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Nürburgring 24h Race 2020: The race in review

Stefan Baldauf
Nürburgring 24h Race 2020
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2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Nürburgring 2020 24-hour race is history. Rowe Racing with Nicky Catsburg, Nick Yelloly and Alex Sims for BMW takes their 20th victory in history after ten years. In the end it is a real nerve-racking thriller. The Car Collection Audi (# 3) with Christopher Haase at the wheel chases Nicky Catsburg in the Rowe BMW (# 99), who takes the lead at the penultimate pit stop when switching to rain tires. In the meantime, Haase is close on the Dutchman's heels and shortens the gap to 13 seconds, but even after the final pit stop, which Haase makes one lap later, the pecking order BMW remains ahead of Audi. The Schnitzer BMW (# 42) completes the podium. You inherit third place shortly before the end because Dries Vanthoor kissed the crash barrier in the Phoenix Racing # 1 Audi.

12:45 to 2:00 p.m.

The events roll over. While there was a duel at the top between the Car Collection Audi (# 3) and the Rowe BMW (# 99), in which the Audi asserted itself, everything is now mixed up again. It starts to rain around 1.40 p.m. Some respond faster, others slower. All vehicles from the leading group come to the pits to change tires - with one exception. The Car Collection Audi with Christopher Haase stays outside for a lap longer.

In retrospect, this turns out to be a mistake. The Rowe BMW benefits from having opted for rain tires without hesitation after two laps on slicks and takes the lead over the Car Collection Audi with a lead of over half a minute. Behind is the Phoenix-Audi (# 1), which may have even more of it, because you change tires with the other pit stop rhythm of the car after seven laps. The Schnitzer BMW (# 42) has settled in fourth place, 30 seconds behind the car in front.

11:10 am to 12:45 pm

It crashed. Herbie Schmidt overlooks Henning Cramer's Porsche Cayman GT4 (# 304) in his Opel Astra (# 90) in the ice curve. Both cars land in the guardrail. The race managementresponds and calls out a Code 60 phase. The drivers sneak past the scene of the accident at a maximum of 60 km /h so that the marshals can safely recover the damaged racing cars. The lap times increase directly by over 40 seconds.

At the top, all cars have been using slick tires since around 12 noon. The racing line is dry. 'Even lapping is not a problem because the dry lane is wide enough. We can drive cleanly,' reports Martin Tomczyk, who and his Schnitzer team dropped to fifth place after a penalty. Defending champion Audi's car (# 1) also finished its 32 seconds. Nico Müller then hands over to Frank Stippler. The Phoenix Audi drives in a different pit stop window. You come in four laps before the competition.

The race comes to a head with two candidates. Audi versus BMW. The 3 Series Audi (Bortolotti /Haase /Winkelhock) has the Rowe-BMW (# 99) from Sims /Catsburg /Yelloly /Eng in the back. Distance: 6.7 seconds. A Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (# 65) was spinning in front of the two in the first chicane of the GP circuit. Third place is held by the next Rowe BMW. Double starts Philipp Eng is almost a minute back. In a normal race, there is actually no more catching up to do. And Eng gets a visit from Jaminet. The Frikadelli-Porsche (# 31) wants to be on the podium.

9:20 am to 11:10 am

On Sunday morning, the hour for BMW has struck. Bayern crank it up on the drying slopes. Both Sheldon van der Linde in the Schnitzer BMW (# 42) and Alex Sims in the Rowe BMW (# 99). Both are sometimes 15 seconds per lap faster than the competition. That gives the South African four positions at once in one lap and thus second place behind the Car Collection Audi (# 3). The # 1 from Phoenix is ​​also at the forefront, but with a short stint of just four laps, gets out of the rhythm of the others. Land (# 29) is experimenting with switching to cut slicks, but the attempt does not prove to be successful.

With five hours left on the clock, Sims has worked its way up and is in third place . The lap times of the BMW: Around 9 minutes. Meanwhile, Christopher Haase slips under pressure into the gravel bed in the Aremberg area. 'My double stint was difficult and a bit dangerous,' says Haase. 'You have to take a high risk to have speed. Except for one slip in Aremberg I was doing well. But that shows how much we balance on the knife tip. We hope that we have now chosen the right tire. Since the restart, the race has become more of a sprint. '

It gets exciting after the next stop, when the top favorites put rain tires on again. Martin Tomczyk in the Schnitzer BMW drove up to Mirko Bortolotti in the Car Collection Audi within two seconds. But the big showdown is losing tension becauseSchnitzer gets a penalty of 32 seconds for falling short of the minimum standing time.

00:04 to 9:20 am

The 24h race was on for nine hours the Nürburgring-Nordschleife interrupted. After driving behind the safety car, the race management clears the classic at 8:18 a.m. The track is wet, but at least it doesn't rain anymore. The German plants win against each other. Five Porsches, four Audi, four BMW and three Mercedes are still in the same lap. 90 cars from the original 97 are still in the second part of the race. That's a high rate. But we mustn't forget: The mechanics were able to work on the cars during the break.

