Sunday, May 16, 2010

Audi R8 LMS Wins GT3 Class - Takes 3rd Overall at Nürburgring 24 Hours

. Sunday, May 16, 2010

The #97 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS proved to be the top Audi of the seven cars to enter this weekend's 24 hour race at the Nürburgring. Though far from favorites at the start; Marc Bronzel, Luca Ludwig, Dennis Rostek and Markus Winkelhock brought home a best in class victory and ranked third overall for Audi. For many of the other Audi teams though, the Nürburgring-Nordschleife proved it's nickname to be "Green Hell."

One driver to find himself taking part in a celebratory champagne shower was Audi DTM driver Markus Winkelhock. Winkelhock, who defended the #97's lead throughout the final stages of the race was actually a last minute choice to drive for the Phoenix team. "The Audi R8 LMS and this race were great fun,” beamed Winkelhock following his successful Nordschleife debut. "It was a fantastic experience. My thanks go to Phoenix Racing which did a fantastic job. I'm speechless that I managed to finish on the podium here!”

In addition to the #97 Phoenix team, Team Black Falcon also had reason to celebrate as their #102 Audi R8 LMS driven by Sean-Paul Breslin, Christer Jöns, Kenneth Heyer and Johannes Stuck placed third in class and fifth overall.

Two of the fastest Audi teams met an early demise however. Both the #98 Phoenix R8 LMS (Marc Basseng/Mike Rockenfeller/Frank Stippler/Hans-Joachim Stuck) and the pole setting #100 ABT R8 LMS (Mattias Estkröm/Oliver Jarvis/Timo Scheider/Marco Werner) retired as early as Saturday evening due to accidents.

Marcel Fässler (Phoenix Racing R8 LMS #99) also experienced Saturday night contact, which fortunately ended with only a damaged wheel. By 10:22 p.m. the silver-red R8 LMS took the lead for the first time and temporarily extended to more than a two-minute lead during the night. The #99 team's luck would run out by the 17 hour mark as an engine mounting defect brought the race to an end for the second Phoenix Audi R8 LMS. "That really was a shame as we were really running strongly up to that point,” said Marcel Fässler.

Christian Abt, driving the #2 ABT Sportsline Audi R8 LMS was also involved in a collision, resulting in a tire failure and deranged wheel alignment. Nevertheless, on Sunday morning, after a fantastic fight back, the #2 car was once again in second place on the same lap as the then leading hybrid-Porsche. That is, until Lucas Luhr stopped on the track around the "Pflanzgarten” with a transmission problem.

Black Falcon Racing also experienced hardship, losing their #111 Audi R8 LMS during the night because of an accident. The second R8 LMS fielded by the private team from the Eifel ran just as reliably throughout the entire 24 hours as the third Phoenix team car – apart from gearbox issues just at the end of the race.

"We are happy that the R8 LMS remains unbeaten in its class in this race,” explained Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, who was at the race himself. "We developed this car logically for customer sport, and the cars which finished third and fifth overall embody our customer sport idea perfectly. Congratulations to the Phoenix Racing and Black Falcon teams. The other cars put in great performances, but like many other top cars the extremely fast pace claimed its victims. ABT Sportsline and Phoenix Racing both lost a car when in promising positions due to accidents, which are typical on the Nordschleife. The two technical defects are also typical for this race track.”


1 Müller/Farfus/Alzen/Lamy (BMW) 154 laps in 24h 00m 18.168s
2 Farnbacher/Simonsen/Lehman/Seefried (Ferrari) + 3m 54.191s
3 Bronzel/Ludwig/Rostek/Winkelhock (Audi R8 LMS) - 1 lap (1st GT3)
4 Hartung/Söderlund/Sandström/Öhlin (BMW) - 2 laps (2nd GT3)
5 Breslin/Jöns/Heyer/Stuck (Audi R8 LMS) - 2 laps (3rd GT3)
6 Alzen/Schwager/Jäger/Bert (Porsche) - 3 laps
7 Werner/Müller/Priaulx/Adorf (BMW) - 4 laps
8 Zehe/Schelp/Roloff/Bullitt (Porsche) - 4 laps
9 Aust/Adams/Übler/Grossmann (BMW) - 5 laps
10 Weiland/Forbes/Riemer/Horn (Porsche) - 6 laps

Source/Photos: Audi Motorsport