Christodoulou Finishes a Fighting Fifth in 2017 Nürburgring 24 Hours

Posted By Adam Christodoulou / AMG, News, Nurburgring / AMG, Career, Nurburgring / No Comments

Adam Christodoulou finished a spirited fifth as the top Mercedes-AMG entrant in the 45thrunning of the Nürburgring 24 Hours.

Sharing the No. 1 Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Maro Engel, Manuel Metzger and Yelmer Buurman, defending event winner Christodoulou came through from 22nd on the grid to secure a top-five finish after 24 Hours of hard racing on the formidable Nordschleife.

Typically, the Eifel circuit served up the full spectrum of conditions during the race, with blistering heat in the early hours of the race on Saturday making life hard for drivers and tyres alike before a heavy rain shower hit with two laps to go, requiring immense skill to keep the car on-track.

After a faultless display from the team, with no penalties or technical problems and clean driving from all four drivers, 27-year-old Christodoulou was satisfied with his performance, but is already looking forward to getting another shot at the victory next year.

“We maximised everything we had, it almost seemed harder to finish fifth this year than to win last year!” he said.

“It was amazing go see the level of competition even higher than last year as all the manufacturers get more and more on-board, it was literally a 24 hour sprint race throughout.

“We have mixed emotions because we always want to go out there and fight for the win, but I’m really happy with everything from our side, all the pitstops were perfect and as drivers we made no mistakes, it was pretty much faultless.

“Now we need to figure out what we can do better for next year to make sure we’re back on the top spot.”

The hot temperatures caught everyone by surprise, not least the tyre manufacturers, which had completed all their pre-race simulations in much cooler conditions.

As a result, the free practice and qualifying sessions were spent focusing on a setup that would reduce the rate of degradation and coax the maximum performance over an eight-lap stint.

Having achieved their goal of reaching the Top-30 Qualifying session and winning the all-important blue light to help warn slower cars of a front-running car in their mirrors, attentions then turned to the race itself.

Buurman started the car and made an early pitstop to get out of the traffic and into clear air, which lifted the car into the top 10 by the time Christodoulou climbed aboard on lap 20.

Completing a double stint, Christodoulou made valiant progress in the intense heat to hand over to Engel in fourth, although it was hard work.

“It was unreal, in fact one of our Porsche teams did a single stint and almost passed out,” he said.

“Thankfully in the Mercedes-AMG we’ve got plenty of air flow in the car, but regardless of how fit you are, if you’re cooking like a chicken there isn’t much you can do about it.”

Having enjoyed a well-earned rest, Christodoulou returned to the cockpit just after 3 AM and carried on where he left off by setting competitive times.

“We pretty much double-stinted all the way through, which means the drivers get a bit more rest in between and a bit more down-time,” Christodoulou explained.

“Rather than only having three hours out of the car, you get the full six hours and in that time you can get at least three hours sleep at a time.”

In his final stint at the wheel, Christodoulou set the car’s fastest lap of the race as he built a gap of 40 seconds over the pursuing No. 50 Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3.

Engel then climbed aboard to bring the car to the flag, but the sudden arrival of rain caught everybody by surprise, as the German struggled around the 25.947 km circuit on slick tyres.

“I think we had an opportunity for fourth but the conditions at the very end were very tricky and cost us a bit of time,” said Christodoulou.

Despite this, the car crossed the line safely in fifth place, a result that reflects the progress made by Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon since the new tyre and ride-height rules were introduced at the start of the season.

“From those tough first few races under the new regulations, to finish fifth in the 24 Hours is very satisfying. Even to finish the 24 hours at all is a big achievement,” addedChristodoulou.

“It’s been fun developing the car from race to race and there’s obviously still room for improvement, but I’d like to say a huge thank you to Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon, to all of the AMG guys involved and to my three super-quick team-mates who did a great job all weekend.

“I look forward to coming back next year and trying to take back the title.”

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Top 10 finish kicks off Christodoulou’s Blancpain season at Monza

Posted By Adam Christodoulou / AMG, Blancpain, Endurance, News / AMG, Blancpain, Career, news / No Comments

Adam Christodoulou made a strong start to his Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup campaign at Monza, securing a top ten finish for Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon after a red flag caused the race to be restarted.

The 2016 Nürburgring 24 Hour winner showed he will be a force to be reckoned with in the ultra-competitive 50 car GT3 field this season as he brought the No. 4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 he shared with co-drivers Yelmer Buurman and Luca Stolz home in tenth, the same position they started.

However, 28-year-old Christodoulou could count himself fortunate to finish at all, following a start-line accident which eliminated 10 cars immediately.

A collision between a Bentley and a Lamborghini on the run to the first corner forced Buurman to take avoiding action, but fortunately he emerged from the incident without damage.

“Yelmer did a great job staying out of trouble at the start of the race, he definitely had front row tickets to the chaos unfolding,” Christodoulou reported. “Lots of cars got collected, but Yelmer managed to get all the way through without a scratch.”

