Eriksson/Menzel win NLS opener for Falken Motorsports

Season opener in the Green Hell – and it wasn’t just the weather that was at its best for the first race of the ADAC Nürburgring Langstrecken-Serie: Race one of the double-header provided thrilling racing in glorious spring sunshine, putting happy faces on the spectators – and the winners Joel Eriksson and Nico Menzel. In the Falken Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, the duo relegated the legendary ‘Grello’ from Manthey EMA to second place. Laurens Vanthor and Kévin Estre were 3.644 seconds off the pace at the chequered flag. The podium was completed by Frank Stippler and Markus Winkelhock in the Audi R8 LMS GT3 from Scherer Sport PHX.

“It’s hard to believe that this is my first race win here, after all, I’ve been competing in the NLS for a few years now,” said Menzel. “I’ve been on the podium many times, I’ve taken class wins, but I’ve been denied first place so far. I think Joel is our lucky charm, because when he’s on the car, it works. He already has four wins.” The Swede Eriksson added: “It’s fantastic to start the season like this,” and praised the performance of the Falken 911. “Our car was simply perfect today.”

The Manthey boys were also delighted. “It’s always very special to stand on the podium here at the NLS,” said Estre. “And it’s always great to be part of Manthey’s Grello project.” His team-mate Vanthoor added: “Yesterday we were at Spa to drive the LMDh, now we’re on the Nordschleife. Those were two wonderful days. The great encouragement from the fans who cheered us on lap after lap was also fantastic.”

Markus Winkelhock in third place was also happy with the result: “That was a lot of fun today. Driving on the Nordschleife in such great weather, I can’t imagine anything better.” However, the team from Meuspath was unable to achieve more than third place today and was unable to match the performance of the Porsche at the front. “They were just too fast, I couldn’t keep up,” said Stippler after the podium ceremony. The Scherer Audi will not be on the grid for the second race on Sunday. “But I’ll obviously be following the race on the live stream,” said Winkelhock. “I won’t miss out on that.”

The Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO II of RED BULL TEAM ABT and the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Mercedes-AMG Team HRT finished fourth and fifth respectively. Daniel Juncadella took pole position in qualifying. With a best time of 7:56.507 minutes, the Spaniard relegated the Scherer Audi to second place by 2.455 seconds.

In sixth place, Dennis Fetzer, Hubert Haupt and Ralf Aron in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Team ADVAN x HRT took victory in the Pro-Am classification. Behind the best-placed Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of PROsport-Racing, the SCG004c of Glickenhaus Racing LLC finished eighth. In the Am class, debutants Alexey Vermenko and ‘SELV’ won in the Audi R8 LMS GT3 from JUTARACING.

Plenty of variety and thrilling racing in the SP10

With eleven cars, the GT4 SP10 class was extremely strong at the season opener. Andreas Gülden, Tim Sandtler and Marc Hennerici took victory in the opening race in the Toyota Supra GT4 from TOYO TIRES with Ring Racing. The trio finished 32.198 seconds ahead of Oskar Sandberg, Aaron Wenisch and Nick Wüstenhagen in the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 from Dörr Motorsport. Third place was secured by Achim Waver, Claudius Karch, Ivan Jacoma and Kai Riemer, who are driving a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS CS from Schmickler Performance by Ravenol this year.

The champions don’t stop winning

Last season’s title winners picked up where they left off at the 2024 season opener. Champions Daniel Zils and Philipp Leisen won the VT2-R+4WD class together with newcomer Moran Gott in the BMW 330i from Adrenalin Motorsport Team Mainhatten Wheels. The runners-up in the championship, Heiko Eichenberg, Fabio Grosse and Patrik Grütter, won the Cup 3 class in the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS.

Robert Wickens uninjured after accident

On lap 13, Robert Wickens, who was driving a Hyundai Elantra N TCR together with Mark Wilkins, crashed in the Hohenrain chicane. After an initial examination at the Nürburgring Medical Centre, the Canadian was transferred to the hospital in Neuwied by rescue helicopter. A computer tomography scan revealed no injuries. Wickens will remain in hospital overnight for observation.

The ADAC Nürburgring Langstrecken-Serie continues in quick succession. The second race takes place on Sunday and promises to be another thrilling affair. The 63rd ADAC Reinoldus endurance race will run over the usual distance of four hours. Tickets are available at and those staying at home can follow the action in the Green Hell via livestream.