Shane Lewis attempted to capture his third 24-hour race of the 2013 race season last weekend at the world-renowned Zurich ADAC 24 Hours of Nürburgring. The Jupiter Fla.-resident opened the year with a victory at the 24H of DUBAI driving the Cor Euser Racing Lotus Evora GT4 in January. He followed that with his first title at the Rolex 24 At Daytona racing a Porsche Cayman for Napleton Racing in the GX class in February. Lewis returned to Cor Euser Racing in Germany to pilot the No. 64 Lotus Evora GT4 in the SP 10 class of the 41st running of the race. He shared the car with long-time teammate Vic Rice (USA), Hal Prewitt (USA) and Cor Euser (Netherlands) for the May 19-20, 24-hour race on the legendary Nordschleife circuit.
“I knew coming into this event I would need to be on the top of my game with the limited time I will get before the race starts,” commented Lewis. “Luckily my teammates were able to run a short VLN race here earlier this month to get a jump-start for Cor Euser Racing. But for me, I’ve had to focus quickly. Unfortunately, the rain this weekend means we have had even less time to get ready.”
Lewis made his sixth start at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring (2004, ’05, ’10-’12). He won the race on the track affectionately known as the “Green Hell” in 2010 taking the Super Production class title with the Götz Motorsports Audi. Additionally, he has two Six Hour victories (’09, ’11) as well as an American Le Mans Series race podium on the F1 circuit near the Eifel Mountain range. The Sunday-Monday race marked Lewis’ 36th-lifetime 24-hour race.
Success at Nürburgring does not come easily. When accomplishment happens, it carries a feeling of significant achievement for a driver even greater than a “standard” 24-hour event. The Nordschleife, translated to the “North Swipe”, incorporates the Formula One circuit but also a daunting additional stretch into the woods surrounding the track. At 15.753-mile (25.359 km), the 73-turn Nordschleife can offer rain in one section of the track and sunny skies at another. The elevation changes can result in massive temperature swings from the lowest to highest points on the circuit. The drivers that will take to the track this weekend can expect wet and cold condition across the whole track for the full entire race.
“Despite the weather, I am absolutely thrilled to be back in Germany,” Lewis stated. “All of my friends and fans know this is my Disney World – my favorite place on earth. Best of all, I am back again with my multi-race winning co-driver Vic Rice. Vic is not only the best co-driver you could hope for but also a great friend. He’s smart and fast, just what we need at this track and in these weather conditions.”
In the first two qualifying sessions, held Friday evening and Saturday morning, the Cor Euser Lotus was seventh and fourth respectively. Final qualifying was scheduled for Saturday, May 18, 5:50-6:45 pm local time, which set the grid for the start of the race at 5 pm on Sunday.
“It’s a very tough field,” Lewis continued. “We’re going to have our work cut out for us and we have to have everything go just right to podium again. I’ll be honest, this could be one of the toughest races you could ever do in your life. The weather is attitudinal, the competitors are fast and well prepared, and we will have limited time to work on our setup. Even if we nail the rain setup, the race is a long 24 hours and the circuit is over 24K long which means we could end up running in the dry for half the circuit and rain for the other half! I have 100 percent full confidence in my team, but we will be working extra hard this weekend; more than usual.”
In his career, Lewis has piloted every major class of sports car from prototype to touring car in 24-hour races. He has made three starts at the “grandfather” of all endurance races, the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1999, 2000, 2003) leading his class in 2003 and he has 16 starts at North America’s only professional 24-hour race, theRolex 24 At Daytona (1997-’02, ’04-’13) earning his first win in the 2013 GX class. Lewis has five starts at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring (’04, ’05, ’10-’12) winning his class in ’10 and taking podium finishes in ’04 and ’11. He has had two starts in the DUBAI 24 Hour (’12, ’13) winning in 2013. Other endurance race starts include six Petit Le Mans (’98-’01, ’03, ’10) and seven 12 Hours of Sebring (1997-’98, 2000-’03, ’10).
Unfortunately, the third time was not the charm for Jupiter native Shane Lewis, who finished seventh in class after a teammate put the car into a barrier.
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