Once the race restarted after the extensive clean-up operation, Buurman focused on picking his way forward from 11th and made good progress through the traffic before handing over to Stolz, making his first appearance in the Mercedes-AMG GT3. The German driver continued Buurman’s good work and passed the Lazarus Lamborghini to hold sixth position into the final stint.

Christodoulou finally climbed aboard with just over an hour to go and despite losing time boxed in behind other cars in the cramped pitlane, caught the SMP Ferrari napping to steal another position after a brief Full Course Yellow period.

With 15 minutes to go, the AMG Driver faced enormous pressure from the Ferrari and defended his position into the tight first chicane. This was called into question by the stewards and the team received a penalty after the checkered flag.

It was a tough pill to swallow for Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon, althoughChristodoulou was pleased to take a point away from the historic Italian circuit, which has little in common with any other circuit on the Blancpain GT Series calendar.

“It’s been great to be back in action in the Blancpain Endurance Cup, it was an extremely tough weekend but a fun one,” said the Lichfield driver.

“Monza is always a tricky place – due to the nature of the track all the cars are extremely close, which we saw in qualifying with 32 cars inside one second.

“I believe this is one of our hardest tracks on the calendar now done and dusted, the next race on the calendar will be at Silverstone, which is my only home race of the year, so I’m really looking forward to it – hopefully racing at home will give us the advantage!”

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Christodoulou to commence Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup campaign at Monza

Posted By Adam Christodoulou / AMG, Blancpain, Endurance / AMG, Blancpain, Career / No Comments

AMG driver Adam Christodoulou will make his return to action in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup this weekend as the new season gets underway at the famous Autodromo di Monza (April 23).

With 53 cars on the grid representing 11 manufacturers – including 31 entries in the Pro class – the Blancpain Endurance Cup is regarded as the most prestigious championship in GT racing and one that all drivers want to win.

This will be 28-year-old Christodoulou’s second full season in the Pro ranks with Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon, where he will be joined by team regular Yelmer Buurman and German driver Luca Stolz, who qualified on pole for the final Blancpain Endurance race of last year at the Nürburgring.

After a 2016 campaign that was frequently thwarted by bad luck, limiting the team’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 to a single top 10 finish, Christodoulou has high hopes for the new season and is optimistic that podiums and race wins will be on the cards.

“The Blancpain Endurance Cup is known to be one of, if not the toughest championships for GT3 drivers in Europe and worldwide,” explained Christodoulou.

“It would be great to be able to add that to my CV if I can and I think this is the best opportunity I’ve been given. This will be one of the strongest Pro line-ups that Black Falcon have ever put together for a full championship in Blancpain, so it fills us all with confidence to be fighting for some silverware.

“Last year I think we were very unlucky. It was just little things, but it seemed to be one thing after another, so I’m hoping that all the bad luck finished at the end of last year and we’ll be able to hit the ground running this year.

“I’ve made a good name for myself at the Nürburgring and now I’m trying to prove to everyone else that’s I’m not just a one trick pony.”

A seventh place finish at Monza last year marked Christodoulou’s best result of the season and the Briton is looking forward to the unique challenge it posed by Italy’s 5.79 km cathedral of speed.

“Monza is always interesting, it’s very different to any of the other circuits we do,” he said.

“All the manufacturers trim out the cars so they have minimum drag and maximum top speed. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily our strongest track, but what we have found is our car is really good on tyre degradation, so hopefully that’s where the race comes towards us.

“Last year, qualifying wasn’t the best but we were still able to finish 7th overall, so I’m expecting to be able to improve on that and hopefully fight for a podium.”

The Mercedes-AMG GT3 proved to be the strongest package on the latest model Pirelli tyres in the opening round of the Sprint Cup at Misano and Christodoulou hopes Monza will continue to favour the front-drive 6.2 V8-powered machine.

“The new tyre seemed to work well with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 at Misano, so I’m hoping that we carry on that momentum going into Monza,” he said.

“It seems to be one of those cars that everyone can jump in and feel straight home – it’s very civilised, it’s got a lot of weight at the front, so straight away it fills you with confidence.

“Of course Monza will be different to Misano because it’s just the one Endurance race, rather than two Sprint races and everyone is still learning about the new tyre, but so far it’s looking fairly good. I’m really excited to see where we are.”

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Christodoulou concludes Nürburgring 24 preparations with top 10 finishes in VLN

Posted By Adam Christodoulou / AMG, News, Nurburgring, Team Update / AMG, Career, news, Nurburgring / No Comments

Adam Christodoulou completed his preparations for the 45th running of the Nürburgring 24 Hours with a pair of top 10 finishes in the opening rounds of the VLN Endurance Series at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

In 190-car fields, AMG driver Christodoulou brought finished ninth and seventh in the two races, but is confident that there will be more to come at the 24 Hours proper as he seeks to defend his 2016 victory.

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