Just in time for the 50th edition of the world’s biggest endurance race, Audi Sport customer racing is ready for the next challenge with a full dozen race cars in various series and classes. Since its first victory in 2012, the Audi R8 LMS has been the most successful race car in this period at the Nürburgring 24 Hours. From May 26 to 29, Audi will be competing for the overall classification but also for successes in the Pro-Am category, in the TCR class as well as in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup, which is staging its second event.
“The anniversary of the world’s biggest car race will be a celebration for the many fans who, after two years of pandemic, may finally come again in large numbers,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “The 24-hour race has been making history since 1970, and we have celebrated numerous successes with the R8 LMS since 2009. For us, it’s already about the sixth victory within just a decade. Fans will get a lot on offer at this event and can look forward to exciting motorsport.” Seven GT3 sports cars from Audi are among the field of 138 GT and touring cars. In 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019, the Audi R8 LMS won the 24-hour classic. In the process, it broke the 4,000-kilometer mark for the first time in 2014 and set a distance record that is still valid today.
Audi will bring ten former overall winners to the grid on the 25.378-kilometer hill-and-dale track: Christopher Haase (2012 and 2014), Pierre Kaffer (2019), Kelvin van der Linde (2017), Christopher Mies (2015 and 2017), Nico Müller (2015), René Rast (2014), Frank Stippler (2012 and 2019), Dries Vanthoor (2019), Frédéric Vervisch (2019) and Markus Winkelhock (2012, 2014 and 2017). Together with their Audi Sport driver colleagues Mattia Drudi, Ricardo Feller, Robin Frijns, Dennis Marschall and Patric Niederhauser, they support the GT3 teams, which in turn look after a total of eleven privateer drivers. Many of them have scored numerous class victories and even titles at the Nürburgring. These include the champions from the Nürburgring Endurance Series Arno Klasen and Michael Heimrich (SP9 Am 2019), Patrick Kolb (SP7 2019, SP9 Pro-Am 2020 and 2021) and Vincent Kolb (SP9 Pro 2021).
Team boss Ernst Moser, who enters a total of three Audi R8 LMS cars with Audi Sport Team Phoenix and Scherer Sport Team Phoenix from Meuspath, has already won the 24-hour race five times since 2000, including three times with Audi. Three more GT3 sports cars are being prepared by Peter Schmidt with his Audi Sport Team Car Collection and Lionspeed by Car Collection Motorsport, including one car for the Pro-Am class. Second place at the 24-hour race in 2020 that was open to the very end was the best result so far for the team from Walluf, in addition to class titles at the Nürburgring. Team Twin Busch by équipe vitesse of Jil and Andreas Herbst is based in Ingelheim, has been at home on the Nordschleife for a long time and has also already clinched class titles there. For the first time, it will contest the 24-hour race with an R8 LMS in the Pro-Am classification with its regular drivers Michael Heimrich and Arno Klasen. The private driver squad is complemented by Elia Erhart, the overall winner of two 12-hour races and one 24-hour race since last November, and his proven driving partner, Audi Sport driver Pierre Kaffer.
The many touring car fans in the Eifel region can also look forward to the most beautiful weekend of the year. Max Kruse Racing will be taking on the six competitors in the traditionally fiercely contested TCR class of the endurance race for the first time with an Audi RS 3 LMS. In the supporting program, the WTCR – FIA Touring Car World Cup also offers two already traditionally action-packed sprint races: In the course of just three laps each, all the decisions will be made there. Long-time partner Comtoyou Racing is preparing four Audi RS 3 LMS for the second World Cup round. Audi Sport drivers Nathanaël Berthon and Gilles Magnus, last year’s best privateer in the series, will face the WTCR competition together with privateers Mehdi Bennani and Tom Coronel.
In addition, Audi Sport is committed to the 24-hour race with a total of 15 other models. The two Audi R8 LMS cars that clinched the first and the most recent victory to date in 2012 and 2019 can be admired on Wednesday at the Adenauer Racing Day and subsequently in the ring°boulevard. And with nine Audi A6 Avant, one S6 Avant, two Audi R8 and one Audi RS e-tron GT, the organizers and race organizers are once again well motorized. Audi is providing the Official Cars at the world’s biggest racing festival for the 21st time in a row. Audi will have a comprehensive coverage of the event on its social media channels and on audi-mediacenter.com. While Eurosport broadcasts the FIA WTCR, the German TV station NITRO accompanies the top qualifying and the 24-hour race live and in full length. With a total broadcast time of 27 hours starting at 1:40 p.m. on Saturday, the Cologne-based network is attempting to set a new world record for the longest TV broadcast.