Audi has named its trio of factory driver lineups for next month’s Nürburgring 24 with Phoenix Racing, Car Collection Motorsport and Land Motorsport once again running the German manufacturer’s primary entries.
11 of the dozen drivers who raced for the three extended works support teams last year have been retained, however Audi has shuffled some of its crews around for 2021.
Total 24 Hours of Spa runner-up Patric Niederhauser will make his first Audi factory N24 appearance in the Car Collection entry, with the Swiss driver effectively replacing Mirko Bortolotti who returned to Lamborghini’s works roster at the start of this year.
The Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo run by Audi Sport Team Car Collection also involves Markus Winkelhock, Christopher Haase and last season’s DTM runner-up Nico Mueller.
Winkelhock and Haase finished second in the 2020 N24 alongside Bortolotti, while their teammate Robin Frijns who missed the race due to illness has swapped places with his former DTM rival Mueller into the Audi Sport Team Phoenix crew.
Frijns will share the Phoenix car with 2019 winners Dries Vanthoor and Frank Stippler who are continuing with the team, along with Mattia Drudi who joins the lineup.
In another swap, Drudi is now at Phoenix after representing Audi Sport Team Land in the previous edition while Frederic Vervisch moves in the opposite direction.
Vervisch, who won for Phoenix in 2019 alongside Vanthoor, Stippler and Pierre Kaffer, is sharing the Land car with Kelvin van der Linde, Christopher Mies and DTM champion Rene Rast, all of whom drove for the 2017-winning team last time around.
In total, Audi has nine former N24 winners in its 2021 lineup: Haase, Winkelhock, Mueller, Vanthoor, Vervisch, Stippler, Mies, Van der Linde and Rast.
Phoenix and Car Collection are also due to run two private GT3 Audis each.
Stippler will perform double-duty for Phoenix in one of the team’s independent cars, while the same can be said for Niederhauser over at Car Collection.
Additionally, recently-signed Audi Sport factory driver Dennis Marschall will form part of the Phoenix privateer setup for the race on June 5-6.