The Drive Cult 2012 Nürburgring 24 live-blog

The winning #3 Audi R8 at Eiskurve [Photo: Martin Spain]

Check back here throughout the day to follow all the happenings at this year's N24.

Welcome to the 2012 Nürburgring 24 hours live blog. The race has just got underway with the number 19 Schubert BMW Z4 GT3 leading out the 240 entries on to the Nordschleife. Check back here throughout the next 24 hours to follow all the action on the track and all the weirdness off of it.

Go here for a live video feed of the race and here for live commentary courtesy of Radio Le Mans.

2:00 pm: Drive Cult officially has a race car. We’ve somehow convinced Fim Rennsport to let us taint their lovely 911 GT3 with our name.

2:45 pm: Just walked out on to the grid before the start of the race. Not recommended if you're not a fan of crowds, but there's, erm, plenty to see.

3:00 pm: Had a nice chat with our friend Dickie Meaden who’s in the Aston Martin V12 Zagato again this year. “Zag” has benefited from some new aero work, and Dickie seemed optimistic about his odds against the class arch rivals in the Gazoo Lexus LFA.

4:00 pm: Watched the start of the race from Schwedenkreuz. The cars are massively fast through here.

4:30 pm: Walked down to the Foxhole. It’s a bit out of the way and requires some pretty serious orienteering, but it’s well worth the view.

5:00 pm: Impromptu bar in the woods. Beer makes the hike much more enjoyable.

6:00 pm: The #007 Aston holding steady at second in SP8.

6:30 pm: The #19 Schubert BMW Z4 is continuing to set the pace. It’s also been working in lockstep with its #20 sister car.

6:46 pm: Lexus LFA setting the pace in SP8 on the downhill towards Adenau.

7:00 pm: The McLarens have had a terrible day. All of them ended up crashing out before the four hour mark.

7:30 pm: The Fim Rennsport 911 GT3 has worked its way up to seventh in class from twelfth. C’mon boys!

8:30 pm: We’ve just finished eating lots of German meat at Cozy Corner in Adenau. We were watching the race and then some Germans wanted the channel changed to a game where they played some weird form of football where they only use their feet. I don’t understand Europeans.

10:00 pm: Apologies for the lack of pictures, but the Drive Cult photographers who know how to take pictures at night are in far flung corners of the Eifel Mountains. I took some pictures myself but they’re mediocre at best. It’s really, really dark now, but against all odds of the forecast, the rain has held off. Expect precipitation to be lashing down tomorrow morning because I just said that.

11:30 pm: Just ran into Richard Meaden in the pits after his second stint in the SP8 Aston Zagato V12. His car has been running strong, but he seemed to be in a hurry to get something to eat. Biscuits were obviously in the vicinity.

3:30 am: The cars seemed to have settled into a groove and the Drive Cult crew seemed to have settled into a drunken stupor. Our boys at Fim Rennsport are still still hanging on at 10th in SP10. We’ll check in on everyone’s progress in the morning but for now, we’re going to fall asleep to a lullaby of angry race engines and German techno.

8:00 am: Guten Tag race fans! We're going to grab some breakfast and then trek out into the woods again for the day.

8:15 am: Unfortunately, we just received word that the Fim Rennsport Porsche was hit by an Aston over the course of the night, and are out for the race.

9:00 pm: Top three overall all with seven hours to go: #22 Rowe Racing Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, #20 Team Schubert BMW Z4 GT3, #3 Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi R8 GT3. 

10:00 am: The forecast for this weekend couldn't have been more wrong. It's absolutely beautiful here in Adenau!

10:15 am: If you're not watching the live feed then you should be. The #22 Merc and the #3 Audi are going at it tooth and nails for the lead!

12:00 pm: On our way to Galgenkopf as the race begins to wind down. The factory-sponsored JCW Mini Coupe has been running strong the entire race. Looks pretty good too. Not that I’m biased or anything.

1:00 pm: We attempted and failed to get Dickie Meaden’s attention at Galgenkopf during his last stint. Can’t imagine why he didn’t see us.

1:30 pm: One of the Schubert BMWs thanks the N24 spectators in its own special way.

2:30 pm: What did I order for lunch!?

3:00 pm: Now sat in the spectator area above the pit garages for the final hour of the race. Many of the teams now making last minute splash and dash pit stops.

4:00 pm: Carnage at the finish line as the clock hits zero! With only three seconds left on the clock, the 3rd place Porsche slowed at the finish line to avoid having to do another lap. As it slowed, a Renault Clio smashed into the back of it causing the Porsche to be pushed across the finish line BEFORE time expired! Both cars were incapacitated and ended up being scored as DNF. Absolutely heartbreaking for the Manthey team.

4:05 pm: A very happy James Glickenhaus congratulates his team after another solid run for his P4/5 Competizione.

4:15 pm: Result! After four years of trying, Audi finally have their first N24 win.

4:30 pm: The #3 Audi Sport Team Phoenix drives celebrate a well deserved victory. The #26 Mamerow Audi and the #66 Hankook-Team Heico finish second and third respectively.

Thanks for following along everyone! We’ll have lots more N24 stories over the next few days, so check back soon. We’re off to drink beer and eat steak!