The inaugural 12-hour NLS race on Saturday and Sunday, featuring a pair of 6-hour stages, saw the #3 Falken Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Joel Eriksson, Jaxon Evans, Sven Mueller and Alessio Picariello win.
The fan-favorite Falken Porsche came home 15.222 seconds ahead of the #16 Scherer Sport Team Phoenix Audi of Kuba Giermaziak and Kim Luis Schramm with the brother of the #5 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II rounding out the podium with Vincent Kolb and Frank Stippler.
The #16 looked poised to take the win until the car coughed, almost out of fuel at the final pit stop and then struggled to restart, the delay being enough for the Porsche team to check out the Audi.
The #3 Falken Porsche 911 GT3 R had held a lead of almost a minute when the first six-hour portion ended in the dark on Saturday ahead of Björn Grossmann and Luca Ludwig in the #26 Team Octane 126 Ferrari 488 GT3. The eventual third-place trio in the #16 Audi completed Saturday’s leg in third place.
Qualifying had already turned into a cliffhanger in wet conditions, but drying up drastically towards the end of the session, Giermaziak set the fastest time with 8m19.189s, closely followed by the #34 Walkenhorst-BMW M4 GT3 just 1,530 seconds.
A surprise in third followed: Gabriele Piana drove the Black Falcon’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup to third on the grid, a first for a Cup 2 car in the NLS/VLN.
With tire choice in changing conditions creating a lottery early on, the first six hours saw the lead change hands no fewer than seven times. G-Tech Competition’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 126-octane Ferrari 488 GT3, Scherer Sport Team Phoenix’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 and Falken Porsche lead the field.
The cars remained in parc fermé on the start and finish straight until the second part of Sunday’s race. The restart will take place at 10:00 hrs with the same intervals that the cars were marked home on Saturday.
The fastest car on Sunday was Scherer Sport Team Phoenix’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 before a strategic mistake after 58 laps saw Schramm enter pit lane with an empty tank. “It’s not always the fastest car that wins, in which case we’d be on top of the podium,” admitted Giermaziak. “On Saturday we once put on the wrong tyres, which also cost us a lot of time. However: it is good to be on the podium, but it is not good to be only second.
Meanwhile, Frank Stippler and Vincent Kolb, driving Scherer Sport Team’s sister car Phoenix and finishing less than a minute off the pace in third place, were very pleased. “We certainly didn’t do everything right on Saturday, but we didn’t do everything wrong either, which is confirmed by our third place finish,” Stippler said. Kolb added: “I lost some time when I was on slicks in the heavy rain in the early stages. That was like driving on black ice. We didn’t lose much time today and we’re happy with the result”.
“Until the very end it was not clear to us whether we would really take home the victory because, according to the time monitors, we didn’t know exactly how much time our competitors would need at the last stop,” said eventual winner Sven Müller. .
“Ultimately, we are also extremely happy to win the Nürburgring 12 Hours, having already won the 6-hour race. The conditions in the first six hours were really tough. With slicks and a lot of rain, it was difficult to keep the car on track. Today time was no longer a factor. It was still very close to the end.” Müller welcomes the format of the Nürburgring 12 Hours: “Yesterday we had a lot of fun driving into the night. The restart was also interesting.”
Behind the top three, Björn Grossmann and Luca Ludwig in the 126 octane team’s Ferrari 488 GT3 finished fourth. After the duo had still been in a fight with the leaders in changeable conditions on Saturday, they lacked the pace in the dry to get on the podium.
Fifth place went to Marcel Marchewicz and Marek Böckmann in the Schnitzelalm Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. The fastest SP9 Pro-Am car, the Lionspeed by Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3, was driven by Leon Köhler, Simon Reicher, Florian Spengler and Jörg Viebahn, who finished eighth.
The Cup2 911s, new this year, caused a sensation in the early stages of the race. Starting from third position, Gabriele Piana (Black Falcon) moved into first place immediately after the start with the right tire choice. After the first lap, Fabio Grosse in the G-Tech Competition counterpart led.
Although the Cup 911s were ultimately no longer able to compete for the top positions, they showed their potential: After 12 hours, Daniel Blickle, Tim Scheerbarth and David Jahn in the AVIA W&S Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup almost missed the top. 10 and finished eleventh.
They collected all 30 points for first place in class, as did Mauro Calamia, Ivan Jacoma and Kai Riemer in the fastest Cup3 Cayman.
In VT2-R+4WD, Daniel Zils, Oskar Sandberg and Sindre Setsaas triumphed in the BMW 330i of the Adrenalin Motorsport Team Alzner Automotive. Therefore, the two best teams in the championship have each obtained the maximum points. The gap in the drivers’ standings remains unchanged at 17 points with three races to go.
Jahn/Hinzer/Sidorenko/Schroers (VW Golf, GITI TIRE MOTORSPORT BY WS RACING) in VT2-FWD, Epp/Uelwer/Kaatz (Renault Clio Cup, MSC Adenau) in SP3 and Markert/Reimer/Deißler (BMW M240i Racing Cup, Adrenalin Motorsport Team Alzner Automotive) also scored maximum points.
“From a sporting point of view, almost everything went perfectly, so the many hours of preparation paid off,” said Michael Bork, VLN racing and sports director. “In particular, the restart was the highlight of the event. We received a lot of positive feedback from the participants.”
Ralph-Gerald Schlüter, Managing Director of VLN Sport GmbH & Co. KG: “For the first time in the history of the series, two organizers organized a race together. ACAS and DMC have managed to comply with this in an exemplary manner. Both clubs complemented each other and played to their strengths”.
The sixth race of the Nürburgring Endurance Series will take place on October 8. MSC Sinzig’s 54th ZEWOTHERM ADAC Barbarossapreis will cover the usual NLS distance of four hours.
NLS 12-hour result
Screenshots of Frozenspeed