A brutal weekend of fast competition at the Nürburgring 24 Hour endurance race closed on Sunday, with the production-based Milltek Sport Toyota GT86 securing an impressive second-place finish in their class. As a result of improving pace and mastery of the GT86 itself, the Milltek Sports' team has grown in its confidence and capability over the recent years. During qualifying, the team displayed a confident performance across the two sessions and secured eighth place in class.
Race day began bright and breezy with a threat of rain predicted. Keen to make an impact on the days drive whilst the conditions remained good, the first leg was tackled by a hard and fast charge from Swiss driver Manuel Amweg. This leg passed without incident, enabling Amweg to climb steadily to the sixth position before handing over to the second Milltek driver Werner Gusenbauer.
Discharging through the clear space, the rear-wheel drive specialist Gusenbauer set about shredding time away from the cars ahead. At the end of his leg, Werner had climbed an additional four places, creating a purposeful position his son Moritz to make even further progress, until eventually a curtain of torrential rain and driving winds brought about a raised level of jeopardy.
The region is known for its temperamental climate but even Nürburgring veterans were stunned at the ferocity of the 2.00am downpour, which continued throughout the night.
Only three hours from the end of the race the organisers took the step of red-flagging the race, due to the ensuing conditions that had left cars strewn from the track. This allowed the crashed cars to be removed safely as the weather finally ran out of energy. The final leg of the race soon restarted, with only two hours remaining on the clock.
British driver Dale Lomas, a specialist in low-grip, low-visibility conditions, steered through the final leg for team Milltek Sport. Although, even Lomas was challenged, due to natures visibility contributions an additional leak in the car’s windscreen surround – from a previous replacement that now misted-up the glass.
Determined to preserve the team’s position, Dale decided against trying to attack the lead car’s advantage. Keeping it clean, he safely brought home the GT86 as the class runner-up in what will be remembered as one of the most challenging N24s of recent times.