Driven by the same spirit of daring as those pioneers who first turned Icarus’ mythical dream into reality, Zenith accompanies adventurers and enthusiasts as they take on each new challenge. Therefore Zenith is proud to announce that following his stratosphere jump in 2012, extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner is tackling his next big challenge on the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring.
The Austrian obtained a racing license and will be racing with the Audi race experience team on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. As a guest entrant, Baumgartner has been gathering some racing experience in recent years during occasional runs in the one-make cups of the Volkswagen Group.
The big difference in the 2014 season: the Audi R8 LMS ultra provides him with a 419 kW (570 hp) ‘pure-bred’ GT3 race car. The 45-year-old is completing an extensive preparation program before competing in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring on June 21/22, 2014. His team-mates are equally prominent: The fivetime Le Mans winner Frank Biela (D), the three-time Le Mans winner Marco Werner (D) as well as the GT and sports car pro Pierre Kaffer (D) will be his colleagues in the cockpit.
“This task is totally exciting and I’m looking forward to driving races in an Audi,” says Felix Baumgartner. “During initial tests in the road-going Audi R8 I got to know the Nürburgring, and in the Audi R8 LMS ultra I’ve clocked a few kilometers on various tracks as well. I regard this task as one of the major projects in my life. The environment is perfect, the atmosphere is fantastic, and I feel really well taken care of by the Audi race experience. But it’s also clear that I’m basically starting from scratch because this sport is new for me.”
Former professional rally driver Josef ‘Sepp’ Haider, now the Audi race experience’s sporting director, is one of the instructors of his Austrian compatriot. “Felix is approaching his new task in exactly the manner that is the hallmark of a pro,” says Haider. “He’s eager to learn, has good judgment of the physical conditions, and is totally motivated. All team members have come to respect him in the initial tests. I’m very much looking forward to our joint journey.”
Once again the El Primero stratos Flyback Striking 10th, the first watch to break the to break the speed of sound in October 2012, will accompany Felix Baumgartner in his new adventure and will be an accurate and reliable partner all race long.
Founded in Le Locle in 1865 by a visionary watchmaker, Georges Favre-Jacot, the Manufacture Zenith earned swift recognition for the precision of its chronometers with which it has won 2,333 chronometry prizes in a century and a half of existence: an absolute record in terms of pocket watches, onboard timers and wristwatches. Having earned fame thanks to its legendary El Primero calibre – an integrated automatic column-wheel chronograph movement launched in 1969 and endowed with a high frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour that ensures short-time measurements accurate to the nearest 1/10th of a second – the Manufacture Zenith has since developed over 600 movement variations. This Manufacture currently stands at the exact spot where its founder built the first company workshop, thereby physically embodying a continuity that is a rarity in itself.