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Are you ready for the biggest motorsport event of the season?
Arguably the world’s toughest endurance race, the 2012 Nürburgring 24 Hours ended with the Audi Sport Team Phoenix R8 LMS ultra capturing the victory after 155 grueling laps on the ‘Green Hell’.
It’s the first victory for the German automaker at the famous Nürburgring 24 race with drivers Marc Basseng, Christopher Haase, Frank Stippler, and Markus Winkelhock at the wheel. Second place also went to Audi with Chris Mamerow, Christian Abt, Michael Ammermüller, and Armin Hahne finishing behind their fellow Audi teammates while representing Mamerow racing.
Third place went to the Hankook-Team Heico Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 driven by Christian Frankenhout, Andreas Simonsen, Pierre Kaffer, and Lance David Arnold who barely edged out the Wochenspiegel-Porsche 911 GT3 R with Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas, Lucas Luhr, and Richard Lietz behind the wheel.
As expected, the race was not without any drama with less than one-third of the 31 GT3-spec race cars having trouble-free races. Team Schubert’s BMW Z4 GT3 held the pole and the race early on but lost six laps from a driveshaft failure. Its sister car experienced gearbox issues after leading, leaving the race down to fellow German automakers Audi and Mercedes-Benz to face off.
Audi’s top entry, the number-2 Phoenix car, crashed in the early morning after rain fell in the 15th hour. The ROWE Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 took over the lead before it found trouble with a suspension failure that ultimately took it out of the race with six hours to go.
This is the fourth Nürburgring 24 Hour attempt for the Audi R8 LMS race car and marks a historic 1-2 sweep along with Audi’s first win. As for Team Phoenix, it’s enjoying its second win after capturing the title in 2003 with an Opel Astra V8 Coupe.
“It was a great weekend for us, for the whole team,” Winkelhock said. “We had a perfect car that had no problems. It’s just amazing to stand on the podium. It was a really tough race and is really competitive.”
There’s one question that will be asked by motorsports enthusiasts across the country today and it won’t be who will win next weekend’s Indy 500 or if the the Monaco GP will be a parade this year. No, it will be about another world famous test of man and machine (and one that’s actually happening this weekend), the Nurburgring 24 Hour Race. And the question on the minds of so many racing fans will be: Where can I watch it online?
Toyota is extremely proud of its new GT 86, and out in Japan, its motorsports partner Gazoo Racing has built a pair of GT 86s to compete in the famous Nürburgring 24 Hours race.
The race will take place from May 17th to the 20th and Gazoo Racing will also be fielding a Lexus LFA in the competition. Before one of the GT 86s compete in the Nürburgring race, however, it will make its way to the Japanese Rally Championship. Both custom Gazoo Racing Toyota GT 86s will be on display at the upcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK from June 29th to July 1st.
It appears that the GT 86s will have around 200-hp and will be equipped with a six-speed manual for the race. We’re excited to see how well it does during the grueling endurance classic.
Watch a video of the Gazoo Racing Toyota GT 86 below
Nissan is out to prove a point on just how formidable the Club Track Edition GT-R is. This year, the Japanese automaker will bring a production version of the Club Track Edition GT-R to compete in the 24 hours at Nürburgring endurance race.
Nissan said that competing in the 24 Hours of Nürburgring with a factory model GT-R will allow them to collect data to help improve the GT-R over the next five years. We’re sure that’s part of the reason, the other is clearly to prove how great the GT-R is in factory form.
Now skeptics will probably say it’s not a production model vehicle if Nissan so much as swaps its tires, but so long as they don’t touch the powerplant, suspension, or brakes with any modifications – it’s factory in our eyes. But no doubt Nissan is looking to play a little bit in the Europeans’ backyard, potentially trumping modified Porsches, BMWs, and Mercedes-Benz’s in a GT-R model that rolls off the dealership showroom floor.
Watch the video below of the Nissan team readying the GT-R for the race.
Subaru will be represented by Subaru Tecnica International (STI) at this year’s 24-hour of Nurburgring race. Rolling in their new and improved 2011 WRX STI “ts”, the STI team has been very busy testing and tuning in order to compete in the SP3t class. Most recently the STI NBR Challenge 2011, the nickname for the race car, did some testing out at Fuji Speedway.
The car will be powered by a 2.0 Boxer DOHC with a twin scroll turbo pushing out 335-hp and 340 ft-lbs of torque. It’ll be mated to a 6-speed transmission with a front, center and rear LSD. Suspension will be handled by Bilstein while it’ll race on Dunlop tires wrapped around BBS wheels.
Obviously a huge collection of STI products will be on the race car, from clutch and flywheel to trunk spoiler and drive shaft.
Official press release available after the break.
GALLERY: STI NBR Challenge 2011
It’s not every day that you get to see a bespoke Ferrari emerge through the design process, but 2011′s Baller Of The Year James Glickenhaus (we just awarded him that title on the spot) has been kind enough to share photos of his custom made Ferrari race car with the interior, in what might be the most expensive “build thread” ever.
The latest batch of pictures show the car’s carbon fiber structure essentially complete, with some chassis components sitting in boxes, although the front brake rotors appear to be attached. With many of the car’s components coming from a cannibalized F430 Scuderia, this one-off should be a fearsome competitor when it takes on the 24 Hours of Nurburgring sometime next year.
Gallery: P 4/5 Competizione
Porsche‘s 918 Spyder is set to contest the 24 Hours of Nurburgring in 2011, making it the second hybrid Porsche to compete in the grueling endurance race, with the 911 GT3R Hybrid being the first. The 918 Spyder made its debut at the Geneva Auto Show in March, and boasts (theoretical) numbers like 718 horsepower, 90 miles per gallon and a 7 minute 30 second Nurburgring time.
We can’t verify the accuracy of Porsche’s figures, but we do know that the hybrid system in the GT3R is enough to extend fuel efficiency to the point where the Porsche can go one extra lap before it has to refuel, giving it a huge advantage relative to conventionally powered cars.
Porsche is rumored to be putting the 918 Spyder intro production, and it’s hard to imagine a better way to build buzz than to enter it into a well-known endurance race. It seemed to work for Lexus.
Gallery: Porsche 918 Spyder
Toyota announced that they have no intention of returning to Formula 1, labeling the sport as “elitist” and a bad fit with the company’s customer base.
The sour grapes come from Tadashi Yamashina, the head of Toyota’s international racing program. Yamashina said that the company would focus on “grassroots” motorsports like Nascar and endurance racing such as the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. While both series are ultra-expensive and the pinnacle of technology, Yamashina called them “grassroots” in the context of fan access (himself stating “I think the best kind of races are those in which people can get in close to the race,”) rather than actual grassroots racing series, which have seen significant support by fellow Japanese automaker Mazda.
Ironically, Toyota has a notorious reputation in motorsports circles for cheating, being banned from the World Rally Championship, caught with stolen Ferrari data in Formula 1 and being caught red-handed trying to alter dyno results in NASCAR.
[Source: Automotive News]