So it looks like we will see the Nurburgring 24 Hours live after all.
Raffaele Marciello broke the Nürburgring 24 Hours qualifying lap record by half a tenth in Top Qualifying this evening, en route to pole position for the 2023 edition of the endurance classic.
Marciello’s best time, winning him the Glickenhaus Trophy, was an 8:09.058 in the #4 AMG Team Bilstein Mercedes AMG GT3 which proved to be four-tenths faster than the other drivers in the session. The lap broke the previous record, which was set back in 2018 when Laurens Vanthoor set an 8:09.105 in a Manthey-entered Porsche.
Second, making it a front-row lockout for Mercedes-AMG was Maro Engel in the #3 GetSpeed art car, who managed an 8:09.480.
“The car ran really well. We had already felt in NLS 2 and NLS3 that the GT3 works well and we were able to implement that now,” said Marciello after the session.
“To be honest, the qualifying result is fine, but it doesn’t mean that much. Sure, it’s always good to start from the front. But our focus is now very clearly on the race. We have a good starting position and we’ll see what we can make of it.”
Kelvin van der Linde came closest to the pace-setting AMGs in the #27 ABT Sportline Lamborghini and will start from third after an 8:10.498, which, unlike Marciello and Engel, was set on his second flying lap in Top Qualifying 2.
Nicky Catsburg slotted in fourth place in the #30 Frikadelli Ferrari with an 8:10.519, which made him the fourth and final driver to set a time under 8:11.
Frank Stippler ensured that Audi was represented in the top five that progressed to Top Qualifying 2. The 48-year-old German eventually set an 8:11.024 in the #5 Scherer Sport PHX Audi to go fifth.
Elsewhere in the top 10, the fastest Porsche was Falken’s #44 example, which will start sixth, ahead of the #6 Team Bilstein Mercedes that was fast throughout the track sessions prior to Top Qualifying. It will start from the fourth row after Arjun Maini’s efforts.
The Nürburgring 24 Hours is one of the most iconic and challenging races in the world, and Marciello’s record-breaking lap is a testament to the performance of the Mercedes-AMG GT3. With a strong starting position, the team will be confident of challenging for victory in the race itself.