Mercedes got its preparations for the Nürburgring 24 off to the best possible start with the fastest time in Thursday’s Free Practice.
The No. 9 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Maro Engel, Hubert Haupt, Yelmer Buurman and Dirk Müller only completed four laps in the session, but their early benchmark time of 8:20.018 was never headed thereafter.
The closest challenge came from the No. 8 Haribo Mercedes of Uwe Alzen, Lance David Arnold, Maximillian Götz and Jan Seyffarth with their final lap of the session, although their best was some 2.118 seconds adrift of Black Falcon, whose time would have put them 12th on the grid in last year’s race.
The No. 28 Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS of Marc Basseng, Connor de Philippi, Timo Scheider and Mike Rockenfeller prevented AMG from enjoying a clean sweep of the top three, half a second up on the No. 29 HTP Mercedes driven by Christian Vietoris, Marco Seefried, Christian Hohenadel and Renger van der Zande.
Between them, Mercedes and Audi occupied nine of the top-10 positions, with only the no. 912 Manthey Porsche 911 GT3 R breaking the stranglehold in 7th position.
The best of the BMW M6 GT3s which swept the podium in VLN 3 was the No. 22 ROWE Racing example of Nick Catsburg, Markus Palttala, Richard Westbrook and Klaus Graf with an 8:26.602.
Qualifying 1 gets underway at 8 p.m. local time this evening.