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VLN/Nürburgring 24

Nürburgring Post-Race Notebook

Sportscar365’s post-race notebook from after the Nürburgring 24…

Photo: Gruppe C

***The Nürburgring 24 win marked Audi Sport customer racing’s 13th overall 24-hour race victory since 2009, including five times at the N24, four in the Total 24 Hours of Spa and twice in the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai.

***The crash that took Maxi Goetz out of the race from second place was caused by damage from earlier contact picked up on the Mann-Filter Mercedes-AMG GT3 by Raffaele Marciello. Goetz appeared to bounce off the curb at Hohe Acht, understeering into the barrier.

***Both of Frikadelli Racing Team’s Porsches retired in the team’s final Nordschleife race of the season, with the team having pulled out of VLN due to controversy surrounding the slowing-down of GT3 cars this year. Frikadelli’s Pro entry was one of the lead challengers for a podium finish until it retired after stopping on track following a repair for a puncture.

“Unfortunately, it will be the last appearance of our GT3 vehicles on the Nordschleife for the time being. We will look elsewhere to avoid the eternal quarrels of the BoP on the ‘Ring,” said team principal Klaus Abbelen.

***Gabriele Piana was served a €5000 penalty for the incident that saw him push Rene Rast off track and onto the grass on the Döttinger Höhe after making several changes of direction to block. The stewards’ notice made a point that cars travel at 260 km/h (162 mph) on that part of the track.

***The fourth-place Car Collection Audi was given a stop-and-hold penalty for a short pit stop late in the race, serving 67 seconds as a penalty plus the 20 seconds extra that it should have served in its stop.

***The same car also served a 32-second penalty for not respecting flag signals a few hours earlier, while the Mann-Filter Mercedes was given a similar penalty overnight.

***The winning No. 4 Audi’s tally of 157 laps was the third-longest distance achieved in N24 history. It fell two laps short of the record 159-lap haul set during Phoenix Racing’s last victory in 2014, and one short of the Land Audi’s 158 marker from two years ago.

***The Phoenix car was classified a lap ahead of the second-placed No. 911 Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R because Kevin Estre eased off on his final lap. The Frenchman took the checkered flag before Vanthoor, because the N24 finish is called when the clock hits zero, and not when the winner reaches the line. Since Vanthoor had crossed the line a few seconds before the 24 hours were up, he gained an extra lap.

***The gap between the two leading cars would have been approximately 50 seconds had Vanthoor taken the flag first, under typical race-ending circumstances.

***Phoenix pitted a lap later than Manthey at the final round of stops, which helped cement the No. 4 Audi out front. N24 rules enable a car’s last pit stop to be shorter than a regular service, depending on how late in the race it comes in. Vanthoor had a minimum stop time of 167 seconds, while the Porsche’s minimum was longer, meaning the Audi gained a further 20 seconds at the final pit call. The gap beforehand was around half a minute.

***The No. 911 Manthey Porsche was mistakenly directed and parked in the main Parc Ferme post-race instead of the pit lane for podium ceremonies. Blocked in by parked cars from all sides, the second-place finishing car was unable to be moved to the podium ceremonies, which include the top-three overall finishing cars.

***AMR Performance Centre’s SP 8T class win marked the first 24-hour race win for the new-gen Aston Martin Vantage in any spec, including GT4, GT3 and GTE. Alex Brundle, Jamie Chadwick and Peter Cate took the No. 37 Vantage GT4 to 28th overall.

***The highest-placed car below SP9, SP-X and SP-Pro levels was a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entered by Muehlner Motorsport, which finished 15th overall.

***A full list of class winners can be found here.

***The Nürburgring 24 is now the first major GT3 endurance race that both the Vanthoor brothers, Dries and Laurens, have won. The only other big race that both drivers have triumphed in is the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but in separate classes.

***Frederic Vervisch scored his second 24-hour race win of the year and maintained his 100 percent podium record in 2019. The Belgian, who was also competing in the FIA WTCR races at the Nürburgring, won the 24 Hours of Dubai and finished third in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, both times driving Audis.

***Vervisch didn’t win any of three FIA WTCR support races on the Nordschleife, but did finish second twice to stand on the podium a total of three times in the weekend.

***Pierre Kaffer became a first-time overall winner in a 24-hour race and ended a 10-year victory drought in the format with the 42-year-old’s last such win coming in the 2009 Le Mans GT2 class with Risi Competizione.

***Stippler, who was the only driver in the Phoenix lineup to have won the N24 previously, empathized with Laurens Vanthoor after the leading Manthey Porsche’s severe penalty for speeding under yellows. “Laurens didn’t see the flag, but this can happen to anybody,” Stippler told Sportscar365. “If you are focusing on the car running in front of you, and you try to judge if he’s turning in or if there’s some space, and at the same time there’s a flag, it’s so easy to not see it.”

***An all-female team that included female mechanics completed 59 laps but wasn’t classified as a finisher after hitting a series of mechanical issues, including a major engine problem in the first hour. Carrie Schreiner, Jasmin Preisig and Ronja Assmann shared driving duties in the No. 89 Giti Tire Motorsport by WS Motorsport Volkswagen Golf VII GTI.

***Shortly before the start of the race, Romain Dumas successfully completed a demo lap in the fully-electric Volkswagen I.D. R prototype with which he set a new recored for electric cars on the Nordschleife three weeks ago. “It’s good that the people can see now, in reality, the car,” said Dumas. “When you see so many spectators here, it’s great to show the car in reality this time. It’s the best track in the world so it’s always great to drive on this track, and even more with a prototype.”

***In two weeks’ time, Dumas and the I.D. R will defend their title at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, after he set a new electric record of 43.86 seconds last year.

***The race’s official attendance figure was 230,000, an increase from last year’s record crowd of 210,000. This was likely helped by the weather, with no rain and highs of 26ºC (79ºF). In total, almost half a million people attended the two major sports car races held on the last two weekends: Le Mans and the N24.

Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist who is Sportscar365's European Editor and also Managing Editor for e-racing365. He is a student of Politics and International Relations. Contact Jake

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