Manthey Porsche Wins Shortest Ever Nurburgring 24 Hours

Thick fog on track for nearly 15 hours meant that the winning Porsche only completed 59 laps. 

The 49th running of the Nurburgring 24 hours last weekend was also incidentally the shortest ever event to date, with the winning #911 911 GT3 R of Manthey Racing taking the chequered flag after only 59 laps completed overall. Surpassing the prior record set in 1992 that stood at 76 laps, this most recent Eifel endurance event was massively cut short due to heavy rain and thick fog that suspended racing for over 14 hours overnight. 

Rolling in at around 9.30 p.m after six hours of racing, the red flags were brought out for what was originally meant to only be a nine and a half hour stint. Persistent fog on track however saw the restart time pushed further and further back from its initial 7.00 a.m to eventually 11.40 a.m, which hence resulted in what was a rather chaotic final 3.5 hour sprint race at the closing stages of this event. 

Leading the restarted race was Phillipp Eng of the defending champion #1 ROWE Racing M6 GT3, with #4 HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Maro Engel following closely behind. An electronics glitch for the former and a crash at Tiergarten for the latter however saw both cars retire during the final hours of the race, thereby leaving the #98 ROWE BMW and #911 Porsche vie for the top spot on the podium. 

Superior pit-stop strategy though for the ‘Grello’ 911 eventually saw it come home to win the race 8.8 seconds ahead of the M6. The final podium spot for the 2021 Nurburgring 24 Hours meanwhile went to the #7 GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG GT3, which successfully overtook the #44 Falken Motorsports Porsche at the Aremberg right-hander on the penultimate lap of the race.

A maiden Nurburgring 24 hours win for drivers Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen and Matteo Cairoli that were shared the driving duties of the #911 911, this most recent achievement here has further added to the victory tally for both Manthey Racing and Porsche. The German racing team is now considered to be the most successful team at the Eifel enduro with 7 overall wins to its name, while this accomplishment marks Porsche’s 13th win in the race as a manufacturer. 


PRESS RELEASE (translated from German): Two best marks in one fell swoop: record winner Manthey-Racing has won the shortest ADAC TOTAL 24h race in history. A fog break for a total of 14.5 hours made the 49th edition of the legendary “Eifel Marathon” the “Eifel Sprint”. Finally, after a furious start and a flawless final stint, the Frenchman Kevin Estre in the Manthey Porsche # 911 took the seventh victory for the team from Meuspath – the perfect present for the 25th anniversary of the racing team. The Italian Matteo Cairoli and the Dane Michael Christensen cheered their team mate when Estre in the “Grello” was 8.8 seconds ahead of the Rowe BMW # 98 with final drivers Sheldon van der Linde, Martin Tomczyk, Marco Wittmann and Connor de Phillippi rolled over the finish line.It was the second closest finish in the history of the race. Third place went to GetSpeed-Mercedes-AMG # 7. This resulted in three different brands making it onto the podium.

“Even if it was a shame for the spectators here on the track and at home in front of the television: There was no alternative to breaking off the race tonight in terms of safety,” said Manthey managing director Nicki Raeder. “This is how the 24-hour classic became two extremely exciting sprint races over the shortest distance in the history of this event. Nevertheless, we had to attack and give everything from the first to the last lap under the most difficult conditions. But we are very happy about this success, which we are particularly happy to celebrate on the 25th anniversary of Manthey. ”For his three drivers, it is always the first victory in the ADAC TOTAL 24h race. “It’s unbelievable, I have no words. It was such a tough race, very intense. I gave everything, it was very difficult to get through without mistakes. I’m so proud of this team, ”said Estre.

Rowe Racing on the podium again

“The race was a bit short, but very tough and exciting,” said team principal Hans-Peter Naundorf, whose team with the Rowe-BMW # 98 finished on the podium again after winning last year. “Second place means a lot to me. Of course it’s a shame when you missed victory so close. But to be on the podium in the 24-hour race is always something special. An accolade for the team too. Now is the time to celebrate, ”said Martin Tomczyk. For the Rowe-BMW # 1, which had been in the top group for a long time, the mission to defend the title ended prematurely after a technical defect.

Anniversary edition in May 2022

With a distance of only 59 laps and 1,497.302 kilometers, the 49th edition of the ADAC TOTAL 24h race was the shortest ever. This clearly undercuts the mark of 76 laps from 1992. Overall, of the actual 24 hours, the wheels only rolled for 9.5 hours. All participants, organizers and fans are now hoping that the 50th anniversary of the ADAC TOTAL 24h race from May 26th to 29th, 2022 will again take place over the entire distance and in front of full grandstands.

Eifel weather caused an interruption

At 9:29 p.m. on Saturday evening it had become quiet in the Eifel when race director Walter Hornung interrupted the race with the red flag due to increasing clouds of fog. “We would have liked to have given the teams and spectators on the track and at home that typical 24-hour feeling at night, but in these weather conditions that was no longer possible. Safety is absolutely paramount, ”said Hornung. “It wasn’t easy – due to the moisture, the fog and also some oil on the track. The red flag was the right decision, it would not have been possible to drive, ”agreed Michael Christensen.

After a fog break of 14.5 hours at the end, the race was reopened at 12:00 after an introductory lap. Philipp Eng maintained the lead in the Rowe BMW # 1 ahead of Maro Engel in the HRT Mercedes # 4. On the first three laps, both of them pulled away from the Manthey-Porsche # 911 with Kevin Estre, who had moved up from fifth to third. Shortly before the end of the 38th lap, Mercedes driver Engel flew violently into the guardrails at the Hohenrain chicane, but was uninjured. Behind the leading Rowe-BMW # 1 and the Manthey Porsche # 911 Martin Tomczyk started the last three hours of racing in the second Rowe-BMW # 98 in third place.

Part one of the race already offered pure excitement 

Right after the start of the race on Saturday afternoon, spectacular chases and chaotic weather conditions characterized the first hour. Kevin Estre took the lead from position eleven with several courageous overtaking maneuvers in the “Grello”, while Martin Tomczyk brought the Rowe-BMW # 98 up from position 25 to fourth place. In the meantime, heavy rains caused numerous accidents on the track and forced most of the teams to switch to rain tires early on. After that, the action on the track calmed down a bit until the fog brought all wheels to a standstill.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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