Fourth victory in five calendar years: After 2012, 2014 and 2015, the overall victory in 2017 once again went to the Audi R8 LMS. This makes the race car from Audi Sport customer racing the most successful sports car since 2012, at which time the GT3 models first started battling it out for the overall race win in the Eifel.
Audi Sport Team Land celebrated victory in the Eifel, when the weather conditions ensured for a dramatic finish. The team from Niederdreisbach was the dominant squad during the race, despite a setback before in the penultimate hour of competition. The team of Wolfgang Land led for 125 race laps, about 3,172 kilometers, when a sensor problem occurred on the car. The attempts to completely solve the problem during two pit stops were unsuccessful. Despite this, the number 29 Audi R8 LMS moved back up to second place. Shortly before the end of the race, Audi Sport Team Land was the first front-running team to change to rain tires. A decision that paid off: Kelvin van der Linde regained the lead on the wet track. Together with his teammates, Christopher Mies (D), Connor De Phillippi (USA) and Markus Winkelhock (D), the South African won the 45th edition of this endurance race. For Audi Sport Team Land, as well as for van der Linde and De Phillippi, it was their first victory. It was the second win in the Eifel for Christopher Mies and the third for Markus Winkelhock.
Audi Sport Team WRT had to be satisfied with third place in the end. Following the setback of Audi Sport Team Land, the Belgian team with drivers Marcel Fässler/Robin Frijns/Nico Müller/René Rast (CH/NL/CH/D) looked like the sure winners, but they lost the game of tire poker: The team first changed to slicks and then later made the final change to rain tires.
Phoenix Racing, with another Audi R8 LMS, delivered another result within the top twenty finishers, following a comeback drive. After damage suffered due to an accident, the team fell back to as low as 79th place. Dennis Busch/Nicolaj Møller Madsen/Mike Rockenfeller/Frank Stippler (D/DK/D/D) fought back to 19th. The private customer team, Car Collection Motorsport, was satisfied to have finished the race, too. The amateur drivers Klaus Koch/Lorenzo Rocco/Ronnie Saurenmann/Jan-Erik Slooten (D/I/CH/D) finished in 27th place. Another privateer team added a class victory to the Audi Sport customer racing success story. LMS Engineering won the SP 3T class with drivers Ulrich Andree/Daniela Schmid/Christian Schmitz/Stefan Wieninger, who drove an Audi TT RS.
Two debuts brought Audi’s customer racing program more valuable results: The Bonk Motorsport team with the Audi RS 3 LMS, which was racing at the Nürburgring 24 Hours for the first time, finished in second and third place within the TCR class. The Audi R8 LMS GT4 also completed its first race. Audi Sport Team Phoenix crossed the finish line in third and fifth in the SP-X class with the production-based sports car.
“With temperatures of more than 25 degrees Celsius and a rain shower in the final phase, we have experienced one of the toughest, fastest and most dramatic races in history,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. Having driven 158 laps, the winners completed only one lap fewer than the record distance covered by Audi in 2014. “Audi was the dominant brand, leading the race for 143 laps – corresponding to 90 percent of the race. My utmost congratulations go to all of the customers, team members and drivers, who have made this result possible. This success was achieved in dramatic fashion, and it will certainly go down in the motorsport history books.”