[Source: Audi Motorsport]
Audi Sport customer racing will contest the 51st edition of the Nürburgring 24 Hours from May 18 to 21 with four Audi R8 LMS cars in epoch-making designs. Audi’s expressive liveries reflect its motorsport history. They remind the public of unforgettable times for the brand in racing and rallying. In sporting terms, Audi, as the most successful brand of the past decade, is already aiming for its seventh overall victory after 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2022.
“This year the audience at the Nürburgring can look forward to a special appearance,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Rolf Michl. “The four Audi R8 LMS offer the many fans of this race and the Audi brand, as well as photographers and cameramen, an exciting reinterpretation of unforgettable liveries.” The audience is instantly reminded of legendary times of the four rings in motorsport. “After six victories in the past eleven years, we now want to race for our seventh success in the world’s biggest endurance race,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “The Audi design department team has taken historical motifs as a model to develop four new designs for the R8 LMS. They are completely unique, but immediately call to mind images of earlier Audi race cars.” Each of the four GT3 sports cars cites features from individual eras. While these four race cars will be competing on behalf of Audi Sport customer racing, the private team Scherer Sport PHX will bring two more R8 LMS to the Eifel.
American flair at the Nürburgring: Number 1
Audi Sport Team Scherer PHX pulls up as last year’s winner with the number 1. The team from the Eifel region has already won the race four times with Audi. For many fans of the brand, the design of the car with the coveted starting number is associated with legendary successes. The white background with the flowing historic Audi Sport colors is reminiscent of the appearance of those models with which Audi caused a sensation in the land of opportunity in 1988 and 1989. The Audi 200 quattro won the Trans-Am racing series in the USA in 1988, while the spectacular Audi 90 quattro was a star in the IMSA GTO a year later. At the time, Audi successfully made the switch from rallying to circuit racing with the quattro all-wheel drive system. Frédéric Vervisch, who celebrated his second victory in the 24-hour race after 2019 last year, shares the number 1 spot with his Audi Sport driver colleagues Mattia Drudi and Ricardo Feller as well as Dennis Lind.
Le Mans sends its regards: Number 22
The appearance of the Audi R8 LMS from Audi Sport Team Car Collection harks back to an era of high technology: In 2012, Audi was one of the pioneers of electrification in motorsport with the R18 e-tron quattro hybrid sports car. The company made history with the e-tron drive technology with three Le Mans victories in a row. In contrast to the base color, the silver-grey surfaces pick up on the circuit board design that has characterized Le Mans sports cars since 2012. Matte black surfaces above the wheels of the R8 LMS symbolize the open fender surfaces that were mandatory in LMP1 racing at the time. Red lines and angled surfaces include further characteristics from that era. The four up-and-coming Audi Sport junior drivers Luca Engstler, Max Hofer, Gilles Magnus and Dennis Marschall take turns at the wheel of this number 22 R8 LMS at the Nürburgring.
Yellow eye-catcher for the green hell: Number 39
The Audi R8 LMS with start number 39 begins the series of designs with a throwback to the earliest era. The characteristic combination of all-round yellow stripes and the historic Audi Sport colors of mahogany brown, gray and red on a white background represents the rally years. At that time, Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive won the special stages and the hearts of many fans. Between 1984 and 1987, various models in this design won world championship titles and decided legendary competitions such as the Monte Carlo Rally, the San Remo Rally and the Safari Rally in their favor. Christopher Haase and Christopher Mies – both two-time winners of the Nürburgring 24 Hours – take turns in this race car with their Audi Sport driver colleague Patric Niederhauser. Audi Sport Team Land, winner of 2017, is fielding this Audi.
Silver for the champions: Number 40
Mike Rockenfeller, Timo Scheider and Martin Tomczyk will share the number 40 to mark the 40th anniversary of Audi Sport GmbH. Each of them has already won the DTM – Rockenfeller in 2013, Scheider in 2008 as well as 2009 and Tomczyk in 2011. In addition, Scheider stood on the winners’ podium in the Nürburgring 24 Hours exactly 20 years ago and was one of the winners of the Spa 24 Hours for Audi twelve years ago. Rockenfeller triumphed in the Eifel in 2006, set a new distance record at the Le Mans 24 Hours with Audi as the winner in 2010 and decided the Daytona 24 Hours in his favor in the same year as well.
The three former Audi factory drivers start in the design that marked the beginning of a striking era at Audi Sport in 1992. The base color silver stands for the company’s remarkable history in sport. In conjunction with red décor and the prominently displayed Four Rings, this color combination henceforth characterized the brand’s motorsport appearance, for example in the heyday of super touring cars in the mid-1990s. The Audi A4 quattro dominated this category in 1996, winning seven titles worldwide. Even at the beginning of the LMP era at Le Mans in the following decade, the combination of silver and red characterized the bodies of the Audi R8 and R10 TDI models.
With their highly diverse designs, the four race cars are individual, striking and unmistakable. One identical feature of this quartet also stands for special attention to detail: In the case of the Audi Sport logo, the designers are replacing the current red version for the anniversary with the original three-color variant, which was even protected by patent as a word and figurative mark between 1981 and 2021.
Two strong private driver teams complete the line-up
In addition to these four race cars entered on behalf of Audi Sport customer racing, two further R8 LMS cars are to compete for top results: Team Scherer Sport PHX staffs the two GT3 cockpits with top-class Nordschleife experts. Number 5 is shared by Audi Sport driver and two-time winner Frank Stippler, Alexander Sims, who is also a former winner, as well as Renger van der Zande and Vincent Kolb. In number 16, Audi Sport driver Markus Winkelhock, a three-time winner, is on board. His Audi Sport driver colleague Ricardo Feller as well as drivers Michele Beretta and Kim Luis Schramm complete the line-up. In addition, there are teams with the Audi RS 3 LMS in the TCR class of the field.
At the 51st edition of the endurance classic, fans can thus look forward to a first-class appearance by Audi Sport and its teams. After qualifying on May 18 and 19, the 24-hour race will start at 4 p.m. on May 20. Fans can follow the race on location at one of the many spectator spots along the 25.378-kilometer track, in the livestream at www.24h-rennen.de/live or via the new audio stream that will replace the previous FM broadcast from this year. Audi is providing comprehensive coverage of the race on its social media channels and offers the full range of services on audi-mediacenter.com from picture material to pre-, mid- and final reports.