A true eifel thriller: maximum suspense at the premiere of the 12h Nürburgring

A successful premiere! The first edition of the 12h Nürburgring was a real highlight on and off the track. The race featured all the elements that are part of a good Eifel thriller: a real tyre poker in changeable conditions on Saturday, Nordschleife romance in the evening hours, the restart as an additional element of suspense, drama in the fight for victory and finally a happy end with beaming winners. After two six-hour races, the successful protagonists were Joel Eriksson, Jaxon Evans, Sven Müller and Alessio Picariello. They brought the Porsche 911 GT3 R from Falken Motorsports home in first place after 79 hard-fought laps through the Green Hell.

“It wasn’t clear to us until the end whether we would really take home the victory because, based on the time monitors, we didn’t know exactly how long our competitors would need at the last stop,” said Müller. ” Ultimately, we were extremely happy to win the 12h Nürburgring, too, after having already won the 6h race. The conditions in the first six hours were really tough. With slicks and a lot of rain, it was difficult to keep the car on the track. Today the weather was no longer a factor. It was still really close in the end.” Müller welcomes the format of the 12h Nürburgring: “We had a lot of fun driving into the night yesterday. The restart was interesting as well.”

The fastest car on Sunday was the Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Scherer Sport Team Phoenix. Only a strategic mistake could have stopped Jakub “Kuba” Giermaziak and Kim Luis Schramm. After 58 laps, Schramm entered the pit lane with an empty tank. The team lost further seconds after the stop until the car started again. “It’s not always the fastest car that wins, in which case we would be at the top of the podium,” Giermaziak admitted. “On Saturday we were on the wrong tyres once, which also cost us a lot of time. Nevertheless: It’s nice to be on the podium, but it’s not nice to be only second.”

Meanwhile, Frank Stippler and Vincent Kolb, who drove the sister car of Scherer Sport Team Phoenix and finished less than a minute behind the front runners in third place, were really happy. “We certainly didn’t do everything right on Saturday, but we didn’t do everything wrong either, which is confirmed by our third place at the end,” said Stippler. Kolb added: “I lost some time when I was on slicks in the heavy rain in the early stages. That was like driving on black ice. Today we didn’t lose much time and we are happy with the result.”

Behind the top three, Björn Grossmann and Luca Ludwig in the Ferrari 488 GT3 from the team octane 126 finished fourth. After the duo had still been in a fight with the leaders in changing conditions on Saturday, they lacked the pace in the dry to climb the podium. Fifth place went to Marcel Marchewicz and Marek Böckmann in the Schnitzelalm Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. The fastest SP9 Pro-Am car – the Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Lionspeed by Car Collection Motorsport – was driven by Leon Köhler, Simon Reicher, Florian Spengler and Jörg Viebahn who finished eighth.

The Cup2 911s, new this year, caused a sensation especially in the early stages of the race. Starting from third position, Gabriele Piana (Black Falcon) moved into first place immediately after the start with the right tyre choice. After the first lap, Fabio Grosse in the G-Tech Competition counterpart returned as the leader. Even though the Cup 911s could in the end no longer compete for the very top positions, they showed their potential: After 12 hours, Daniel Blickle, Tim Scheerbarth and David Jahn in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup from AVIA W&S Motorsport just missed out the top 10 and finished eleventh. They collected the 30 points for first place in the class, as did Mauro Calamia, Ivan Jacoma and Kai Riemer in the fastest Cup3 Cayman. In VT2-R+4WD, Daniel Zils, Oskar Sandberg and Sindre Setsaas triumphed in the BMW 330i of the Adrenalin Motorsport Team Alzner Automotive. Thus, the top two teams in the championship have each scored maximum points. The gap in the drivers’ standings remains unchanged at 17 points with three races to go.

Jahn/Hinzer/Sidorenko/Schroers (VW Golf, GITI TIRE MOTORSPORT BY WS RACING) in VT2-FWD, Epp/Uelwer/Kaatz (Renault Clio Cup, MSC Adenau) in SP3 and Markert/Reimer/Deißler (BMW M240i Racing Cup, Adrenalin Motorsport Team Alzner Automotive) also scored maximum points.

Those responsible for the VLN drew a positive conclusion at the end of the 12h Nürburgring. “From a sporting point of view, almost everything went perfectly – so the many hours of preparation were worth it,” said Michael Bork, VLN Head of Sport and Race Director. “In particular the restart was a highlight of the event. We received a lot of positive feedback from the participants.” The event was also a success from a marketing point of view: “Together with our partners, we created a lot of attractions on the ring°boulevard, in the paddocks and the pit lane. This attracted many young families who came to the Nürburgring and there were shining eyes in the faces of many children,” says Michel Pathe, Managing Director of VLN VV GmbH & Co. KG. “When you look at the fantastic pictures of the 12h Nürburgring, it’s obvious for what our team has put a lot of heart and soul into the 12h Nürburgring over the last weeks and months.” The teamwork of the two organisers, AC Altkreis Schwelm e.V. in the ADAC and Dortmunder MC e.V. in the ADAC, is also widely appreciated by Ralph-Gerald Schlüter, Managing Director of VLN Sport GmbH & Co. KG: “For the first time in the history of the series, a race was jointly organised by two organisers. ACAS and DMC have succeeded in fulfilling this in an exemplary manner. Both clubs complemented each other and played to their strengths.”

The sixth race of the Nürburgring Endurance Series will take place on 8 October. The 54th ZEWOTHERM ADAC Barbarossapreis of the MSC Sinzig will then again run over the usual NLS distance of four hours.