The 40th ADAC Zurich 24h Race ended with the first Audi win in the event’s history, courtesy of Audi Sport Team Phoenix. In front of a total of 235,000 spectators that attended the race held at the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife, the all-German line-up (Marc Basseng, Christopher Haase, Frank Stippler, Markus Winkelhock) won the race with their Audi R8 LMS ultra.
Following an extremely thrilling, enthralling and entertaining race with a total of 30 lead changes, the quartet of the local-heroes team based in Meuspath crossed the finish line ahead of their fellow Audi (#26, Chris Mamerow, Christian Abt, Michael Ammermüller, Armin Hahne), representing the colours of Mamerow Racing.
In an extremely dramatic final stage, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 of Hankook-Team Heico (#66, Christiaan Frankenhout, Andreas Simonsen, Pierre Kaffer, Lance David Arnold) defeated the Wochenspiegel-Porsche 911 GT3 R (#11, Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas, Lucas Luhr, Richard Lietz) in the battle for third place on the very last kilometres of the race.
“That’s just incredible,” beamed Markus Winkelhock. He and his team-mated completed a total of 15 laps in the ‘Green Hell’ on the way to their historic win. “This win is great for my team-mates, for me and – first of all – for Audi. In 2010 I finished third, last year I came fourth and now we have realised our goal to secure the overall win, this year. Winning this 24h race was something very special. The field featured a big number of very good drivers and the competition was extremely tough.”
Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz also celebrated the brand’s best result in the Nürburgring 24-Race history. Christiaan Frankenhout, Andreas Simonsen, Pierre Kaffer, Lance David Arnold gave the Swabian brand the podium finish the sister car # 65 (Heyer, Schneider, Arnold, Margaritis) seemed to be on the way to until its retirement with just half an hour to go. “Last year, a problem in the closing stages cost us a podium and now, we had to cope with another last- minute thriller,” the extremely relieved David Arnold said after the race. “It was so exciting – I’m just lost for words. And now it feels so good. I’m virtually over the moon.” In the literally very last seconds of the race, the SLS prevailed against the Wochenspiegel- Porsche #11 (Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas, Lucas Luhr, Richard Lietz). While the Heico ADAC SLS crossed the finish line seconds before the 24 hours were over and started into its final lap, the 911 stranded on the home straight without fuel after having passed the SLS on the Nordschleife following a slip-stream battle: the arguably most dramatic finish in the history of the legendary event.
The 40th edition of the 24h Race proved itself worthy of an anniversary edition: thrilling motor racing and packed stands turned the weekend into a true motor-racing festival. And the winner of the Nordschleife classic’s first edition also was on site: back in 1970, Hans-Joachim ‘Striezel’ Stuck won the maiden Nürburgring 24h Race together with Clemens Schickentanz and in 2012, he attended the event to cross his fingers for his sons Ferdinand and Johannes. At the end of the day, the Stuck sons’ Aston Martin Vantage GT3 failed to finish the race due to numerous technical problems but Stuck Sr. enjoyed the race, nevertheless. “I like it here,” he said. “A pity the boys had a puncture in the night. Afterwards, we used the race as a kind of an endurance test. The atmosphere was just incredible. A truly successful 40th edition of this race.”