Lamborghini claimed its first Endurance Cup victory of the 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS season at the 3 Hours of the Nürburgring. Factory Drivers Mirko Bortolotti, Andrea Caldarelli and Marco Mapelli took the #63 Orange 1 FFF Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo to a dominant victory despite two late full course yellow periods to come home 1.228s clear at the finish.
The trio had earlier created history by securing their third Endurance Cup pole position in four races after the combined qualifying session in the morning, and Mapelli maintained the #63’s advantage at the start of the race.
Mapelli extended his margin at the head of the field to over two seconds from nearest rival Raffaele Marciello (AKKA ASP Mercedes) before handing over to team-mate Caldarelli at the first round of pit-stop at the one-hour marker. Caldarelli then proceeded to build a commanding lead during his stint, which was briefly interrupted by a short full course yellow, to over 20 seconds.
Bortolotti took the car to the finish, but he was made to sweat not once, but twice as a pair of full course yellow periods led to safety cars. But Bortolotti maintained his composure at each restart and duly re-built the lead of the #63 until the end of the race.
It is the first victory of the season for the #63, which won the Teams, Endurance and Overall GT World Challenge Europe titles in 2019 and comes following a number of near-misses in 2021: most notably at Monza, Paul Ricard and Spa-Francorchamps.
Emil Frey Racing also bounced back from a very difficult Spa 24 Hours weekend with a superb double top five result. Arthur Rougier, Konsta Lappalainen and newcomer Luca Ghiotto finished fourth, just ahead of the #163 entry of Norbert Siedler and Lamborghini Factory Drivers Albert Costa and Giacomo Altoè.
Such was the performance of Lamborghini all weekend, there were class victories in the Silver Cup for Emil Frey Racing’s Ricardo Feller, Rolf Ineichen and Alex Fontana – their second Endurance Cup win of the year – while FFF Racing’s Phil Keen, Stefano Constantini and Hiroshi Hamaguchi earned a well-deserved Pro-Am triumph.
Meanwhile, there was yet more celebration even before the race began, as Emil Frey secured both the Teams and Drivers’ crown in the official Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Esports championship, held in the paddock on Saturday evening. Arthur Rougier won the Drivers’ title with victory in the online race, with points from the championship contributing to the overall real-life GT World Challenge Europe standings at the end of the year.