Hier op Autoblog willen we best af en toe iets over autosport schrijven, maar meestal kruipen we dan halverwege het artikel huilend onder ons bureautje omdat we zelf nog steeds vergeefs dromen van een racecarrière. Nu bijten we echter even door, want afgelopen weekend vond de 24 uur van de Nürburgring plaats. En jullie willen natuurlijk weten hoe dat verliep.
Voor de vierde keer op rij was het een Porsche die na 155 ronden als eerste over de finishlijn ging, om precies te zijn de 911 GT3 RSR van Manthey Racing. Die auto was in handen van coureurs Timo Bernhard, Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas en Marcel Tiemann. Met een totaal van 3.933 afgelegde kilometers kwam Manthey 101 km verder dan hun vorige record uit 2006. De andere Manthey-Porsche, de 911 GT3 Cup S, werd derde. Naast deze twee 911’s stonden er nog vijf andere Porsches in de top 10.
Gesandwicht tussen de elfjes op de tweede plaats eindigde de Audi R8 LMS van Team ABT Sportsline. Aan het stuur zaten Christian Abt, Jean-François Hemroulle, Pierre Kaffer en Lucas Luhr. Het was de eerste 24-uursrace voor de R8 LMS en de auto scoorde bijzonder goed; ook de overige drie exemplaren reden de race uit, en een van de auto’s van Team Phoenix reed zelfs 17 ronden lang aan kop. Een probleem met de versnellingsbak gooide echter roet in het eten. Toch is Audi bijzonder blij met het resultaat voor hun kersverse GT3’tje.
De top 10 zag er als volgt uit:
1. Bernhard/Lieb/Dumas/Tiemann, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 155 laps
2. Abt/Hemroulle/Kaffer/Luhr, Audi R8 LMS, 154
3. Collard/Henzler/Lietz/Werner, Porsche GT3 Cup S, 152
4. Alzen/Bert/Arnold/Mies, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 150
5. Basseng/Fässler/Rockenfeller/Stippler, Audi R8 LMS, 149
6. Schmitz/Abbelen/Althoff/Heyer, Porsche 911 GT3, 149
7. Kräling/Gindorf/Scharmach/Holzer, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 149
8. Bermes/Kainz/Schmickler/Bergmeister, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S, 148
9. Quinn/Quinn/Baird/Denyer, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 146
10. Adams/Ludwig/Meier/Grossmann, BMW Z4 M Coupé, 145
Hieronder een persbericht van Porsche:
Fourth Porsche overall victory in succession
Stuttgart. Porsche has won the Nürburgring 24 hour race for the fourth time in a row. Timo Bernhard (Germany), Marc Lieb (Germany), Romain Dumas (France) and Marcel Tiemann (Monaco) crossed the finish line in the 480 hp Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of the Manthey Racing team with a one lap advantage over the second-placed Audi R8. The sister Manthey Porsche, the 445 hp 911 GT3 Cup S manned by Richard Lietz (Austria), Wolf Henzler (Germany), Emmanuel Collard (France) and Dirk Werner (Germany), occupied third position. Seven Porsche race cars finished in the top ten.
A total of 235,000 spectators witnessed the fastest 24 hour race in history on the Nürburgring. Clocking up 3,933 kilometres, the Manthey Racing squad improved on its own distance record from 2006 by a further 101 kilometres. Timo Bernhard and Marcel Tiemann are the first pilots to win the long distance classic four times in succession. All in all, Tiemann has climbed to the top of the podium five times, making him the most successful pilot of the 24 hour race.
Already in the early stages, the race turned into a thriller. For almost one hour, Marc Lieb followed in the slipstream of the pole-setting Ford GT driven by Dirk Adorf. Only when the Ford spun after lapping a slower vehicle and fell back, did Lieb get a free run. Until the early morning hours, the winner of last year was entangled in a gripping duel with the fastest of the Audis. As the regulations allow the more powerful R8 LMS a 20-litre larger fuel tank, the Audi could turn out one more lap per tank. “To counteract this we had to take more risks and turn one qualifying lap after the other to stay in the lead,” says Timo Bernhard describing his most gruelling 24 hour race to date. “It was only when the Audi experienced technical problems that we could take it a little more carefully during the last hours,” added Marc Lieb. For Romain Dumas the most decisive factor in the race was: “All of us were able to maintain this unbelievable pace and not one of us made the slightest error.” For Marcel Tiemann a dream came true: “We wrote motorsport history today. To win this race four times in a row with this team and now become the driver with the most victories here, that means a great deal to me.”
