Harley Haughton Sets Class Podium Pace On Nürburgring 24 Hours Debut
Harley Haughton produced a hugely impressive performance on his ADAC TotalEnergies Nürburgring 24 Hours debut as he regularly lapped in the top three of the competitive Cup3 class across the four-day event (18-21 May).
Haughton, who only turned 18 years old back in January, wrote his name into the Nurburgring record books with his entry into the prestigious 24-hour race. He lined up as the youngest of the 450+ drivers on this year’s grid, and remarkably the third youngest driver to ever compete in the race’s 51-year history.
The Stockport based racer was once again behind the wheel of Breakell Racing’s Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 for the race, having gained crucial experience in the car during the ‘qualifiers’ weekend in April where he showed class-leading pace in the competitive Cup3 category.
Sharing the Cayman with team principal James Breakell and New Zealanders Grant Dalton and Grant Woolford, Haughton settled back into the car and got reacquainted with the 15-mile Nordschleife circuit on Thursday afternoon during the first of three qualifying sessions.
The second session that evening saw Haughton driving through sunset and into the darkness, giving him some crucial experience ahead of planned race stints through the night. After another positive run during the final session the next day, Haughton’s blistering pace secured them third position on the grid for the race.
In front of a huge trackside crowd, with 235,000 people having been in attendance across the event, Haughton started behind the wheel of the Cayman. Successfully negotiating a typically hectic opening couple of laps, he soon settled into a great rhythm to pull clear of the cars behind and consolidate third position.
Completing his opening stint, the next time he returned to the cockpit would be under the cover of darkness for his first ever time racing in the night. After the team had unfortunately lost some time in the evening due to wheel damage, there would be further misfortune with a broken driveshaft.
Once that was fixed, Haughton returned to the track a man on a mission and set a rapid pace as he completed a lengthy three-hour stint through the night. Unfortunately that would prove to be his last time behind the wheel, as an engine issue soon after due to debris piercing the car’s radiator brought their race to an early conclusion.
Harley Haughton: “It was an all-round an amazing experience to be a part of the 51st Nürburgring 24 Hours. The amount of fans in attendance was mind-blowing and the interaction with them was like nothing I've experienced before.
“I feel like I drove extremely well and got the most out of myself and the car. Driving three hours straight in the night was the toughest and most rewarding thing I have ever done.
“The team were great to be around and put in so much effort throughout the event, including the long night through the race to try and keep us going. Thank you to everyone at Breakell Racing and WS Racing for all their support through my Nürburgring journey - hopefully I’ll be back racing there again soon.”
Image from Frozenspeed.