Before they were stars in GT3, Manuel Metzger and Philipp Eng raced alongside Gerwin Schuring in the obscure SP7 class in VLN. Together, the trio took a shock-win in the foggy 2015 season finale aboard the Black Falcon Porsche 991 GT3 Cup BF up against a field of GT3s.
Fog had been a major issue all throughout race day: Qualifying got underway later and it never really cleared up, forcing race control to delay and start and shorten the race. With visibility barely sufficient for racing, the lights went green for the final 3 hours of the 2015 VLN season.
While at the front the Car Collection Motorsport Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, Twin Busch Motorsport Audi R8 LMS ultra GT3 and Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 were battling for the lead, Philipp Eng and Manuel Metzger kept the ‘White Rocket’ within striking distance. Helped by the speed limits at Schwedenkreuz and Döttinger Höhe – implemented at the beginning of the year after a fatal accident – the Porsche pilots kept up with the big GT3s, losing just a few seconds every lap.
Daylight was slowly dying when Gerwin Schuring stepped into the car for the final stint. He took over from Manuel Metzger, who had taken the lead when the GT3s made their pitstops. Unhindered by the pitstop restrictions placed on the GT3s, the Dutchman returned to the track still in the lead.
After two and a half hours of racing race control had seen enough: Darkness was setting in, fog getting worse again and an oil spill at Brünnchen sent cars spinning off into the barriers.
Marc Basseng had shot past Schuring at the climb to Hohe Acht shortly before the red flag, but by then it didn’t matter anymore. With the red flag out, the standings jumped two laps back: And that’s when Schuring was leading, giving Black Falcon an unlikely victory.
“This is one of the coolest victories I’ve ever had,” Philipp Eng, who at the time was a newly crowned Porsche Carrera Cup Germany and Supercup champion, said after the race. “It’s an amazing car, Black Falcon gave us an incredible Porsche. We were a bit lucky with the red flag, but I guess that’s racing. Sometimes you’re the tree, sometimes you’re the dog. Today we were the dog.”
The incredible Porsche that Eng mentioned was a heavily modified Porsche 991 GT3 Cup nicknamed White Rocket. Widening the Porsche’s body and adding more aero was initially not planned, but when Manthey Racing showed up with their modified GT3 Cup, it was game-on.
“When we rolled the car out at VLN1 we were a bit shocked,” Schuring said. “Suddenly there was a competitor, Manthey, and they had a completely modified car with a wider body and everything on it including works drivers. So halfway through the season we also started to modify the car: We made it faster, wider, gave it more aero with a diffusor at the back and a bigger splitter in front.
“I also had to learn how to drive with aero. That means that in some turns you don’t brake anymore, don’t lift, but go full throttle. It takes a couple of laps before that feels comfortable.”
With the increased performance Manuel Metzger was able to fully showcase his prowess in a fast car. His early-season results already earned him a ride – and a race win – in Black Falcon’s Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 two weeks earlier which jump-started his career in GT3.
“It’s really a big team-effort of the mechanics and the whole team,” Metzger praised the Porsche’s crew, many of whom are still with Black Falcon to this day as crew members on the Mercedes-AMG GT3 factory cars. “They developed the car so well throughout the whole year. We could match the speed of Manthey and had really nice fights with them. And this is their achievement, that we scored the podium and win today.”
MORE FROM THE 2015 VLN10: RACE REPORT | GALLERY | INTERVIEW WINNERS
MOMENTS OF RACING: 2017 NÜRBURGRING 24 HOURS | 2017 BLANCPAIN GT MONZA
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