Shock result in sports cars: 24-hour race success for the Golf GTI
The Golf GTI TCR mastered the toughest race in the world in style, and caused a real shock in the world of sports cars: not only did Andreas Gülden (D), Benjamin Leuchter (D), Constantin Kletzer (A) and Dennis Wüsthoff (D) win the TCR class at the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, but the 350-hp Mathilda Racing Golf GTI was also the best-placed touring car in 29th place overall, leaving many more powerful sports cars from Audi, BMW, Lamborghini and Porsche in its wake.
A feature of this year’s race on the Nürburgring’s legendary Nordschleife circuit was the high temperatures, which placed huge demands on man and machine. The Golf GTI TCR ran like clockwork at race temperature throughout the ful 3,600 kilometres. Besides fuelling, only the tyres had to be changed and the brakes maintained – aside from one wheel bearing that had to be replaced, which took the Mathilda Racing crew just five minutes. The closing stages were hard to beat for drama, with rain starting to fall in the final hour. However, Leuchter kept his head to guide the black and gold touring car safely over the finish line, despite the tricky track conditions.
The oustanding reliability of the Golf GTI, the impressive driving display, and the flawless job done by the team produced a result that exceeded all expectations. It confirms the Golf GTI as the most successful TCR car on the Nordschleife this year, as the production-based racing car had already claimed the class victory in both of the opening races in the VLN Endurance Championship.
The Cologne-based Mathilda team’s second Golf – driven by Josef Kocsis, Knut Kluge, Charlie BH Kang and team principal Michael Paatz – came home fourth in the TCR class. Overall victory went to Audi Sport Team Land and former Volkswagen junior Kelvin van der Linde, who won the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup in 2013.
Benjamin Leuchter, Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR #175
“An unbelievable success. The whole team did an awesome job. We had to change a wheel bearing during the race, and our mechanics did it in just 5:11 minutes. Incredible! When it started to rain, I really let fly. I made up 58 seconds to catch the final GT4 car ahead of us, then passed it on the final lap.”