136 cars, thousands of fans along the track and a motorsport spectacle that is probably unique in the world: this weekend sees the 51st edition of the notorious 24-hour race on the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring. Right in the middle of it: ABT Sportsline. The team returns to the endurance classic with a Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2, an international driver squad and strong partners.
“Drivers, team, partners, fans – we are all looking forward to our comeback on the Nordschleife, which is also the kick-off for our motorsport partnership with Lamborghini,” says Hans-Jürgen Abt, CEO of the ABT Group. Goals for a 24-hour race are naturally difficult to set. ABT CEO and Team Principal Thomas Biermaier: “The tests at the endurance series and at the qualifiers were positive. But of course, we know exactly how unpredictable a 24-hour race on this unique track can be – especially when you only start with one car. We’ve prepared ourselves as best as possible, are highly motivated and want to put an initial exclamation mark on our race debut with Lamborghini.”
In preparation, ABT competed in the first two races of the “Nürburgring Langstrecken-Serie” (NLS) as well as the two Qualifiers races at the end of April – four trouble-free outings with two top ten finishes. This weekend’s race starts at 4 p.m. on Saturday and ends 24 hours later. Three timed practice sessions are still on the schedule on Thursday (1:15 to 3 p.m. and 8 to 11:30 p.m.) and Friday (1:30 to 2:45 p.m.). ABT is already qualified for the final top qualifying of the best cars on Friday evening.
Fans will already have the opportunity to meet the ABT team and its drivers on Wednesday afternoon: All four drivers will be guests with their race car at the Adenauer Racing Day from 4 p.m. Those who cannot be there at the weekend: streaming, timing and live coverage are available at www.24h-rennen.de/live.
The partners: renowned brands from many industries
ABT Head of Sports Marketing Harry Unflath has succeeded in winning over a team of strong partners for the comeback on the Nordschleife: “I am proud that we have so many renowned companies at our side with a lead time of just a few months. Each partner lives and breathes motorsport and especially the Nürburgring 24 Hours.”
Schaeffler has been part of the partner family for many years. The global automotive and industrial supplier has already celebrated titles in Formula E as well as victories in the DTM and the Extreme E off-road series with ABT, so it’s clear that Schaeffler is also on board for the race on the Nordschleife. The partnership is also a harbinger of the “steer-by-wire” technology that could soon be used on the Nordschleife and is being driven forward by Schaeffler and its Chief Technology Officer Matthias Zink.
Fujitsu has been a partner of ABT Sportsline since 2009 and now also of the Nürburgring itself – a perfect combination for the partnership at the 24-hour race that Harry Unflath has agreed with Corporate Executive Officer Rupert Lehner.
In cooperation with PlayStation, the expert logo adorns the hood of the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2. Germany’s second largest electronics retailer looks back on a 60-year history and stands for the highest service and consulting expertise. The company is also activating the partnership with competitions in which guest packages for the 24-hour race can be won.
Whenever ABT Sportsline has competed on the Nordschleife over the past two decades – PlayStation has been there as a partner. Together with Commercial Director Ulrich Barbian, Harry Unflath has also renewed this partnership for the comeback.
stemei.de GmbH, known for its OBDAPP, has accompanied ABT’s motorsport activities for some time with its Managing Director Stefan Meier. At the 24-hour race also quite officially with the logo on the side hood.
Perfect combination: In the automotive business, Autohaus Gohm in Singen with its managing director Thorsten Gohm and ABT Sportsline have been partners in day-to-day business for 25 years. This is now also evident in motorsport, with the Lamborghini Singen logo on the side of the racing car.
All ABT vehicles from Kempten are on the road with lubricants from Ravenol. So it is only too natural that the company with products “Made in Germany” is also at the side of ABT Sportsline on the race track.
At the start nine times: ABT Sportsline on the Nordschleife
For ABT, it will be the tenth appearance at this classic of long-distance races. The debut was in 1999 with an Audi A4 quattro powered by natural gas – the race with the innovative drive concept was a minor sensation at the time. Entries with the ABT-Audi TT-R from the DTM, the Audi R8 LMS and the Bentley Continental GT3 followed. The best results were two second places at the 2003 and 2009 editions. ABT last competed on the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 2017.
International driver squad: young guns and experienced GT3 experts
Twice South Africa, once Italy and once Denmark – ABT Sportsline has gone international in its driver line-up. The line-up combines plenty of GT3 experience as well as several overall victories at the endurance classic in the “Green Hell”.
Kelvin van der Linde (ZA) is regarded as a proven GT3 specialist, not least thanks to his two titles in the ADAC GT Masters and two overall victories in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. Marco Mapelli (I) has been a Lamborghini factory driver since 2017 and is considered one of the most experienced GT3 drivers worldwide. Alongside van der Linde, Nicki Thiim (DK) is the second former winner of the 24-hour race in the ABT Sportsline squad: in 2013, the Dane stood at the top of the podium, and he also took several class victories. The 33-year-old also celebrated successes in the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC. Jordan Pepper (ZA) is an old acquaintance of ABT Sportsline: in 2014 he won the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup, which is supported by ABT, before competing with the Kempten-based team in the ADAC GT Masters in 2016 and in the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and Spa the following year. Since this year, the 26-year-old South African has been part of the Lamborghini Squadra Corse factory driver line-up.
“The four guys not only have a lot of experience in GT3 racing, on the Nordschleife and to some extent in the Lamborghini, but also get on very well with each other – that’s a hugely important factor, especially in this race,” said Thomas Biermaier back at the official presentation of the driver squad in March.
Published by: ABT Sportsline
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