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Nürburgring Endurance

Nürburgring Post-Race Notebook

Sportscar365’s post-race notebook from the 51st edition Nürburgring 24…

Photo: Porsche

***Frikadelli Racing Team boss Klaus Abbelen dedicated the organization’s long-awaited first Nürburgring 24 victory to Sabine Schmitz, his partner and co-driver who passed away two years ago at the age of 51. After an emotional outcome, Abbelen said: “Bee, this win is for you! You carried us from heaven to our greatest team success.”

***Management figures from Audi Sport, BMW, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche offered congratulations to Abbelen’s Frikadelli squad, which ended a 21-year wait for a non-German car to win the N24.

***Audi Sport head of customer racing Chris Reinke told Sportscar365: “We are all happy for Klaus Abbelen and his team – a legend out here at the ‘Ring – to secure his first win in his first outing with the Ferrari in a 24-hour race. That is a very unique one. We are all racers enough to appreciate and congratulate the team and Ferrari.”

***Ferrari became the fourth different manufacturer to win the Nürburgring 24 in as many years after BMW, Porsche and Audi. The Italian manufacturer also joined the ‘big four’ German brands as a winner of both 24-hour GT races at the Nürburgring and Spa.

***Ferrari’s sports car racing director Antonello Coletta described the result as a “historic” one, saying: “To have interrupted the German manufacturers’ many years of hegemony over this race in this top-level competitive scenario is a truly incredible achievement.”

***David Pittard, Earl Bamber and Felipe Fernandez Laser became first-time N24 winners. Nicky Catsburg, meanwhile, earned his second victory after winning with this year’s runner-up ROWE Racing in 2020.

***Bamber has now won three out of four of the major 24-hour races. He previously won at Le Mans in 2015 and Spa in 2020. “So now I’ve only got Daytona left, then I’ve got everything,” Bamber told Sportscar365.

***Frikadelli received its new Ferrari in February, having sold both of its Type-991.2 Porsche 911 GT3 Rs to customers. Earlier in the weekend Abbelen told Sportscar365 that he would wait until after the N24 to decide if he will field the Ferrari in other races. Frikadelli also did the Rolex 24 at Daytona, CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa and Kyalami 9 Hour with Porsche.

***Haupt Racing Team claimed its first N24 podium at the fourth time of asking. The team confirmed to Sportscar365 that Edoardo Mortara completed one stint in the third-placed No. 4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo. However, the Swiss driver was not shown on the official results document and did not attend the post-race press conference.

***All of the Scherer PHX Audis ran with ‘Danke Ernst’ stickers honoring Phoenix Racing founder and team principal Ernst Moser, who is stepping down from his long-held role at the end of this year.

***Moser will remain involved in the team but only as a part-time consultant. Scherer bought a majority stake in Phoenix at the start of this year. When asked if the organization has lined up a new team principal, Moser told Sportscar365: “We are on it. I would like my son to do it because he is doing most daily work already.”

***Moser was given the honor of serving as lollipop man for the final pit stop of the No. 40 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II. After releasing Mike Rockenfeller for the final stint, he was greeted with a standing ovation from team and manufacturer crew members in the garage.

***The double blow of both the No. 1 and No. 5 PHX Audis crashing out on oil at the same place during the night occurred due to their proximity to each other on track. “They were 20 seconds apart,” Moser explained. “The biggest problem was the first car crashing. The driver had to first calm down to give us the information. This took a bit long and the reaction was only five seconds before the second one crashed. He was on the button, but it was too late.”

***Marco Mapelli said that ABT Sportsline made significant setup changes after encountering three punctures on its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2. The team raised the pressures “very high” and reduced the camber as much as it could. “We have never ran [such] low camber,” Mapelli told Sportscar365. “We kept destroying the tires anyway, but we could finish the stint at least.”

***Mapelli added that ABT did a “great job” in preparing for its first N24 with Lamborghini. When asked if he sees future potential in the project, the Lamborghini factory driver said: “I believe so. I believe the team wants to continue… this is really cool because of the experience they have.”

