The No. 48 of Mercedes-AMG Team Mann Filter lost one of its wheels in spectacular fashion exiting pit lane tonight during the Nürburgring 24 Hours race. So, instead of waiting for their three-wheeled car to come back to them, a mechanics from the team brought tools and the wheel to the car.
Driver Max Götz was taken for a wild spinning ride after his Mercedes-AMG GT3's left rear wheel came out as he tried to speed up and rejoin the race.
Then something truly bizarre happened: instead of waiting for the car to get pulled back into the pits for them, team members ran out with air for the car’s built-in air jacks, retrieved the wheel and brought everything else they’d need out to fix it.
Race marshals looked unamused with this stunt, as team members ran across a hot track in black racing suits. Yet instead of shutting it down right there, the recovery crew even pulled the No. 48 car out of harm’s way and even rolled the wheel where it needed to be for the swap.
It worked! They lost around thirty minutes to the lost wheel and got no laps as Götz pulled through the Nürburgring’s grand prix track to loop back into the pits instead of going on the full Nordschleife course in use for this race.
Turns out, a crucial wheel spacer was missing when they pulled the car back into their pit stall, so the team replaced it there.
Götz weaved back and forth as he left the pits for the second time, just to be sure the wheel was really on. It’s on, man. Just go—although I have to wonder if a penalty isn’t coming for running out onto a hot track for this fix. I can applaud the ingenuity here, but I can’t get behind the stupidity of trying to run across a hot track. Don’t try that one at home.
At the time of this writing, it’s a Manthey Porsche 911 GT3 R 1-2 overall, with No. 911 just ahead of No. 912 overall. Over half the race is still left to go, though, so anything could happen (including a nasty rainstorm that’s currently around nearby Trier) between now and then.
UPDATE [5/13, 1:27 a.m.]: The team was fined €2,000 by race organizers for this little stunt, over the mechanics going onto the track.