NÜRBURG, GERMANY - June 28, 2011 - At 23 hours into the 39th Running of the Zurich 24 Hours of Nürburgring, Shane Lewis's No. 73 Götz Motorsports Audi RS-4 was second and closing on the lead. The Jupiter, FL-resident was suited and ready to take the final stint in the twin-turbo, Audi V8 Quattro he had shared throughout the world's most demanding endurance event with Axle Duffner (Germany), Christian Kolhau (Germany) and Vic Rice (San Rafael, CA). Lewis was poised to take the battle to the leader in defense of his 2010 Nürburgring title when word came that the black No.73 was sitting somewhere on the side of the 15.753-mile (25.359 km)-long, 73-turn track known as the "Green Hell". The team would struggle to make repairs allowing the car to run the final two laps of the event. Lewis and his teammates would finish third in class. So ended the rollercoaster ride Lewis had been on June 25-26 in Nürburg, Germany.
The result of the day's efforts was Lewis's third podium finish in four attempts at the Nürburgring 24. Previously, he finished third in 2004 - his first year running the race which drew nearly 200 entries this year - and first in 2010. An accident by a teammate ended his race in 2005. This weekend's podium is one of dozens Lewis has compiled to this point in his career but is sweet in that it comes on the occasion of his 30th lifetime start in a 24 hour race. In his first-ever sports car race, he captured the 24 Hours of Nelson Ledges (OH) from pole position and repeated the feat the following year. Since, he has added three starts at Le Mans ('99,'00, '03) and 14 in the Rolex 24 At Daytona to his resume.
A broken driveshaft was the culprit which sidelined the German-entry for most of the final hour this past weekend. The failure cost Lewis a guaranteed second-place finish had the car continued running even at half-speed and a very legitimate shot at victory. However, it was just the final valley in a string of ups and downs which made-up the race for Lewis. Starting fifth against the factory-backed efforts of Volkswagen, a near-perfect race was going to be required. That was not to be, Hour One