Wolfgang Kaufmann wins the Nürburgring 24h in the Porsche Cayman under difficult conditions. Driving fun in the classic race.

“The“ green hell ”lived up to its name last weekend,” was the conclusion of the Molsberg professional racing driver Wolfgang Kaufmann about the 48th edition of the ADAC TOTAL 24h race at the Nürburgring. Extreme weather conditions, a break in the race at night and a completely new car put the Westerwälder to the test.

The 24h Nürburgring adventure had started harmlessly. Only the start in the framework race, the 24h Classic was planned. But on the Monday before the event, I received a pleasant call from the extended neighborhood. "Matthias Holle from MATHOL Racing asked if I would like to drive his Porsche Cayman in the V6 class," said Kaufmann about the surprising offer. “If you have even a little gasoline in your blood, you don't say no. We know each other from the time when the Diez discotheque "Easy" supported me in the German Formula 3 Championship 1984/1986, it was a really great time ".
The vehicle used for the 24h was a Porsche Cayman S. "These are actually empty road cars with all the prescribed safety devices, real racing chassis and racing tires," says Wolfgang Kaufmann, describing the car. “We had to focus on it in training on Thursday. Such a production car just moves a lot more, is not as precise as a thoroughbred racing car. ”But that apparently happened quickly, because in training you were not only in front in the V6 class straight away, but also in the entire group of production cars the top 3. That continued in the race. Kaufmann and his team mates Soucek (E), Boccolacci (F) Rhyn (CH) quickly brought the MATHOL Racing Porsche Cayman to the top of the production car field and thus also led the class with confidence.
However, getting there was no walk in the park. “The weather was very changeable with a lot of rain”, says Kaufmann, who has a lot of experience on the Nürburgring, “Whenever it looked like it might dry up, it started to drizzle again somewhere or to rain. That is a challenge at the Nürburgring, but in connection with the relatively low temperatures there was also fog and the rain spray stayed in the trees and did not leave. ”While Kaufmann bit his way through, analogous to his nickname“ Piranha ”, showed the electronics in the Porsche had slight problems due to the massive moisture. “We had to swap the control unit at short notice during the night because some functions had dropped out.” The team worked professionally and at full speed, but we still lost one lap and the lead. But the race hadn't even reached halftime, so they immediately went on attack again. However, five laps later, the race management decided to interrupt the race for safety reasons. In many places the water no longer ran off and new, heavier rains had been announced. “That was absolutely the right decision, I have never seen anything like it on the ring,” Kaufmann confirmed the direction of the race management. "You hardly saw anything anymore, the track was very slippery."
The field restarted at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning and the MATHOL Racing team continued to struggle to make up the repair backlog. The class was soon back. “And that was hard work, because our main opponents have many years of experience with the Cayman in production cars and also know the Nürburgring very well.” The team had to make further tactical changes at short notice, as team boss Holle had a resourceful eye on the regulations. “In order to be rated, each registered driver must drive at least 15 laps,” explains Kaufmann. “Since I had already completed many laps well into the night, my team-mates had to work on Sunday after my first five-lap stint.” With an absolutely flawless drive, Kaufmann and his team mates finally delivered the Porsche Cayman S without a scratch and the team saw the checkered flag as the sovereign class winner in the V6 at 3.30 p.m. and was waved off as a bonus in second place in the entire group of production cars.
“The race was very exciting, but it also demanded incredible concentration. The conditions were tougher than ever and have changed constantly, ”said Wolfgang Kaufmann, looking back on the 2020 Nürburgring 24h. “Even so, we didn't have any contact with other cars, no accident, no slip. The cool team around Matthias Holle did a great job and for me it was great to be part of a team with so many western forests, some mechanics come from the surrounding areas. The only downer was the lack of fans on the Nordschleife. Due to the regulations in the times of the Covid19 pandemic, no spectators were allowed to attend, and the atmosphere suffered a lot. Still, I'm happy that we were allowed to drive. "
The 24h Classic Race on Friday morning is no less exciting. Together with Dirk and Frank Ossenberg, Wolfgang Kaufmann competed in the famous Ford Escort RS 2000. Due to his involvement in the 24-hour race, Kaufmann did not make the starting turn this time, but only climbed into the cockpit of the Youngtimer later. It started the race from fifth class. In the course of the 3-hour run, the Ford Trio worked their way up to second place in the group of 2 to two liters of displacement. "We had a problem with the alternator and therefore only ran on batteries", Kaufmann began to explain the impending difficulty. “The first dropouts occurred on the Grand Prix circuit, but I still turned onto the Nordschleife. Unfortunately, the battery in the “Kesselchen” area was finally empty. The marshals then towed me in the direction of Pflanzgarten and towards the end I went into gear to start the car again. In addition, all electrical consumers off, in the hope of finding a few volts. ”The tactic should work, the escort jumped in and Kaufmann made it back to the pits. There the team exchanged the battery and the Molsberger could rush the field behind. However, the repair had cost a good lap and Kaufmann still saw the checkered flag in fifth place. “A podium place would certainly have been possible, but things like that happen sometimes,” said Kaufmann after the race. "In any case, the driving pleasure was huge with the rear-wheel drive escort on the damp track".

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