A dream comes true - Frikadelli Racing wins the 24h Nürburgring


At the 51st edition of the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring, Frikadelli Racing fulfilled their long-awaited dream of overall victory and, after 21 years, achieved the first success of a non-German manufacturer at the legendary long-distance classic in the Eifel. With the #30 Ferrari 296 GT3, affectionately known as "Bella", Nick Catsburg, Earl Bamber, David Pittard and Felipe Laser beat the assembled GT3 elite at the finish line with a lead of 26.911 seconds. At the same time, Klaus Abbelen's team set a new distance record with 162 laps completed. It was the first overall success at the 24h Nürburgring for both Frikadelli Racing and the Ferrari brand, and for the new Ferrari 296 GT3 it was the first triumph in a 24h race worldwide.

“In 2005 I contested the first races on the Nordschleife together with Bienchen and founded Frikadelli Racing. Since then it has been our big dream together to win the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring with our own team. Everything really fell into place this year. An incredibly beautiful and emotional moment that we will enjoy as a team. Honey, this win is for you! You carried us from heaven to our greatest team success. Many, many thanks to them, our entire team, the four drivers and to Rinaldi Racing, with whom we started the Ferrari project together at the beginning of the season,” says team manager Klaus Abbelen, overjoyed.

The first major suspense on the race weekend of the year was provided by the top qualifying on Friday evening, which was decisive for the starting grid and for which the Frikadelli Racing team was already pre-qualified based on previous results. With a lap time of 8:10.518 minutes, Dutchman Nick Catsburg brought the #30 Ferrari 296 GT3 to a promising fourth place on the grid. In the early stages of the race, starting driver David Pittard managed to work his way up the field and cover the first few kilometers in the lead with the Ferrari 296 GT3 in the 24-hour race.

A puncture on the Döttingerhöhe temporarily threw the Frikadelli Racing team back a bit, but thanks to a brilliant team performance and a flawless job by the four drivers, they fought their way back to the top of the overall classification. Due to different pit stop strategies, the lead changed again and again from sunrise onwards with the #98 ROWE BMW M4 GT3. However, Frikadelli Racing kept the upper hand in this duel and triumphed for the first time at the 24h Nürburgring. While it was Nick Catsburg's second overall victory after 2020, Earl Bamber, David Pittard and Felipe Laser made it onto the top of the podium for the first time.

“A lot of accidents happened on the track again at this year's 24-hour race. The key to success was certainly that we got through without making a mistake or penalty,” Abbelen continued.

Voices after the race:

Nick Catsburg: “It's just unbelievable that we won the 24-hour race. A terrific result for Frikadelli Racing and Ferrari. Everything went perfectly except for the puncture, which fortunately happened at the end of the lap and we were able to pit quickly. We're super happy that we didn't have an accident and didn't have any major damage. This race is all about surviving to the end, which we did. Many thanks to Frikadelli Racing, my three driver colleagues, but also to the many fans who kept their fingers crossed for us at the track. Once again it was a great atmosphere.”

David Pittard: “Before the final turn I convinced myself that it would be a normal eight-lap stint in an NLS race. However, on the final lap, as the guards and fans cheered, I was reminded that this is the 24-hour race. Then I couldn't hide it anymore. It wasn't until I saw the Bilstein Bridge that I was sure that we would be able to win overall. Then the emotions exploded. Many thanks to the entire Frikadelli team and to Klaus - a fantastic performance from everyone.”

Earl Bamber: “When Klaus called me and told me about the Ferrari project for the 24h Nürburgring, I wanted to be part of it. During the last months we have worked very hard on the development of the car and have been rewarded with a perfect race. The Ferrari was fast, the whole team did a great job and my driver colleagues also showed a great performance. I'm really happy for Frikadelli Racing, who had to wait years for this big moment."

Felipe Laser: “This moment belongs to Klaus, I'm really, really happy for him and for Frikadelli Racing. I have been part of the team for a long time and know exactly what a big dream has come true. For me personally, it was my first big win, so it's also emotional. A big thank you to the entire team, without them this would not have been possible. I found out about the project last year and have been involved from the start. We put so much work, time and manpower into the project - just fantastic that it paid off so well.”