The 40th season of the VLN endurance championship at the Nürburgring ended with a dramatic finale before starting the winter break. The last race of the season began in difficult weather conditions before a beautiful autumn sunshine welcomed the winners of the 41st DMV Münsterlandpokal, Christopher Mies and Connor De Phillippi, at the finish: After 4:06.800 hours, they took the chequered flag in the Audi R8 LMS of Land-Motorsport with an advance of 2:44.418 minutes ahead of Jörg Müller and Nico Menzel in a BMW M6 GT3 of the BMW Teams RBM. The top three were completed by Christian Krognes, Victor Bouveng and Jesse Krohn in the BMW M6 GT3 of Walkenhorst Motorsport. With three overall wins and the victory in the VLN Speed Trophy, Land-Motorsport is now the most successful team of the season. The best drivers in the year 2016 are Alexander Mies and Michael Schrey of Bonk Motorsport: The new VLN Champions topped off their excellent performance with their eighth class win in the BMW M235i Racing Cup.
The VLN final race saw an exciting battle of three teams about the overall win: Land-Motorsport, the BMW team RBM which finished second and Haribo Racing with drivers Uwe Alzen, Lance David Arnold and Renger van der Zande in a Mercedes-AMG GT3. Jörg Müller who started from pole position went into the lead in the BMW M6 GT3 after the race start before Lance David Arnold passed him in the third lap. Arnold’s team mate Uwe Alzen in the Haribo-Mercedes, however, had to stop the race in lap 18 after an accident.
“Apart from the fact that we ran out of fuel at the 6h Race just a few hundred metres before the finish, we had a really good season this year, indeed”, said Christopher Mies. “Yet, the conditions today were very difficult. At our first stop, we decided to continue with rain tyres. We may have lost some time thereafter, but it was the safer strategy and we could then schedule the last pit stop without a minimum stopping time.”
With Nico Menzel, the son of Nordschleife expert Christian Menzel, one of the youngest drivers ever climbed up on the VLN podium at the finale. The 18 years old BMW junior presented a perfect performance at his just second race in a GT3 race car. “Crazy. A big thankyou to the team of BMW who gave me this chance”, said Menzel. “And also to my team BRM for the excellent preparation. This is the first podium for me and I hope that this is just one of many to follow.”
Walkenhorst Motorsport also achieved a good result again. Their way to the all in all sixth result on the podium, yet, was anything but an easy walk this time for the team from Melle near Osnabrück/ Germany. “The first stint was definitely the most difficult that I have ever driven”, said Jesse Krohn. “It was extremely difficult to get the tyres on temperature. That was the maximum of what was possible today. Everything went fine for us, we have taken the right decisions at the right moment.”
A colourful mix of different manufacturers followed into the positions behind the top three: The Mercedes-AMG GT3 of HTP Motorsport finished the race in fourth place before the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 of Zakspeed, position six went to the Porsche 911 GT3 R of Frikadelli-Racing and the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus became seventh with the SCG003C. Behind the Wochenspiegel-Porsche and the second Walkenhorst-M6, Tim Scheerbarth and Alexander Toril Boquoi drove the fastest SP7-Porsche in tenth position.
Successful debut part 1: Nordschleife rookies from the DTM
The two DTM drivers Lucas Auer and Felix Rosenqvist achieved a remarkable result at their debut on the Nordschleife. Together with their DTM colleague Daniel Jucadella who had his second race in the VLN, they won class Cup4 with the TMG GT86. “It was to be expected that they guys would be quick but it was absolutely great that they were that fast right away in a car which was completely new for them”, said Alexander Fielenbach of Mathol-Racing who managed the participation of the team.
Successful debut part 2: The new TCR race car Audi RS 3 LMS
The new Audi RS 3 LMS has left a strong impression at its debut in racing. Within the field of 140 cars, Jordi Gené and Kelvin van der Linde as well as Rahel Frey and Christopher Haase finished 17th and 22nd overall in the finale of the VLN season. “The results were secondary in this test race”, said Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “It was much more important that both cars completed the race without any technical problems and that our drivers felt comfortable despite these difficult conditions.”
Further dates 2016: Annual prizegiving ceremony and Essen Motor Show
The successful drivers in the 2016 season of the VLN endurance championship Nürburgring will receive their well-deserved awards at the annual prizegiving ceremony on 19th November 2016 at the Bitburger Event Center at the Nürburgring. And from 26th November to 4th December 2016, the VLN will be present at the Essen Motor Show in hall 6, stand 100.