There were plenty of Audis present this year, encouraged no doubt by the proliferation of the RS4 and RS6 cars, which start off with big horsepower and awd. MTM, SKN and others made full use of the latent potential of the twin-turbo V6 and V8 motors.
VW was another popular marque, and there was a huge diversity of models, from the old, early '90s Polo Coupe MkII with 136 bhp that took fourth in the Small Car Class, to Rothe Motorsport's full-house 505-bhp turbocharged Jetta V6 4-Motion. The fastest VW of the lot, it still did not stand a chance against the even more powerful RS Audis.
Somewhere in the middle was the 330-bhp Digitec Golf Turbo, which, despite its Race Logic traction control system, suffered from being front-wheel drive only. Nonetheless, it grabbed a creditable second place in the Compact Class, only a second a lap behind Rothe Motorsport's 380-bhp awd Audi S3.
If VW dominated the Small Car and Diesel Car Classes, Audi took the winning slots in the Compact, Limousine and Coupes & Cabrios Classes. These classes were won respectively by Jurgen Hohenester in the Rothe Motorsport Audi S3, Henning Renner in the 457-bhp Wheels Tech & SKN Motorsport Audi RS4 and Thomas Kappeler in the 450-bhp HMS Tuning Audi TT quattro.
Every single year from the start of the Tuner GP 11 years ago, Porsches have won the event. This year was no different, with TechArt taking the prize for the GT Class and Gemballa winning the new Open Class.
The two cars that achieved these wins were the same cars that locked horns in the GT Class last year. The TechArt GT Street S was entered as the sinister looking matte-black TechArt GT Street last year. It was crashed last October at the Nrburgring during a lap record attempt and was rebuilt over the winter and repainted in a vibrant shade of blue in the process.
As part of the work, the engine was uprated slightly to 646 bhp and the chassis set up to perfection. You could tell how well it handled as driver Frank Schmickler braked into and powered out of Sachs Curve. Watching it zoom through the quick left-right sequence of Opel Curve with impressive stability during the direction change only endorsed that impression, and the impressive 1:09.007 best lap clinched the GT Class win.
The 650-bhp GT2 Evo that Gemballa brought as its second car was just as fast in a straight line but seemed less happy in the bends. Piloted by last year's winner, Wolfgang Kaufmann, the car tended to oversteer exiting Sachs Curve and seemed on the edge through the bends. Even Kaufmann's superb driving ability could only push it to a 1:10.712 lap and second place.
Allowed much more radical modifications and special tires in the Open Class, the Gemballa GTR 650 Evo posted the fastest time of the day. Its 1:07.987 lap was just under a second faster than the second-placed 270-bhp, 680kg Donkervoort D8, also driven by Wolfgang Kaufmann. He also won the Fun Car Class with the D8, which had half the power and half the weight of the Porsche.