s rare that these opportunities come.
I’d like to dedicate this one to Sean Edwards because this was the last 24 Hour race that he won, with Black Falcon a few years ago. I only met him a few times, but when I watched him win here a few years ago, I remember thinking ‘one day that’s where I want to be, I want to be fighting at the front of this race’. I feel very fortunate to have been given this opportunity and would like to thank everybody at AMG-Team Black Falcon and everyone involved for all their hard work.