Torrential rain and hail surprise even the old hands
Six podiums for Toyota and Lexus
Toyota and Lexus underline their proverbial reliability
What an incredible race! Even the old hands of the legendary event were surprised by the 44th edition of the Nürburgring 24h Race.
As if the 24 hours of racing on the 25.378-kilomtre combination of GP circuit and notorious Nordschleife with its 73 corners and bumps as well as up and downhill sections weren’t difficult enough. With cars that partly feature speed differences of 100kph and more and all are battling it out with their opponents for the best possible position in the respective class. All this turns the 24h Race at the Nürburgring Nordschleife into the maximum challenge for car and driver.
But to meet this challenge, you have to be driving, first of all. And exactly that came to a sudden end with only 50 minutes contested onn Saturday at 16:20hrs. Within minutes, torrential rain and hail turned the track into a slide. Car after car skidded off the track – even at 20kph they couldn’t be controlled, on their slicks – and others tried in vain to drive up to the ‘Adenauer Forst’. “It’s absolutely impossible, the wheels are spinning helplessly,” they informed their teams via the team radio. So, the race had to be red-flagged and was continued only more than three hours later.
But even the weather chaos couldn’t prevent the numerous Toyota and Lexus teams in the field from delivering in fine style and securing a lot of very good results. All the cars that succeeded in crossing the line made in to the top 100 in the overall ranking, first of all the Lexus RC-F (#36) run by TOYOTA GAZOO Racing that secured a great 24th position in the overall ranking. In addition, it clinched the class win in the SP Pro – but was the only car contesting the race in that category. Second position in the Toyota-Lexus internal ranking was secured by the Ring Racing Lexus IS F CCS-R #53 that finished 64 in the overall ranking but just failed to secure a podium by finishing fourth in the SP8. The sister car also run by Ring Racing finished seventh in the SP8 and 72nd overall.
And now to the two-litre flat-engine coupés GT86 CS-V3 #126 entered by Pit Lane – AMC Sankt Vith that did not only finish 67th in the overall ranking but also celebrated a superior class win in the V3 category. The second 200hp GT86 CS-V3 of the team, #169, came second in the V3 and 79th in the overall ranking. “Both cars ran absolutely flawlessly,” beamed Team Principal and driver Olivier Muytjens. “We only had to come in for the scheduled pit stops.” Remarkable: Throughout the 24 hours, #169 was raced by only two drivers.
Also impressive was the performance of the two Toyotas Altis (#123 and #124) run by Toyota-Team Thailand. “This is our third Nürburgring 24h Race,” said the Team Principal during the course of the race. “In the first year, we just wanted to be a part of this race, in the second we wanted to improve – and this year we want to make it to the podium.” No sooner said than done. With the Altis #123, the squad finished second in the SP3 and 73rd in the overall ranking while the #124 came fourth in the class and 83rd overall.
The TOYOTA GAZOO Toyota C-HR Racing #326 also made it to the podium by finishing third in the SP2T and 84th overall.
Only two of the vehicles that represented the Toyota / Lexus colours didn’t make it to the finish line. An outstanding result in this gruelling race that once again demonstrated the proverbial reliability of the Japanese manufacturer’s cars.