Audi wins weather-shortened Nurburgring 24 Hours

The 52nd running of the Nurburgring 24 Hours — the legendary endurance race through “The Green Hell” — ended early this year due to poor visibility from heavy fog through the night and morning.

When the race started at 4:00pm local time on Saturday, parts of the Grand Prix track and Nordschleife were wet. The pole-sitting No. 72 BMW piloted by Dan Harper was on the dry tires and pitted for rain tires at the end of the formation lap when the green flag was waved. It rejoined in the 21st position.

BMW M Team RMG handed the lead to the No. 911 Manthey Porsche, which Kevin Estre maintained into the first corner.


The No. 99 ROWE BMW of Augusto Farfus made a great start and managed to pull momentarily alongside Estre. The No. 130 GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG of Maro Engel gambled with dry tires and made an even better start.


Engel took the lead from Estre on the Grand Prix track, where it was drier, but Estre took the lead back on the wet Nordschleife. Engel was shuffled back to 24th position and pitted for rain tires after the first lap.

Then it was Farfus’s turn to fight for the lead with the ‘Grello’ Porsche of Estre. The two battled for several thrilling laps. The No. 99 of Farfus led after the first round of pit stops.

Meanwhile, the No. 16 Scherer Audi started by Frank Stippler held their qualifying position of third. Also, the No. 72 was clawing its way back into contention after the tire situation at the start.

Around three hours into the race, Sheldon Van der Linde in the No. 99 crashed out of the lead after contact with two lapped cars at the Foxhole resulting in a heavy crash. The drivers walked away, but the No. 99’s race was over.

As they raced into the darkness of night, Harper in the No. 72 and Christopher Mies in the No. 16 battled for the lead.

“It probably was the greatest fight I’ve ever had on the Nordschleife. We were passing each other. We didn’t even have the smallest contact, but still, we were racing super hard and fair. I really enjoyed that,” said Mies about Harper after the race.

The tension built as the fog began to descend onto the Nurburgring, which made it difficult to see the road as well as marshals and flags.

At 11:23pm, the race was red-flagged due to the intensity of the fog and lack of visibility. The No. 16 Audi was in the lead when the red flag came out.

The race was stopped for 14.5 hours. Race control released updates in the hopes that the fog would lift and racing could resume, but it was not to be.


Race director Walter Hornung decided at 1:30pm that the cars would return to the track and complete the minimum laps behind the safety car. If the conditions improved, then the race would continue with a couple of hours remaining. They did not improve.

At 3:00pm — one hour before the scheduled finish — Hornung waved off the race and the Scherer Sport PHX No. 16 Audi R8 of Stippler, Mies, Ricardo Feller, and Dennis Marschall were declared the winners.

Scherer Sport PHX team: Feller, Stippler, Marschall, Mies
Scherer Sport PHX team: Feller, Stippler, Marschall, Mies

“It was most likely the last chance to win a 24-hour race of the Nurburgring with an Audi, because Audi is disappearing from GT racing, as well as I’m getting older at 49 years old, so I don’t know how many chances there might be in the future,” said an emotional Stippler afterward.

The No. 911 Manthey Porshe of Estre, Laurens Vanthoor, Thomas Preining, and Ayhancan Güven finished in second place.

The No. 72 of Harper, Max Hesse, and Charles Weerts finished in third for BMW M Team RMG after their complications at the start.

Story originally appeared on Racer