Two cars, one team: The two Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II of the Scherer Sport Team Phoenix decided the victory at the 54th ZEWOTHERM ADAC Barbarossapreis between themselves. After the four-hour distance, Jakub “Kuba” Giermaziak, Kim Luis Schramm and Luca Engstler won race six of the Nürburgring Endurance Series with a lead of 21.649 seconds ahead of their team mates Frank Stippler and Vincent Kolb. Julien Andlauer and Frédéric Makowiecki celebrated a fantastic debut at the world premiere of the new Porsche 911 GT3 R: They finished third in the new 911’s first race appearance.
The weather conditions made race six of the NLS a major challenge in several respects. After low temperatures in the qualifying, light rain followed on the grid and before the race had even started, it became a poker game. Most teams decided to play it safe and used rain tyres in the starting phase. After five laps, the track had dried enough to change to slicks. So did also the two Audi cars of the Scherer team which thus advanced to the ‘short’ stint. After two and a half hours, rain set in again in places. However, the two Audi teams were not really impressed by this and took home the victory sovereignly in a spectacular pair flight. In the end, the team in the green Audi R8 – Giermaziak, Schramm and Engstler – celebrated their win on top of the podium at the prizegiving ceremony. Giermaziak claimed overall victory already for the second time this season. Engstler, too, was overjoyed as he crowned his first Nordschleife race in a GT3 car with a victory. “If someone had told me this morning that I would be on top of the podium at the end of the day, I would have called him crazy,” said Engstler. “My goal was to collect kilometres on the Nordschleife, not to damage the car at all and not to take any risks. When I was on slicks in the rain, the team helped me a lot. We always knew where it was wet and where it was dry. So I could always adapt my driving to the conditions.” Kolb was also satisfied with his third podium finish in a row: “In the third stint I was driving in the rain. The main thing here was not to make any mistakes. Overall, I had a lot of fun again today and the one-two for Phoenix is a fantastic result.”
It was not to be expected that the new Porsche 911 GT3 R would take a podium position right away at its racing debut. Since the 911 has not yet received its final homologation for the GT3 class, it started in the specially designated SP-X class. Irrespective of the practice time achieved, the #911 from Manthey had to start the race in the first starting group behind the last GT3 car and also had to stop 30 seconds longer at each pit stop. The fact that it still managed to finish on the podium in the end – with a gap of 2:07.450 minutes – was partly due to the way the race developed and also to the perfect strategy of the experienced Manthey team. “If you deduct the 90 seconds that we lost in the pits, you get the real picture,” said Makowiecki. “The car was running well – quite as expected. We now know where we can still improve things.” The direct comparison of the lap times supports the Frenchman’s statement: Stippler set a time of 7:57.319 minutes on his fastest lap, the Manthey Porsche 7:58.942 minutes.
Behind the top three, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Landgraf Motorsport took the chequered flag in fourth place. However, as the vehicle height did not comply with the regulations, the #55 car was disqualified after the race. With Schnitzelalm Racing, their brand colleagues Carrie Schreiner and Peter Terting moved up to fourth place. The top five overall were completed by Christoph Breuer and Nico Verdonck in the PROsport-Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 who also celebrated victory in the Pro-Am category. Fastest in the Am category were Michael Heimrich and Arno Klasen in the Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II of Twin Busch by équipe vitesse.
Philipp Leisen (Adrenalin Motorsport Team Alzner Automotive) and Malte Tack (Manheller Racing) delivered an exciting battle for victory in the V4 class right to the end. The two BMW 325i cars chased bumper to bumper through the Green Hell – with the better end for three-time champion Leisen. At the finish, his lead was 5.104 seconds. The fight in VT2-FWD was also close. mathilda racing – Team LAVO Carwash in the VW Scirocco R was finally ahead of the BMW 128ti of Sorg Rennsport by 5.546 seconds. The finish in SP3 was also close: the Toyota GT86 Cup of Car Competiton Racing Team crossed the line as class winner, 6.069 seconds ahead of the Renault Clio Cup of X85racing.
A bit of a preliminary decision has been made in the championship. While Daniel Zils, Oskar Sandberg and Sindre Setsaas celebrated their sixth class win in the sixth race with the BMW 330i of the Adrenalin Motorsport Team Alzner Automotive, their pursuers failed. Mauro Calamia, Ivan Jacoma and Kai Riemer, who drive a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS (982) for Schmickler Performance powered by Ravenol, finished only third in the CUP3. Daniel Blickle and Tim Scheerbarth finished second in the CUP2 with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup from AVIA W&S Motorsport. The class win in the CUP3 went to Smyrlis Racing with drivers Christopher Rink, Philipp Stahlschmidt and Francesco Merlini. Karsten Krämer, Christopher Brück and Moritz Kranz from KKrämer Racing triumphed again in the CUP2.
The seventh race of the Nürburgring Endurance Series will take place in two weeks, on 22 October. The PAGID Racing 46th DMV Münsterlandpokal will run over the usual distance of four hours. Tickets are available online at vln.de/tickets.