***ROWE Racing team principal Hans-Peter Naundorf explained why the BMW M4 GT3s made strides during the night. “This is natural with the turbos,” he told Sportscar365. “The air cool goes down and you get better pressures inside. This is standard procedure. It’s the same at Spa.”

***The No. 102 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW, which had a strong run after bouncing back from an accident in Top Qualifying, retired with damage to its oil and water system after Thomas Neubauer took to a curb while trying to overtake a lower-category car.

***Half of the GT3 cars in the 32-vehicle SP9 class were classified as retirements.

***In addition to being a partner on the winning Frikadelli Ferrari, Rinaldi Racing also won the SP9 Pro-Am class with the Wochenspiegel Team Monschau organization which finished seventh overall.

***Daniel Keilwitz broke the N24 event lap record in the WTM by Rinaldi Ferrari, setting a time of 8:08.006 at an average speed of 187.212 km/h (116 mph) in the 15th hour, shortly before 7 a.m. It eclipsed the new N24 qualifying lap record that Raffaele Marciello posted last Friday by 1.052 seconds.

***Both the Ferrari 296 GT3 and the last non-German car to win the N24 — Zakspeed’s Chrysler Viper GTS-R — were assembled by French manufacturer ORECA.

***The SP10 class was “robbed of a grandstand finish” according to KCMG team manager Matt Howson, after its Toyota GR Supra GT4 Evo developed a right-rear puncture with under two hours to go. The car had already recovered a three-minute deficit after a clash with two SP9 cars and was battling with the No. 86 FK Performance Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 until its issue.

***Howson told Sportscar365 that KCMG and FK Performance were “basically running them like SP9s” in a fierce battle on Sunday.

***The all-American Hyundai Motorsport N crew of Taylor Hagler, Michael Lewis, Mason Filippi and Harry Gottsacker finished second in TCR behind their dominant teammates in the No. 830 Hyundai Elantra N TCR.

***Ollis Garage Racing, the team running the No. 118 Dacia Logan, confirmed in a statement on social media that the damage sustained in a crash involving the No. 54 Dinamic GT Porsche 911 GT3 R meant the end of the project. The team will be unable to source a replacement engine for the car for it to continue racing.

***Maximilian Weissermel, the driver of the Dacia, was taken to a local hospital for checks but has since been released. Dinamic driver Laurin Heinrich was found to be at fault for the incident and was handed a €3,000 ($3,245 USD) fine.

***The popular Opel Manta completed 117 laps and finished third in SP3 class, behind Toyota Gazoo Racing Team Thailand. Manta driver Volker Strycek made his record-extending 45th appearance in the N24. Click here for a full rundown of the class results.

****Raffaele Marciello was presented with the Glickenhaus Trophy on the starting grid after taking pole for Mercedes-AMG Team Bilstein. Jim Glickenhaus wasn’t in attendance to present the award after his team opted to forgo the race for the first time since 2014.

***SRO Motorsports Group is open to allowing other series to licence its GT2 platform, according to founder and CEO Stephane Ratel. Mercedes-AMG ran a pair of GT2 cars in the SP-X class at the N24, with the best one completing 144 laps and finishing 34th.

***Speaking from last weekend’s SRO America round, Ratel said: “I would love to. Let’s not forget that ADAC Nordrhein did our first GT4 licensing back in 2008 or something like that. They were the first ones. They never used the name GT4, it was SP10. But it was GT4 from a long, long time ago. It’s a matter of the ADAC Nordrhein, which is a separate club, if they want to do it. Of course, we’re very much in favor of developing GT2 in a number of series.”

***Event organizer ADAC Nordrhein posted a weekend attendance figure of 235,000 spectators, beating last year’s number by 5,000.

***A marshal who was on duty in the Schwalbenschwanz area passed away after collapsing on Sunday. The 57-year-old, an experienced Nordschleife trackside worker, received immediate medical treatment and was taken to the circuit medical center by ambulance, then to the intensive care unit of Mayen hospital. In a statement, the race organizer said that “resuscitation measures were ultimately unsuccessful.”

***Race director Walter Hornung commented: “The thoughts of all organizers of the 24H Nürburgring are with the family of the deceased.”

Davey Euwema and John Dagys contributed to this report

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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