New R8 LMS Wins Nurburgring 24 Hours

The Audi R8 LMS managed a brilliant 24-hour racing debut by clinching victory at the Nürburgring. Audi only unveiled its GT3 race car ten weeks ago – now the production-based sports car impressed in a tough battle that lasted up to the last hour of the race. In the end, Audi Sport Team WRT with Christopher Mies/Nico Müller/Edward Sandström/Laurens Vanthoor (D/CH/S/B) was 40 seconds faster than the BMW Team Marc VDS.

The bat­tle for vic­tory in the Eifel en­durance race has not been as thrilling as this in a long time. Dur­ing the 24 hours the lead changed 35 times – a record in the event that has been held since 1970. Af­ter the race's mid­point, ei­ther the num­ber '28' R8 LMS or its fiercest ri­val was run­ning in front, de­pend­ing on the pit stop se­quence. In the end, the Bel­gian Audi team pre­vailed with a con­cen­trated per­for­mance of its dri­vers and solid team­work. Vin­cent Vosse's squad and each of the four race dri­vers cel­e­brated their first vic­tory in this clas­sic event.

“This was a week­end of thrilling rac­ing, as well as an in­tense and nerve-wrack­ing one," said Ro­molo Liebchen, Head of Audi Sport cus­tomer rac­ing. “Sin­cere con­grat­u­la­tions to our win­ners who never lost their cool even in the face of some mi­nor ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties and held up to the pres­sure. The whole squad of Audi Sport cus­tomer rac­ing is happy to see the new R8 LMS in­stantly de­liv­er­ing on our promise of it be­ing a com­pet­i­tive, at­trac­tive and re­li­able race car our cus­tomers can look for­ward to start­ing this fall."

Vin­cent Vosse was de­lighted about an­other suc­cess of his young team: “We've al­ready won the Spa 24 Hours with Audi and now we achieved suc­cess on the Nür­bur­gring as well. My thanks for this go to a mo­ti­vated squad, four tal­ented dri­vers and to Audi Sport cus­tomer rac­ing for their solid sup­port. We're very happy that we can thank Audi by tak­ing the first 24-hour vic­tory of the new race car."

About 50 per­cent of the GT3 race car is based on its pro­duc­tion coun­ter­part it si­mul­ta­ne­ously cel­e­brated its de­but with in March at the Geneva Mo­tor Show. Four new Audi R8 LMS cars were on the grid of the 24-hour race. Last year's win­ners Christo­pher Haase/Chris­t­ian Mamerow/René Rast/Markus Winkel­hock in car num­ber '1' of Audi Sport Team Phoenix led the race sev­eral times but were forced to re­tire fol­low­ing an ac­ci­dent by Chris­t­ian Mamerow. The Ger­man was hos­pi­tal­ized for ob­ser­va­tion. In the sis­ter car, num­ber '4,' Mike Rock­en­feller spun on track due to an oil spill shortly be­fore the race's mid­point. He was hit by an­other car that was fol­low­ing him, caus­ing dam­age to the Audi that was too se­vere for con­tin­u­ing the race.

The sec­ond race car of the Bel­gian Audi Club Team WRT saw the check­ered flag in sev­enth place. Ac­ci­dent dam­age had caused Pierre Kaf­fer (D) and his team-mates Chris­ter Jöns (D), Nicki Thiim (DK) and Lau­rens Vanthoor (B) to lose three laps in the early stage. How­ever, with good lap times, this dri­ver quar­tet proved the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the Audi R8 LMS as well.

The time-tested Audi R8 LMS ul­tra model – the 2012 and 2014 win­ner of the Nür­bur­gring 24 Hours – com­pleted the good re­sult. Team Twin Busch Mo­tor­sport with Den­nis Busch/Marc Busch/Chris­ti­aan Franken­hout (D/D/NL) saw the fin­ish in 11th place, fol­lowed by the Audi race ex­pe­ri­ence. The Asian dri­ver line-up of Franky Con­gfu Cheng/Marchy Lee/Shaun Thong/Alex Yoong (CN/HK/HK/MAL) achieved 12th place whereas the sis­ter car re­tired af­ter an ac­ci­dent.

Race re­sults

1 Mies/Müller/Sand­ström/Vanthoor (Audi R8 LMS), 156 laps

2 Luhr/Mar­tin/Palt­tala/West­brook (BMW) + 40.729s

3 Dum­b­reck/Hen­zler/Im­per­a­tori/Rag­gin­ger (Porsche) – 1 lap

4 Adorf/Cats­burg/Far­fus/Müller (BMW) – 1 lap

5 Bu­ur­man/Al Faisal/Haupt/van La­gen (Mer­cedes) – 1 lap

6 Cer­ruti/Ed­wards/Keil­witz/Laser (BMW) – 3 laps

7 Jöns/Kaf­fer/Thiim/Vanthoor (Audi R8 LMS) – 3 laps

8 Brück/Pri­mat/Schmid/Seefried (Bent­ley) – 5 laps

9 Bun­combe/Hoshino/Krumm/Or­donez (Nis­san) – 5 laps

10 Heyer/Huff/From­men­wiler/Krognes (Mer­cedes) – 5 laps

11 Busch/Busch/Franken­hout (Audi R8 LMS ul­tra) – 7 laps

12 Cheng/Lee/Thong/Yoong (Audi R8 LMS ul­tra) – 8 laps