A weekend in hell
Audi Sport in the hunt for its sixth Nürburgring 24 Hour title.
It’s got the quaint nickname of The Green Hell, and for good reason – despite the scenery, the Nürburgring is perhaps the most unforgiving racetrack on earth.
2 June, 2021
Audi Sport has clinched five victories with the R8 LMS GT3 at the endurance classic since 2012 and will be back in force this year
Anyone with even a passing interest in motorsport is well aware of the Nürburgring. A racetrack without equal, that has challenged the very best in the business and beaten more than a few along the way.
This weekend, from June 3 to 6, this unforgiving 25 kilometres of track snaking through stunning wooded countryside in the Eifel mountains, will see teams from all over Europe come to do battle for a full day and a night. At the end of 24 hours, some will be exhausted but elated, while others will just be happy that it’s all over.
Audi Sport has clinched five victories with the R8 LMS at the endurance classic since 2012 and will be back in force this year to see if one of the Audi Sport teams can make it a sixth after a near miss in terrible conditions last year.
In addition to the mighty Audi R8 LMS GT3 cars fighting for outright victory, the second generation of the Audi RS 3 LMS makes its race debut at the Nürburgring in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup, the new model having completed around 5000 test kilometres to date, about to go up against 18 competitors representing four other brands for the first time.
“After narrowly missing our sixth overall victory last year, we now have a new opportunity. We know how demanding this task is in such an excellent field with a total of 34 GT3 race cars,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing.
“At the same time, we’re eagerly looking forward to the debut of our new RS 3 LMS in the world’s toughest TCR touring car class.”
Audi will be bringing a team of a dozen seasoned professionals to the Green Hell this weekend, with familiar names like Christopher Haase, Kelvin van der Linde, Christopher Mies, Nico Müller, René Rast, Frank Stippler, Dries Vanthoor, Frédéric Vervisch and Markus Winkelhock all in attendance. Of the 12 Audi Sport drivers, no less than nine are past winners of the race.
The trophy cabinets of the three teams are also well filled, with Phoenix Racing having won the classic three times with Audi and two more times before that, Land-Motorsport victorious in 2017, and Car Collection Motorsport third in the Eifel in 2019 and second in 2020. Five more privately entered GT sports cars complete the line-up of the four rings.
Last year, the Giti Tyre Motorsport by WS Racing won the SP8 class for the first time with an Audi R8 LMS GT4. This year, the black and yellow race car with the number 53 starts with an all-female team. Experienced female endurance drivers Carrie Schreiner and Célia Martin as well as the former Indy Car driver Pippa Mann and the two-time IMSA champion Christina Nielsen sharing the driving duties, while the rest of the team from the mechanics to the team management is also female.
Regardless of background, gender or experience, the Nürburgring plays no favourites and each team will be up against a track that is as challenging and any competition. It’s not called the Green Hell for nothing.
Last year, the Giti Tyre Motorsport by WS Racing won the SP8 class for the first time with an Audi R8 LMS GT4
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