Endurance test passed

The MINI John Cooper Works of Bulldog Racing Teams celebrated its racing premiere at the ADAC 24h Nürburgring Qualifiers. Despite a technical problem towards the end of the first race, the MINI performed well and the team gained valuable knowledge for the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring.

The time for testing is over. The ADAC 24h Nürburgring Qualifiers presented the first endurance test for the MINI John Cooper Works. From Friday 6 May to Sunday 8 May, the showdown took place on the legendary Nordschleife of the Nürburgring. On the most challenging race track in the world, the red and white bolide had to prove its racing ability in order to qualify for the ultimate endurance thriller.

In terms of drivers, Bulldog Racing team boss Friedhelm Thelen relied on a mixture of experienced Nordschleife veterans and young talents: Uwe Krumscheid, who has completed more than 25,000 laps in the green hell and has already taken part in fifteen 24-hour races, brings the most experience with him. The three-time endurance champion Danny Brink will bring sustained speed and the young Austrian Markus Fischer has already shown his class and extreme pace in various racing series. The trio is completed by Jens Dralle, Head of Test & Technology at auto motor und sport, who has already gained experience at various 24-hour races at the Nürburgring in recent years.

During the first two qualifying sessions on Friday, all four drivers took the wheel and very quickly agreed on the perfect set-up. The first proof of quality for the Racing MINI John Cooper Works: Only a rock-solid race car gives the drivers and engineers so few puzzles, is easy to drive and thus enables fast lap times. A solid second place in the SP3T class after the first qualifying battle was only the logical consequence.

Accordingly, the team was optimistic going into the first race on Saturday, which was obligatory in order to participate in the 24-hour race. Danny Brink started first, improved from lap to lap in changing weather conditions and broke the magic ten-minute mark on his best lap. After seven laps, the MINI made a scheduled pit stop including a driver change. Jens Dralle took over the wheel and defended second place in the class ranking.

Just how close triumph and failure are on the Nordschleife, the Bulldog Racing team had to realise about 20 minutes before the end of the first race on Saturday, when suddenly the braking power decreased. In order not to take any risks, the team management decided to take the MINI John Cooper Works out of the race and immediately started a thorough analysis. The mechanics put in a night shift to analyse the source of the fault and prepare the race car for the second race of the weekend.

The race on Sunday showed that this measure was spot on: The MINI John Cooper Works showed a convincing combination of speed and reliability in the race on Sunday. Markus Fischer did a double stint right at the start and set the fastest lap of the weekend with a time of 9:53 minutes. On lap 12, Uwe Krumscheid took over the wheel of the MINI and brought the racer to the finish in commanding style.

“We have already been able to gather a lot of experience with the car during the short development phase of the MINI John Cooper Works. The two 3-hour qualifying races have provided us with further, very valuable insights, which we will now use for further optimisations,” says team boss Friedhelm Thelen and draws a positive conclusion to the weekend.

In less than three weeks, the legendary 24-hour race is already on the agenda. The anticipation is also great among the drivers: “The highlight of my 2022 season is taking part in the 24h race. There is nothing better than a 24-hour race on the most feared track in the world. I’m really excited to be part of this project from MINI and enjoy being able to get involved in the fine-tuning,” says Markus Fischer.