Rulers of the ‘Ring’ | Hyundai N
Our Elantra N TCR entries have finished 1-2 in the TCR class at the Nürburgring 24 Hours for the third consecutive year after a superb performance in the famously challenging race. A victory for one of our i30 N Fastback Cup Cars in the VT2 Front class completed the excellent weekend.
“I really want to congratulate the team,” said Till Wartenberg, our Vice President N Brand & Motorsport. “This race is always a homecoming for us and every year we want to do something special for our fans, our communities and our guests and when you win with that support of course, it’s great.”
Untouchable in TCR
Behind the wheel of the #830 Elantra N TCR, Mikel Azcona, Marc Basseng and Manuel Lauck defended their 2022 class win in dominant fashion. Marc managed to break away during a congested opening few laps and build a small but significant lead, which his team-mates only added to in subsequent stints. The high performance of the car was clear, as the trio extended their advantage as the hours rolled by. The speed was most apparent late in the race when Mikel was able to slash the event race lap record for the TCR class to 8:58.232.
Other than a well-managed puncture and a precautionary driveshaft change with four hours remaining, both the men and the machine were faultless throughout under the toughest of circumstances, claiming victory by a lap to their counterparts in the sister car.
“The 2023 Nürburgring 24 Hours was the most challenging and difficult race I have ever done in my career,” commented Mikel. “It’s incredible to be a two-time winner in this incredible event.”
The second Elantra N TCR in the race was crewed by four Nürburgring 24 Hours debutants, normally found racing their car in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge for Bryan Herta Autosport. Mason Filippi, Harry Gottsacker, Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis rose to the occasion and closely shadowed their more experienced team-mates for much of the race as they finished well clear of their rivals in the category.
“Firstly, I have to thank Hyundai for such an amazing opportunity,” said Mason. “The whole event is just an incredible challenge; I want to start training already to come back again next year.”
Dominance and drama
In the VT2 Front category, the all-German line-up of Michael Bohrer, Gerrit Holthaus, Tobias Overbeck and Marcus Willhardt put in an impressive display in their i30 N Fastback Cup Car. Comfortably cruising with a 17-lap lead, the win was almost snatched from them with less than two hours to go when the car developed a mechanical problem that left it stranded in the garage, seemingly unable to complete the final racing lap needed to be classified. However, as the time remaining neared zero, excellent work from the mechanics allowed the car to return to the track and clinch the victory their remarkable efforts deserved.
Unfortunately the other i30 N Fastback in the class had no such luck. The #525 shared between Jens Dralle, Byunghui Kang, Junesung Park and Jeff Ricca had several minor incidents in a busy opening portion of the race, including contact with a GT3 entrant at turn one that forced the car back into the garage for over two hours of repairs. Though they were able to re-join, a more serious second incident brought their race to a premature end just before 07:00.