Audi R8Mid-September brought with it the fifth round of the Blancpain Endurance championship, which was held over last weekend on the famous 5.1 kilometre Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit; home of the German Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Former British Formula Renault Champion Adam Christodoulou had been invited to join the 2011 Britcar championship winning team ‘GT3 Racing’ for the weekend, and for the first time he was swapping the bright tangerine of a McLaren MP4-12C for a darker beast; a matt black Audi R8 LMS GT3.

Christodoulou was to partner up with drivers Craig Wilkins and Peter Belshaw, replacing regular third teammate Aaron Scott who was attending to family commitments.

To some degree it was a case of being thrown in at the deep end, with Christodoulou being unfamiliar with the new car and setup, and both Belshaw and Wilkins with no experience on the Nürburgring before. With limited track time, Saturday testing and qualifying on Sunday morning would be their only preparation for the 3 hour race.

The pace in testing was reasonable on old tyres, and gave some confidence heading into qualifying.

The car made gains on the testing time by a good margin, lapping the 5.1km track in 1:59.053 and averaging a speed of 155.67kph. However, this was only enough to secure a midfield result of 31st place, and a five place penalty for a rule infringement during testing dropped the team back into 36th overall (25th in class)

Belshaw was the first in the hot seat and started the race for the team. Making a clean start, he managed to avoid a pile-up of cars which had crashed in front of him, even before the start of the race. By the end of the stint he had managed to climb into a top 30 position, before a safety car was called out. The team used this delay to their advantage, completing a pitstop for new tyres and fuel, whilst also swapping drivers replacing Belshaw with Wilkins. The strategy worked beautifully, and the car found itself in a promising 22nd position.

Wilkins maintained the position on track until a final pitstop allowed Christodoulou to take the wheel ready to guide the Audi through to the chequered flag.

Some time had been lost during the pitstop due to a faulty wheel nut which lost the team a couple of places, but once the car had returned to the track Christo demonstrated he was able retain control, and in the final laps passed enough cars bring the car home in 17th overall position and 7th in class. This was the highest in-class result the team had achieved all year, and also secured them the honour of being the highest placed 2011 Audi.

After the chequered flag Christodoulou was grateful for the opportunity, “I’d like to thank Craig, Peter, Aaron and all the crew at GT3 Racing for allowing me the opportunity to race with them. An excellent experience all round, and I wish them the best of luck for the final round of the Blancpain Endurance Championship in Spain!”

Christodoulou’s next race is this weekend at Monza, Italy and will be back in the more familiar racing seat of a McLaren GT3.