Scherer Audi wins shortest “Eifel Marathon” in the long history of the 24-hour classic

A first and a new record winner: Scherer PHX won what was probably the most unusual, and definitely the shortest, “Eifel Marathon” in the long history of the ADAC RAVENOL 24h Nürburgring. In doing so, the team joined its Meuspath neighbours and record winners Manthey on seven overall victories. Ricardo Feller was at the wheel of the #16 Scherer Audi when it crossed the finish line to take victory at 15:15 on Sunday afternoon, the first time the race had been brought to a close before the full 24 hours of racing – and also the first time the race had been neutralised and completed behind the safety car. Joining Feller on the top step of the podium were Dennis Marschall, who like the Swiss was celebrating his maiden 24-hour victory, and the two Audi “veterans” Frank Stippler and Christopher Mies, who each claimed their third success in the Eifel Mountains in front of 240,000 spectators (across the whole weekend).

“I have known the mechanics since 2009, when I started at Audi. It is nice to finish it here with a win together,” said Mies after what will likely be his final race for Audi. The remaining places on the podium went to the #911 Manthey Porsche with Laurens Vanthoor, Thomas Preining, Kevin Estre and Ayhancan Güven, and the #72 RMG BMW with Daniel Harper, Max Hesse and Charles Weerts. Like the other ten cars who were also on the same lap as the leader when the race was suspended, these two teams had no opportunity to attack the leaders in the closing stages, despite the previous time differences being scratched. This is because the final five laps were completed behind a safety car and were neutralised. After a 14-hour suspension for fog – the ninth suspension of the endurance classic, and the second longest – the race resumed at 13:30. As visibility did not improve sufficiently, race director Walter Hornung was forced to bring the race to a premature end. This is Audi’s first victory since 2022. Stippler previously triumphed in the “Green Hell” in 2012 and 2019, while Mies’ first two victories came in 2015 and 2017.

Spectacular start after rain arrives “bang on time”

Shortly before the start of the formation lap, it started to rain at various points on the circuit. While pole-sitter Harper remained on slicks, his closest rivals quickly switched to wet tyres before race director Walter Hornung sent the first start group on their way into the “Green Hell” with the green flag. It proved to be the wrong decision for Harper’s team: even before the race was released, the Brit pulled into the pits for a set of wet-weather tyres, which saw him drop back to 21st place. Back at the front, Estre in the #911 Manthey Porsche held onto the lead he had inherited, fending off Maro Engel in the #130 Getspeed Mercedes-AMG and Farfus in the #99 Rowe BMW, who had charged through from seventh place on the grid. Engel then managed to pass the Porsche and take the lead whilst still on the Grand Prix Circuit, before leading the field onto the Nordschleife for the first time. However, the tyre gamble did not work out for him either, as Engel plummeted down to 24th place on his hand-cut slicks, before coming into the pits and joining those on the wet tyre.

Estre and Farfus now found themselves embroiled in a private battle, often separated by less than a second, and with the lead changing hands on four occasions. By the end of the fourth lap, they had already pulled 37 seconds clear of the #16 Scherer Audi in third place. They were followed by Harper, who had produced a stunning fightback to get back in touch with the leading group. After the first round of pit stops, it was the #99 Rowe BMW that led the field for a long time, until Sheldon van der Linde hit a slower car whilst attempting to lap it and was consequently involved in a big three-car crash. The dream of overall victory was over for the Rowe BMW. As darkness set in, Mies in the #16 car and Harper put on a great show, entertaining the crowds with some hard but fair racing as they battled it out for the lead. When the race was red flagged at 23:23, due to increasingly thick fog, the Audi driver had his nose in front.

Restart after long break for fog

This was the ninth suspension in the history of the race. The first came back in 1992, the latest in 2021 – at 14.5 hours, also due to fog, this remains the longest interruption so far. IN 2020, heavy rain during the night resulted in a 7-5-hour break in the racing. In 2018, the race was suspended with three hours remaining. Back then, the decision was taken to restart the race for a 90-minute “final sprint”. Because the fog persisted on Sunday morning, the restart time was repeatedly pushed back. Only at 13:30 did race director Walter Hornung finally wave the green flag to resume the race, which ultimately drew to a close behind the safety car. “I would like to thank all the fans, who have made this week a huge motorsport festival and, despite all the weather shenanigans, have celebrated the 24h Nürburgring with us,” said Hornung. “I would also like to thank the competitors and teams for their understanding that we brought this special race to a close in this fashion.” The next ADAC RAVENOL 24h Nürburgring is scheduled for 19th to 25th June 2025.