The first quarter of the 2012 Nurburgring 24 Hours ended with the no.19 Team Schubert BMW Z4 making a scheduled pitstop out of the lead.
Since the end of the third hour a total of four different teams had held the lead. Continuing the earlier pattern of the race at lap 22 pitstop by the Team Schubert crew handed the lead back to the no.65 Team Hankook Heico Mercedes SLS who in turn gave the lead to the no.11 Team Manthey Porsche before they pitted a lap after the Mercedes team.
The three hours also included the first laps led by any of the Audi R8 LMS and the no.2 Audi Sport Team Phoenix led the race over the five hour mark for three laps before the team pitted the car.
Throughout the sixth hour the Audi team (Marcel Fassler, Christopher Mies, Rene Rast, Frank Stippler) were gaining on the leading BMW, pulling from 50 seconds behind to just 24.3 when the BMW pitted – the Audi ready to assume the lead for a second stint at the point.
The no.22 ROWE Racing Mercedes was running third after completing 40 laps with the second Team Schubert Z4 and the no.65 Hankook Heico completing the top five.
After an accident packed start to race hours three to six were calmer but not without incident as two top-20 GT3 cars made contact with backmarkers. While running 20th the no.24 Audi Race Experience Audi R8 span on the Grand Prix track, only be collected by Renault Clio no.163, running wide in a separate accident.
While the Audi was able to continue, after returning to the pit through the back entrance – rather than completiting the Nordschleife – Gemballa Racing's McLaren MP4-12C was unable to continue after a frightening accident coming down the hill between Flugplatz and Schwedenkreuz. Klaus Ludwig in the McLaren was clipped by a slower SEAT, sending both spinning into the barriers lining the track to come to a rest almost at the next crest. The McLaren was destroyed, Ludwig angry with the SEAT driver initially.
With the pace at the front and the attrition among some of the front runners the number of cars on the lead lap had fallen to 17 with the leaders in SP7 and SP8 creeping into the top ten with Kremer Racing and Gazoo Racing respectively. Running 25th the Hybrid P 4/5 Competizione had been faultless since a short delayed after small fire when refuelling earlier in the race.
2012 Nurburgring 24 Hours Selected Class Leaders After Six Hours
SP9 GT3 – No.19 BMW Team Schubert BMW Z4 – Muller/Muller/Adorf/Alzen
SP7 – No.150 Kremer Racing Porsche 911 GT3 KR – Kaufmann/Heger/Schornstein/Kuke
SP8 – No.83 Gazoo Racing Lexus LFA – Kinoshita/Iida/Wakisaka
SP3T – No.133 – Subaru Tecnica International Subaru GVB – Yoshida/Sasaki/Engels/van Dam
SP4T – No.110 Raeder Motorsport Audi TT Rs – Schmersal/”Tiger”/Kaiser/Sluis
SP10 GT4 – No.61 Team Mathol Racing Aston Martin Vantage – Weber/Bermes/Belka/Verdonck