Akkodis ASP headed a Mercedes-AMG one-two at the Nürburgring to vault to the top of the Fanatec GT Europe Endurance Cup standings with just one round left to run.
The #88 crew of Raffaele Marciello, Jules Gounon and Timur Boguslavskiy led the vast majority of the three-hour race, surviving significant pressure during the latter stages to earn a crucial win at the Eifel venue.
The #88 Mercedes-AMG effectively led from start to finish, only surrendering its advantage during pit stops. Marciello pulled well clear during the opening hour, but the car was pegged back during Boguslavskiy’s middle stint. Gounon then had to resist significant pressure from the charging #777 Mercedes-AMG Team AlManar machine to secure the win.
The result moves the Akkodis ASP trio to the top of the Endurance Cup drivers’ standings for the first time this season and with just one round remaining at Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya. Marciello/Gounon/Boguslavskiy have an 18-point cushion heading into the finale.
This was an especially significant win for Gounon, who has equalled Maxime Martin’s longstanding record of six Endurance Cup victories. It moves Akkodis ASP to five overall Endurance wins, while Mercedes-AMG has nine.
The #777 Mercedes-AMG made it a one-two for the German marque. Maro Engel, Fabian Schiller and Luca Stolz were fast throughout the weekend, though their chances of victory were dented when Engel lost positions at the start.
The #40 Tresor Orange1 Audi completed the overall podium after a final-hour pass on the #96 Rutronik Racing Porsche. Ricardo Feller made the move to bag a top-three finish, while Mattia Drudi started before handing over to Dennis Marschall.
The #96 Porsche was subsequently passed by the #25 Saintéloc Junior Team Audi, which drove a solid race to take fourth at the chequered flag. The #157 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG was sixth, followed by the #32 Team WRT BMW and the #11 Comtoyou Racing Audi. The #6 K-PAX Racing Lamborghini and the #54 Dinamic GT Porsche completed the top-10.
The #98 ROWE Racing BMW lost the points lead at the Nürburgring. Its race started reasonably well but faded badly during the second half. The crew of Philipp Eng, Nick Yelloly and Marco Wittmann could only finish 15th and will need a big points swing in Spain to deny Akkodis ASP the title.
Winward Racing delivered an accomplished performance to win the Gold Cup with its #157 Mercedes-AMG. The young crew of David Schumacher, Miklas Born and Marius Zug finished sixth overall to earn their maiden class win.
The class podium was completed by the #19 Iron Lynx Lamborghini, which earned its best result of the season, and the #30 Team WRT BMW. The class-leading #21 Comtoyou Racing Audi was fifth and only needs to score three points at the season finale to be certain of the title.
Grasser Racing moved to the top of the Silver Cup standings with a win for the #85 Lamborghini of Benjamin Hites, Clemens Schmid and Glen Van Berlo. The same crew scored victory at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa and will take a five-point advantage to the finale.
The #85 Lamborghini came home 3.5 seconds clear of the #99 Tresor Orange1 Audi, with the #12 Comtoyou Racing Audi completing the podium after late drama eliminated the #90 Madpanda Motorsport Mercedes-AMG from third spot.
The #91 Herberth Motorsport Porsche won the Bronze Cup, which proved to be the most competitive class battle of the day. The crew of Ralf Bohn, Tim Heinemann and Robert Renauer seized the advantage during the second half of the race and pulled clear of the opposition to take the chequered flag.
This marks the second race in succession that Heinemann has been called up at late notice and taken victory. The same thing happened at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa, where the German was part of the winning Huber Motorsport line-up. On this occasion, Heinemann was a late substitute for the injured Alfred Renauer.
Sky Tempesta Racing (#93 McLaren) won a fierce battle for runner-up spot, edging out HRT (#79 Mercedes-AMG). As such the crew of Chris Froggatt, Jonathan Hui and Eddie Cheever III retain the championship advantage, while also extending their run of podiums to four from four.
The #78 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini was untouchable in Pro-Am. Rob Collard handled the first two stints and enjoyed a sizeable advantage by the time he passed the controls to Dennis Lind. The Dane completed the job with a one-lap gap to his nearest rival.
While the Barwell squad celebrated the race win, Car Collection Motorsport has provisionally wrapped up the class drivers’ title. The #24 Porsche only needed to finish to secure the crown with a round to spare and did more than enough by finishing second in class, despite a late scare when Alex Fontana ran into the gravel. ST Racing by Rinaldi completed the podium with its #38 Ferrari.
Fontana, Ivan Jacoma and Niki Leutwiler travelled to the Nürburgring with a sizeable points advantage thanks to victory at Circuit Paul Ricard and a runner-up finish at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa. They cannot be caught, though the teams’ title is mathematically still up for grabs.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of today’s race was that it did not feature a single full-course yellow or safety car period. The last time an Endurance Cup round ran entirely green was Silverstone in 2018. The attrition rate was also low, with just seven non-finishers from the 54 that started.
Today’s race saw the GT World YouTube channel on which all Fanatec GT Europe races are streamed pass 500,000 subscribers. Fans are able to watch all races, as well as practice and qualifying sessions, with commentary in English, French, German and Italian for free worldwide.
Today’s race marked the last before the championship’s traditional August break. The season resumes with a Sprint Cup round at Hockenheim on 2–3 September, while the remaining Endurance titles will be settled at Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya on 29 September – 1 October.