Despite changing weather, an extremely fast pace, tough competition and several setbacks, Audi emerged as the overall victor at the Nürburgring 24 Hours race.
In the 40th running of the Eifel classic, Audi recorded its first overall victory with the new Audi R8 LMS ultra. The winning car was driven by the German quartet of Marc Basseng, Christopher Haase, Frank Stippler and Markus Winkelhock in a car entered by Audi Sport Team Phoenix.
A second car entered by Team Mamerow Racing and driven by Christian Abt, Michael Ammermüller, Armin Hahne and Christian Mamerow completed the one-two finish.
The Nürburgring triumph rounds off Audi’s endurance record, having already won the 24-hour races at Le Mans and Spa. However, the Nordschleife is regarded as a particularly brutal test, and this year’s pace put more strain on the vehicles. The top GT3 class was unusually well represented with eight different brands entered.
However, many of the leading teams were struck by technical problems or involved in numerous accidents, reducing the field through the race.
While the Audi R8 GT3 ran reliably for 24 hours, the Audi teams didn’t escape unscathed.
For example, the #2 Audi R8 LMS ultra was hit by an opponent in the rain while driver Christopher Mies was leading at the time. The repairs took 53min and dissolved any chance of victory, although the finished fifth.
During the night, car #4 from Speedhunters Team WRT also had a collision and suffered steering damage, finally finishing 32nd.
Team Raeder Motorsport held a promising fifth position after 17 hours when Thomas Mutsch was unable to avoid a lapped car and hit the guardrail, forcing the car to retire.
Despite huge pressure towards the end of the race, cars #3 and #26 brought home the bacon. Audi Sport Team Phoenix won its home race thanks to a combination of pace, driving and pit work. It was the team’s third overall victory in the race and its first with Audi.
Basseng/Haase/Stippler/Winkelhock (Audi R8 LMS ultra), 155 laps
Abt/Ammermüller/Hahne/Mamerow (Audi R8 LMS ultra) + 3m 35.303s
Frankenhout/Simonsen/Kaffer/Arnold (Mercedes-Benz) + 11m 31.116s
Leinders/Palttala/Martin (BMW) - 1 lap
Fässler/Mies/Rast/Stippler (Audi R8 LMS ultra) - 4 laps
Abbelen/Schmitz/Brück/Huisman (Porsche) - 4 laps
Müller/Müller/Alzen/Adorf (BMW) - 5 laps
Hürtgen/Schwager/Bastian/Adorf (BMW) - 5 laps
Klingmann/Wittmann/Göransson/Lamy (BMW) - 5 laps
Zehe/Hartung/Rehfeld/Bullitt (Mercedes-Benz) - 5 laps