Nurburgring 24h: Frikadelli Ferrari scores historic victory

The Frikadelli Racing team made history in the Nurburgring 24 Hours by ending a 20-year run of victories for German manufacturers with their Ferrari 296 GT3.

Earl Bamber, Nicky Catsburg, David Pittard and Felipe Fernandez Laser scored a dominant win in the 51st running of the German endurance classic, also setting a new distance record of 162 laps - three more than the previous benchmark.

It marks the first victory by a non-German marque in the event since the triumph of Zakspeed's Chrysler Viper GTS-R in 2002.  

At the beginning of the race, the Frikadelli machine was locked in battle against three Mercedes-AMG GT3s, two from GetSpeed and the polesitting HRT car.

As darkness fell, however, the Mercedes contingent dropped back and the Rowe Racing BMW M4 GT3 of Maxime Martin, Sheldon van der Linde, Dries Vanthoor and Marco Wittmann emerged as Frikadelli's closest rivals. Both cars engaged in a thrilling battle circulating around two minutes apart.

The result was slightly distorted by the fact that the BMW stopped two laps later and was thus able to reduce the gap to less than one minute in the final part of the race due to the shorter pitstop time at the last round of stops. Pittard ultimately beat Vanthoor home by 26.287 seconds.


The Frikadelli Ferrari endured two scares on its way to victory: a puncture after five hours, which fortunately occurred shortly before the end of the lap, and an off on Sunday morning at the Stefan Bellof S, which Bamber just managed to catch.

The BMW M4 GT3 and Ferrari 296 GT3 proved similarly quick, but the Rowe car had to start the race from 31st on the grid and the team was unable to make up the deficit from the first laps.

Fighting for third place were the leading Mercedes contenders, with the final place on the podium going to the #4 HRT car shared by Raffaele Marciello, Luca Stolz, Philip Ellis and Edoardo Mortara ahead of the #2 GetSpeed machine of Adam Christodoulou, Maxi Gotz and Fabian Schiller.

The pole-winning HRT car lost time with a penalty for ignoring yellow flags on Saturday evening, but its downfall proved to be the fact the Mercedes couldn't maintain the pace of the Ferrari or the BMW after dark.

The GetSpeed Mercedes had a trouble-free race and looked like a candidate for victory on Saturday night before dark, before falling back in the night. Ultimately, they missed out on the podium by 45 seconds.


Porsche's top finisher was the Rutronik 911 GT3 R of Dennis Olsen, Matteo Cairoli and Julien Andlauer in fifth, followed by the only Audi R8 LMS GT3 to go the distance without any significant problems, the Land car of Christopher Haase, Christopher Mies and Patric Niederhauser.

Ferrari's historic overall win was backed up by victory in the Pro-Am class with the WTM team, which finished seventh overall. Daniel Keilwitz set the fastest-ever lap on the 25.378km variant of the Nurburgring, a 8m08.006s.

The top 10 was completed by the #6 HRT Mercedes, which was second in Pro-Am, the Abt Lamborghini Huracan GT3, which had to contend with several punctures, and the #44 Falken Porsche, which was set back by a repair stop after spinning off.

Report by Sonke Brederlow


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