How we became what we are. From first attempts, Norwegian log cabins and twice a baby for the Nordschleife: our tst story, part one.
It is Saturday evening, May 18th, 2013. Darkness is falling over the legendary Nürburgring-Nordschleife. The Eifel rain pours down in waves, fog swells up. In fact, nobody would even chase their dog out of the door in this heavy weather. But 200,000 eye-witnesses seemingly do not care. They celebrate their 24-hours race in their green hell. Once a year, there is an absolute state of emergency in the forests around the old robbery baron castle. And that applies not only to the people on the edge of the track, but also to their heroes befind their steering wheels, whom they seem to cheer lap after lap with their oppressive bass boom. Right in the middle of the turmoil of professional teams with factory support, the semi-private and the hopeless idealists: a Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 – a touring car legend from the early 1990s, which of course also has got its fans. One of the three people in the cockpit is a former sailor. For Thorsten Stadler, it is not the first time twice around the clock at the happening. Nine years earlier, he appeares with a big bang …
Flashback: Saturday, June 12, 2004, 32nd ADAC 24-hour race on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. A Volkswagen New Beetle, which is powered by a 1.900 cc diesel engine, is also in the category of alternative fuels. The musician Michael B. Schmidt aka „Smudo“, the former DTM star driver Thomas von Löwis of Menar, the Nordschleife intimate connoisseur Michael Irmgartz and Thorsten Stadler from Hannoversch-Münden take the wheel. Not only the popular rap artist makes the unequal driver quartet in the headlines, but especially a strange finish. After 24 hours, the turbodiesel beetle threatens to no longer survive the last few meters on its own. A Swiss pit neighbor recognizes the drama that is coming up and pushes the wounded Volkswagen over the saving finish line. The crowd is raging and has found their hero. The „Smu“ from the Fantastischen Vier is the winner for them – and Thorsten Stadler is right in the middle. The Mercedes specialist had only started racing three years earlier – in 2001 he got into the sprint at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, and in 2002 he took part in the ADAC 24-hour race at the Nürburgring for the first time. Immediately after the turn of the millennium, this was preceded by the purchase of the first own racing touring car: a rare Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evo 1 from the 1989 model year. That year the former sailor started driving a 190 on the road. He likes the task of keeping the elaborately designed four-door model as long as possible. Inevitably, he becomes familiar with the „Stern“ matter, collects specialist knowledge, spare parts and determines their procurement channels. Of course, this is not much more than just a hobby, albeit a demanding one. Even when he is already releasing a replica of the class 1 version of the 190 that was used in the DTM in 1993 and 94 on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, his main job is not a technology expert. Instead, he sells Norwegian log houses.
When the three-year era of the VW New Beetle finally ends in 2006, Thorsten Stadler moves from a barn to a professional workshop. A new business field is developing from the hobby and secondary business. In 2008, he meets Jörg Hatscher from Oldenburg at the Nürburgring. The self-made entrepreneur from the southern North Sea, as he himself says, is like an almost fanatical supporter of the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evo 1 – whom he calls „Baby 1“. The two have been working together for quite a while, starting at the long-distance races on the Nordschleife. „Baby 1“ follows „Baby 2“ following a logic: a Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evo 2. In 2011, Thorsten Stadler relocates his business within Hannoversch-Mündens to former BMW dealership facilities. The company grows, a game on words makes ist way: tst sport und technik. On the one hand, this is a clear reference to the initials of the owner, on the other hand, a sports historical quote from the late 1980s. „st“ – sport and technology: That was once a trademark at the time of the Mercedes-Benz factory commitment in the German Touring Car Championship, in short: DTM. Stadler establishes various specialist departments in his company. He dedicates one to the use in motorsport, another to the increasingly important restorations, another to the engine and transmission construction. In addition, he creates a comprehensive stock of both original and reproduced parts. The passion for the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife remains, and (for at least) eleven years it refers to the type W 201 from Mercedes-Benz. Introduced on December 8, 1982, the four-door passenger car was produced more than 1.8 million times by August 1993. Thorsten Stadler contested his first race twice around the clock in June 2002 with such a model. His passengers back then: three test engineers from the Hanover tire manufacturer Continental. On May 18, 2013 Stadler, Jörg Hatscher and Sebastian Sauerbrei are sitting in the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evo 2. Despite the capricious Eifel weather conditions and an some hours-long race break at night, they bring „Baby 2“ around the distance without a single scratch. Only a few stone chips need to be re-foiled later.
Regularity tests, in short: GLP, the touring car revival: the eternal public favorites of the DTM in their first phase of life from 1984 to 1996 found a home there – until further development takes place. Because one fine day in August 2015, one of the participants asks: „Let’s do right competition, drive right races, not just do our laps at the scheduled time!“ But that’s another story – just like what is happening at the same time: the establishment of an unprecedented competence center for the class 1 version of the C-Class from Mercedes-Benz, a true and real dream garage, deserves a separate chapter – soon at this point read here.
Responsible for content and photography: Carsten Krome Netzwerkeins
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