Audi Sport Team Phoenix and its winning R8 LMS ultra at the 2012 Nürburgring 24 Hours Enlarge Photo
Despite the somewhat erratic weather that plagued this past weekend’s Nürburgring 24 Hours
, a pair of Audi R8 LMS ultra GT3 race cars
managed to secure a one-two finish for the brand with the four rings at the grueling race.
Driving the overall winner was a German quartet consisting of Marc Basseng, Christopher Haase, Frank Stippler and Markus Winkelhock.
Together, they drove their Audi Sport Team Phoenix-backed R8 LMS ultra around the Green Hell 155 times over the course of 24 hours--the third overall victory for the team in the Nürburgring 24 Hours and the first for Audi.
Completing the one-two finish was Christian Abt, Michael Ammermüller, Armin Hahne and Christian Mamerow from Team Mamerow Racing.
The competition around the Nordschleife was regarded as a particularly brutal test of endurance this year. The pace of the eight different brands represented in the GT3 class was unusually high, and many leading teams, including Audi, were struck by technical defects and numerous accidents that eventually whittled down the field.
Particularly devastating was the crash involving the number 2 Audi R8 LMS ultra and another team, with the stricken Audi not only losing its lead position but all chances of victory as well. It ended up fifth at the flag due to repairs that took 53 minutes to complete. Car number 4 from Speedhunters Team WRT also lost a huge amount of time after a collision with a competitor damaged the steering. The Belgian team finished 32nd.
Another Audi team, Team Raeder Motorsport, held a promising fifth position after 17 hours of racing when Thomas Mutsch was unable to avoid a lapped car as it changed line. The team’s number 9 Audi ended up crashing into a guardrail and retiring. The team’s sister car was also forced to retire due to damage caused in a separate accident.
Surprisingly, after five overall victories in six years at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, Porsche’s best result was sixth place, earned by the Frikadelli Racing Team.
Team Manthey Porsche 911 GT3 R at the 2012 Nürburgring 24 Hours Enlarge Photo
In contrast, the fastest squad in qualifying, Team Manthey, experienced an exceptionally difficult race with a tragic final moment. Driven by Porsche works drivers Marco Holzer, Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long as well as Manthey’s own Nick Tandy, a Manthey-backed Porsche 911 GT3 R drove consistently good lap times without suffering any technical hiccups to fifth position near the end of the race. The team was lying within striking distance of a podium result when Nick Tandy lapped a slower vehicle on the finish straight and was hit and ended up in a wall.
Below is a list of the top ten places for the 2012 Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race:
1. Basseng/Haase/Stippler/Winkelhock (Audi R8 LMS ultra), 155 laps
2. Abt/Ammermüller/Hahne/Mamerow (Audi R8 LMS ultra) + 3m 35.303s
3. Frankenhout/Simonsen/Kaffer/Arnold (Mercedes-Benz) + 11m 31.116s
4. Leinders/Palttala/Martin (BMW) – 1 lap
5. Fässler/Mies/Rast/Stippler (Audi R8 LMS ultra) – 4 laps
6. Abbelen/Schmitz/Brück/Huisman (Porsche) – 4 laps
7. Müller/Müller/Alzen/Adorf (BMW) – 5 laps
8. Hürtgen/Schwager/Bastian/Adorf (BMW) – 5 laps
9. Klingmann/Wittmann/Göransson/Lamy (BMW) – 5 laps
10. Zehe/Hartung/Rehfeld/Bullitt (Mercedes-Benz) – 5 laps