An Audi R8 has won the Nürburgring 24 Hours | Top Gear
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An Audi R8 has won the Nürburgring 24 Hours

Five wins in eight years for the R8 after a warm, dry, dramatic N24

Published: 23 Jun 2019

Audi has won the Nürburgring 24 Hours, the R8 supercar taking its fifth win in eight years at the gruelling twice-round-the-clock race.

The number 4 car of customer team Phoenix Racing - driven by Pierre Kaffer, Frank Stippler, Dries Vanthoor and Frédéric Vervisch - clinched victory in a race which look tied up for the hugely successful Manthey Porsche racing team. Last year’s winners saw their leading car drop to second after receiving a five-minute time penalty for speeding under yellow flags, having led uninterrupted for 14 hours.

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That lead had followed a scintillating battle with the pole-sitting Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT in the first few hours of the race, culminating in a simply jaw-dropping overtake. The AMG’s chance of reply was cut short after a collision with a Gazoo Racing Toyota Supra as darkness fell.

Indeed, the 2019 N24 was riddled with offs, the warmest, driest running of the race seeming to encourage unusual amounts of commitment from its competitors.

“You can almost throw away all the things you learn on a grand prix track,” Audi racer Kelvin van der Linde told us before the race. “This is more about flow; you are never driving at 100 per cent, you’re never braking at maximum pressure.”

At least half of the grid appeared not to get the memo, some of the on-track battles looking more befitting of a 24-minute sprint than a 24-hour slog.

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Heroes remained present at the back of the grid, too, from the mk3 Golf sounding like it was being driven above and beyond its limits to the fans’ favourite Opel Manta which returned for a lap right at the end to complete the race having seemed stricken from a huge accident. To huge, rapturous whooping and applause, naturally. Few races are as enthralling, gruelling and utterly diverse as this. Never change, N24…

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