For team boss Olaf Manthey, the fourth consecutive win was the best: “I’m incredibly proud of my entire team and my drivers. I couldn’t imagine a better line-up than Timo, Marc, Romain and Marcel. But that said, Richard, Wolf, Emmanuel and Dirk also delivered a super performance with our 911 GT3 Cup S. It’s just a shame that changing the drive shaft cost us 24 minutes. Otherwise we could have brought home a double win today.”
Another impressive demonstration of the renowned reliability of the Porsche 911 was shown by the squad under Uwe Alzen (Germany). Sharing driving duties with his all German line up, Sascha Bert, Lance David Arnold and Christopher Mies, they brought home fourth place with their 420 hp 911 GT3 Cup, which is raced in 13 Porsche brand trophy series around the world.
Head of Porsche Motorsport, Hartmut Kristen, was impressed with the consistently good performance of the Porsche teams: “Our customers ran three different current Porsche racing models at this race: the 911 GT3 RSR, the 911 GT3 Cup S and the 911 GT3 Cup. All three were equally fast and reliable. There is hardly a more impressive way to show that the Porsche 911 is still the best sports car in the world. Congratulations to Manthey Racing and all the other Porsche teams who did a great job in their respective classes. Despite the new tank regulations clearly disadvantaging the Porsche teams, the Manthey squad could still bring home their fourth straight win. Still, that shouldn’t conceal the fact that the regulations should be corrected. The efficient vehicles should not be the ones that spend the most time refuelling in the pits.”
En een persbericht van Audi:
Audi R8 LMS successfully passes ultimate endurance test
– All four vehicles finish 24-hour race on the Nürburgring
– Runner-up in first 24-hour commitment
– Winner in GT3-class right from the start
Ingolstadt/Nürburg – The new GT3 sports car of AUDI AG successfully passed the ultimate endurance test: In the fastest 24-hour race the Nürburgring has ever seen, all four Audi R8 LMS cars that started to the race crossed the finish line. Christian Abt, Jean-François Hemroulle, Pierre Kaffer and Lucas Luhr (Team ABT Sportsline) clinched an unexpected second place in front of 235,000 spectators (throughout the weekend) and grabbed victory right away in the GT3 class for the Audi R8 LMS at its first 24-hour run.
“For the Audi R8 LMS, this race represented a final test under extreme conditions on the world’s longest race track,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “We were able to demonstrate that our new GT3 sports car is absolutely competitive for customer sport. And the number 97 R8 LMS ran without the slightest problems despite the incredible speed.”
Up to a few hours before the finish there was even a sensation in the air at the Nürburgring: Marc Basseng, Mike Rockenfeller and Frank Stippler in the Audi R8 LMS #99 of Team Phoenix Racing were leading the race for almost 17 hours before the car – at 11:21 am in the Karussell circuit sector – stopped due to a defect in the power transmission system. After replacing the right rear suspension and the drive shaft, the three Germans were able to continue the race with a six-lap gap and – in the end – managed clinching the fifth place.
Frank Biela, Marcel Fässler, Emanuele Pirro and Hans-Joachim Stuck (Audi R8 LMS #98/Phoenix Racing) in twelfth place merely missed a place among the top ten. A stop-and-go penalty cost the seasoned campaigners three minutes as early as in the starting phase. During the night a leaking cooler of the power steering system had to be exchanged, which cost about 30 minutes. At noon on Sunday, car number 98 was back in the top six before the gearbox had to be replaced.
Mattias Ekström, Timo Scheider and Marco Werner (Aud R8 LMS #100/Team ABT Sportsline) suffered a particular case of misfortune. Their vehicle was hit in the rear right at the start, crushing the right-hand tailpipe in the process. Shortly afterwards, the engine stopped. After an extensive effort to find the source of the problem, the mechanics discovered a defective plug which had caused a short circuit and resulted in an overloading of the CAN bus on-board system.
From 166th place, Ekström, Scheider and Werner recovered to 23rd despite stopping a second time on the Nordschleife during the night due to a fuel supply system problem and, later, a component of the right rear suspension had to be fixed.
“We’ll analyze the problems that occurred on the three other vehicles and feed the findings into the final version of the R8 LMS, which will be delivered to customers starting this fall,” said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “We now know that we’ve got a very good base.”
“None of us really expected us to immediately clinch a podium result here,” said Audi “factory” driver Lucas Luhr after the finish of the race. “Putting a new car on the podium in its first run at a 24-hour race is an achievement you’ve simply got to take your hat off to.”