As a precaution, Audi replaced the gearbox in the R8 LMS GT3 with starting number 1. Frank Stippler leads the field into the second part of the race, but loses his But lead immediately. The teammates attack him. First René Rast (# 29), whose country Audi still has to serve a 32-second penalty, then Christopher Haase (# 3). A little later, Haase grabs a break on the Döttinger Höhe. The R8 with starting number 3 has the best cards.

Dennis Olsen is on the advance with the KCMG-Porsche (# 19) - until the Norwegian overestimates himself at the airport and falls behind after a spin. It's even worse for Maro Engel, whose urge to move forward is slowing down a problem. The pole setter loses a wheel and has to pit a second time. Engel (# 6) falls back to 16th place. BMW has more problems with the wet surface than the competition. It looks like the drivers are struggling to get the temperature into the tires. The M6 ​​slip when accelerating, especially at the exit of the bend.


Hardly written, Race Director Hornung says something again. The fans on the TV monitors have to be patient. 'We used the time to gather information from various sources. The weather is supposed to get worse between 2 and 3 am. It should rain until 7 am. We have informed the teams that the engines will be off until then. Most of them can go to sleep. The mechanics have time to repair the cars. '

The spectators along the track had to leave the stands at 11 p.m. They can come back at 7 a.m. You won't miss a thing by canceling it.

10:50 p.m. to midnight

The drivers pause, the mechanics work. They tap the cars for possible damage. For example, GetSpeed ​​is restoring the GT3 racer from Marciello /Schiller /Götz /Buhk. Despite the accident, the quartet is still in 19th place - two laps behind. It is already clear: A maximum of 16 cars are still fighting for overall success. You are within a lap. The rest would have to go back and catch up for several minutes. That seems impossible.

Race director Walter Hornung explains why there is noneAnother choice to stop the race was: 'The water did not want to drain. It became too dangerous. We want to give the teams an update at 00:30. But I guess the weather will not allow them to resume until the early hours of the morning.' /p>

10:00 p.m. to 10:50 p.m.

After just over seven hours of driving, the race management pulls the rip cord. There is too much water on the route. The long distance marathon is interrupted. The cars have to go back to the pit lane. And everyone involved is forced to take a break until the weather improves. Apparently the race management wants to wait until at least 00:30. Then there should be an update. However, more heavy rain is expected in the next four to five hours.

Audi almost lost two top cars before the demolition. The leading R8 LMS GT3 (# 1) slid through the grass. But Dries Vanthoor is not striking anywhere. It's the same with team mate Christopher Haase (# 3), who loses second place after a spin on the way to Hatzenbach, but from his point of view does not cause any major damage. Kelvin van der Linde and the Land-Audi team (# 29) inherit the second position. But they have a burden: for disregarding flag signals, they get a penalty of 32 seconds.

Audi's lead of almost two minutes has evaporated after the race was canceled. BMW, Porsche and AMG are happy. When you restart, you will no longer chase after any residue. Especially the beaten Mercedes should now rejoice with a podium place. It seemed out of reach after the accidents involving the HRT and GetSpeed ​​Mercedes. The best-placed AMG GT3 (# 6) was already almost five minutes behind. Now something could work again: The first seven hours of racing have proven that the car is fast.

The order: 1. Audi R8 LMS (# 1) - 2. Audi R8 LMS (# 29) - 3rd Audi R8 LMS (# 3) - 4th BMW M6 GT3 (# 99) - 5th Porsche 911 GT3 R (# 18) - 6th BMW M6 GT3 (# 42) - 7th Audi R8 LMS (# 5) - 8th Mercedes AMG GT3 (# 6) - 9th Mercedes-AMG GT3 (# 2) - 10th Porsche 911 GT3 R (# 31).

8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

The last two hours of the race offer a little more action again. Events come thick and fast, especially at the top. First of all, # 4 from HRT has to accept a penalty of 33 seconds for falling short of the minimum standing time. But that doesn't matter a few minutes later anyway. Because when the rain gets heavier, Manuel Metzger loses the Mercedes-AMG in the swallowtail area while lying on the drying wet tire.

'That is hard and disappointing,' says Metzger. 'We are the first stint drove with the full wet rain tire. Because it then dried off, we decided to use the drying wet. That was a perfect decision too. But then the air pressures and temperatures collapsed. I crept and gently out of the little oneCarousel driven. Nevertheless, I suddenly lost the car. ”

The so-called drying-wet tire from Michelin is a rain tire that is specially made for the drying route. With this, Maro Engel also achieved pole position on the lecture. However, Metzger had no experience with the tire, which is probably a bit difficult to handle.

Then the # 9 GetSpeed-Mercedes takes the lead. But that shouldn't last long. First it catches Maxi Götz, who has a touch while lapping a slower vehicle and turns the competitor around. On top of that. The second shock for GetSpeed ​​follows at 10 p.m .: Raffaele Marciello, who started out as a rain specialist, only spins away in the Adenauer Forest. Apparently the Mercedes was damaged in the process, although it didn't look like it at first. Marciello hits Kallenhard a little later with his AMG GT3 and is towed away. The result: Audi has a triple tour with the Phoenix-Audi # 1, the Land-Audi # 29 and the # 3 Car Collection-Audi.

