The successful conclusion for the Giti/WS Racing Team at this year’s 24-hour race on the Nürburgring included a one class win and three podium placements.
Four cars at the start – four cars at the finish of 24 hours! That was the successful conclusion for the Giti Tyre/WS Racing Team at this year’s 24-hour race on the Nürburgring in Germany from Sept 24-27. An impressive SP8 class win for Giti’s Audi R8 and three other podium placements crowned the highly successful weekend. This performance was all the more impressive considering the chaotic weather conditions during the race going throughout the day and night.
Giti started with four cars in three different classes in the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring. In addition to the VW Golf GTI of the “Girls Only – Ready to rock the Green Hell” project, an Audi R8 LMS GT4, VW Golf 6 GTI Cup, and VW Golf 7 GTI also tackled the grand race.
“Girls Only” Team Overcomes Bad Luck To Make Podium
Following the major technical mishap last year, when the VW Golf GTI’s engine had to be replaced, Giti’s “Girls Only – Ready to rock the Green Hell” team hoped for a trouble-free race this year as they headed for the starting line. The team made meticulous preparations ahead of time, making do with considerably less personnel because of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of that preparation paid off – drivers Carrie Schreiner, Laura Kraihamer and Célia Martin got pole position in the SP3T class during the qualifying round.
From this excellent starting position, the crew entered the 24-hour race, firmly committed to fighting hard for the class win. The drivers completed their laps faultlessly under increasingly difficult conditions. It was already raining heavily at the start, and the notorious Nürburgring once again revealed the changeable nature of its weather. Racing management relented around 10:30 pm after several top cars hit the guardrails and temporarily halted the race. The “Giti’s Angels” however still had their racing Golf fully under control at this time, revealing impressive vehicle handling skills during this difficult phase.
After the restart on Sunday morning, the weather was supposed to improve considerably, but sadly there was another problem for the “Girls Only” team. After an unfortunate collision with an overtaking vehicle, the Golf was heavily damaged and had to be towed to the box. This is where the rigorous training of the mechanics paid off. They got the Golf race-ready again in less than an hour, getting the girls back on track. Although the dream of a class win was down the tubes, the team worked hard and managed to cross the finish line. They also made it onto the podium as third in their class.
Carrie Schreiner, driver
“Our goal was to cross the finish line, and we did it! We are proud of that, even though the race did not go perfectly. The weather was a major challenge for us drivers, but we handled it well. Unfortunately, that little collision set us back, but that sort of thing can always happen in a 24-hour race. We made it to the finish, and that’s the main thing! A big thank you to all the girls on the team, who never gave up!”
Laura Kraihamer, driver
“Once again the 24-hour race showed its most challenging side. We were absolutely at the limit and overcame a giant challenge as a team. I am very thankful for the girls’ efforts, but also for the work that has been done behind the scenes for months. We can be very happy with our performance, which would certainly have been sufficient to be a contender for the class win. In the end, it was not to be because of that collision. Everything has to be perfect in order to win. It’s great that we performed to our potential, and we can build on that for next year.”
Célia Martin, driver
“This special edition of the Nürburgring 24H showed once again how difficult this race is. Even though our goal of class victory was not achieved, we were able to finish on the podium despite unfavourable conditions. First, the heavy rain forced us to drive with extreme concentration and then an accident after the re-start. But the women, the whole team, did an excellent job throughout the race. Our team spirit enabled us to stay united in these difficult moments. We can be proud of our performance because we showed our potential”.
Nicole Willems, team manager
“What a race! We already had to make changes ahead of time because of restrictions due to the coronavirus, but all the girls handled that really well. The weather posed a major challenge for us during the race, but Carrie, Laura and Célia confidently kept the car on the track under the most difficult conditions. Unfortunately, the accident set us back. However, our mechanics performed extremely well and got the car back onto the track really quickly. Thus we were still able to reach our biggest goal of crossing the finish line!”
Audi R8 Class Win Highlights Podium Sweep
The Giti team’s Audi R8 LMS GT4 and its drivers did not have a trouble-free race either. Even during the initial phase, the car in the Giti Tyre design was thrown far back due to several incidents leading to extensive repairs. Yet the mechanics’ crew was able to restore the damaged Audi so well that the drivers could continue the race, ultimately even winning the SP8 class.
The other two Giti Tyre racing vehicles experienced a relatively unproblematic race. The VW Golf 7 GTI competing in the V2T class was not involved in any incidents during the entire race, ultimately taking third place on the podium with the drivers’ Axel Jahn (D), Sven Friesecke (CH), Ulrich Schmidt (D), and Julian Koch (D). For the VW Golf 6 GTI Cup with the drivers Wayne Moore (New Zealand), David Drinkwater (UK), Tommy Fortchantre (F), and Niklas Kry (D), the race also went well. Notwithstanding a minor gaffe, the quartet ended up crossing the finish line in second place in the SP3T class, for the fourth podium placement of the racing day. GitiCompete tyres were used on all four vehicles – including both wet and dry ones during the changing weather conditions. In addition, all four cars featured striking yellow and black Giti livery on their designs.
“Four out of four cars crossing the finish line – that is more than I could expect under these conditions and makes me really happy. In spite of the early problems with the Audi and the girls’ collision, we never gave up. We were rewarded with four podium placements in the end. The entire team is really happy and all drivers are satisfied. In view of the extreme weather conditions, this was surely one of the best 24-hour races in the team’s history!”Thorsten Willems, team leader