With all the road car testing that goes on there, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the Nürburgring is still a real – and dangerous – race track. The Nürburgring 24 Hours remains one of the biggest challenges in motorsport, but Audi took victory last weekend.
To say the new Audi R8 LMS was box-fresh at its Nürburgring debut was perhaps something of an understatement. In fact, Audi Motorsport had only unveiled the car some ten weeks ago, meaning the GT3 competitor was somewhat wet behind the ears. However, given Audi’s prodigious talent for winning day-long races, only a fool would underestimate their chances at an event like the N24h.
With four of the new cars qualifying in the top ten, although not on pole, Audi certainly had strength in numbers with the new R8 LMS. Yet qualifying meant little in a challenging, dramatic, race that saw the lead change a record 35 times. In the end, it was the Christopher Mies / Edward Sandstöm / Nico Müller / Laurens Vanthoor #28 R8 LMS which took the win by less than 41 seconds. In 24 hour racing, that’s a rather close finish.
The #29 R8 LMS took 7th, with two previous-generation R8 LMS ultra cars also finishing 11th and 12th overall. The two remaining R8 LMS cars were lost to accident damage – a constant risk on the narrow Nordschleife section of the track.
All in, we’re sure Audi will be feeling fairly smug about this latest addition to their trophy cabinet, and no doubt looking forward to more winning action at Le Mans next month. Can the R18 e-tron quattro prototype give Audi six wins in a row? You’d be a fool to bet against it…