5:55 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Green Hell knows no mercy. First, Franck Perera gave a gala performance in the Konrad Lamborghini and surprised everyone with third place and from one second to the next it was all over. The underdogs have to bury their hopes for a good result at 6:08 p.m. - just 2.5 hours after the start. Perera comes to a stop on the guardrail in the area after the ex-mill. Apparently due to a technical problem.

'We suddenly had a problem shortly after the pit stop,' says Perera. 'Something happened in the rear. I took it slowly and then stopped. We were pretty easy in third place, Marco had a great first stint. The team did a great job. It's a shame that we have to stop after three hours . ”

At the top, the two Mercedes from GetSpeed ​​and HRT still go back and forth. However, there was a change in leadership. Now Manuel Metzger in the # 4 HRT-Mercedes has first place with over 50 Seconds ahead. Previously, Metzger nibbled off his brand colleague Fabian Schiller lap by lap the lead of over a minute. Now the gap is somewhat distorted because Metzger came to a stop one lap earlier and thus had a shorter minimum downtime. Behind the two Mercedes have the # 29 Land-Audi and the # 3 Car Collection-Audi placed themselves.

Meanwhile, the ideal line continues to dry out. Some teams are considering switching to slicks. One of the first was probably the # 19 KCMG-Por sch. However, he also has a penalty of 32 seconds on his neck for overtaking under yellow.

4:00 pm to 5:55 pm

Often In a 24-hour race, the vehicle classification 'Balance of Performance' is discussed. So far, the BoP has played a subordinate role, if at allRole. The Nordschleife experiences water features. And in such weather conditions it is not about ten kilograms more or less weight, restrictor sizes or nuances in the boost pressure, but rather the correct air pressure in the tires, the driving experience and the willingness to take risks.

It sometimes rains more , sometimes less. The weather radar doesn't promise any real improvement until tomorrow morning around 8 a.m. Schnitzer driver Augusto Farfus (car number 42), who struggled with the tire temperatures in the second stint, sums up the situation aptly: 'The track is very slippery. The rain is sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker. It's about survival and none To build an accident. '

For the pilots, the ground sometimes feels like black ice. Especially in places like Pflanzgarten I or in Hatzenbach, it should be extremely slippery. Accidents happen quickly. Just like that of Mario van Bohlen, who lost the Walkenhorst BMW (# 100) at the exit of Brünnchen and stranded in the guardrail. The front section of the M6 ​​GT3 was seriously damaged. The car has to be towed by the marshals. The race management decides on the second Code 60 phase of the race. At this point, the drivers can be a maximum of 60 km /h.

Raffaele Marciello drives in a league of its own. The Italian has everything under control after 14 laps. After a pit stop, the GetSpeed-Mercedes (# 9) is in the lead with over a minute ahead of Maro Engel in the HRT-Mercedes with the starting number 4. Another half minute behind is Franck Perera in the Konrad-Lamborghini - a strong performance by the team stops in front of the factory-supported cars from Porsche and Audi.

Dennis Olsen shines in the KCMG-Porsche 911 GT3 (# 19). The Norwegian moved up to fourth place. Back to the top: 2.05 minutes. The sister car, on the other hand, sled through the grass on the Grand Prix track. The five-time 24-hour Nürburgring winner Timo Bernhard is currently at the wheel. Audi has three cars in the top ten. They are in positions five to seven. BMW, however, slipped. Rowe (# 99) is currently in eighth place with Alexander Sims.


The race has started - with 97 cars making the 24 hours want to survive. A particularly difficult task awaits drivers and teams. It's windy and above all very wet. There are dangers lurking everywhere on the 25.378 kilometers. Ferrari gets off to the best start. Jonathan Hirschi overtakes Maro Engel's Mercedes-AMG GT3 (# 4) in the Octane-Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo (# 26) on the home straight.

But it's just a short fireworks display. When it comes to the Nordschleife, Hirschi loses the first positions. First Raffaele Marciello strikes in the GetSpeed ​​Mercedes, followed by Engel in the Hatzenbach-Schlängel. The Ferrari, which rides on Goodyear rain tires, is falling back position by position. The rivals attack the 488. Hirschi is now taking up29th place.

After three laps, two Mercedes are at the front. Marciello is 6.2 seconds ahead of Engel. The gap to the rear is large. Martin Tomczyk has already lost half a minute in his Schnitzer BMW. Frank Stippler makes a big leap. Audi's veteran marches from twelfth starting position to fourth position in the wet start phase. The other places in the top 10: Marco Mapelli (# 21 Lamborghini), Nick Yelloly (# 99 BMW), Markus Winkelhock (# 3 Audi), Matthieu Vaxiviere (# 8 Mercedes), Thomas Jäger (# 22 Mercedes), Frederic Vervisch (# 1) Audi. All of the cars in the top group use Michelin rain tires. The best Porsche occupies eleventh place.


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