Claudia Hürtgen is a German racing driver and one of the most successful female sports car drivers in the world. Some of her most important achievements are GT class victory at 1997 Daytona 24h, GT class podium at 1998 Le Mans 24h, two German touring car titles (2003, 2004) and VLN Series title in 2005.
Since 2003, she competed almost exclusively with BMW cars, being a factory driver for BMW Motorsport and spending most of the time driving for Schubert Motorsport. In recent years, Claudia was also a chief instructor in the BMW Driving Experience programme.
After many years with BMW, she made a change in 2018 and joined RWT Racing to drive Chevrolet Corvette in the ADAC GT Masters.
Monaco crash stopped Claudia's single-seater career
Claudia Hürtgen was born on September 10, 1971, in Aachen in west Germany, near the borders with Belgium and Netherlands. She started a racing career in karting competitions, switching to cars in 1990. Her first championship was the German Formula Ford 1600, where she finished second in 1991. In the same season, she won the Ford Fiesta Cup.
The next step was the German Formula 3 with RSM Marko team. She was 12th in the points in the 1992 F3 championship. Next year, Claudia joined Opel Team WTS to drive Dallara F393 (Opel). Her Formula 3 career was violently stopped after an accident at non-championship Formula 3 Monaco Grand Prix in May 1993. She suffered hand injuries in a roll-over crash, being incapable continuing a single-seater career.
Austrian touring car champion in 1995
Claudia started a new career moving to the German Touring Car Cup (DTC - Deutsche Tourenwagen Cup) with Team Wolf's Ford Mondeo. She wasn't among front-runners in the German competition but she won the Austrian touring car championship in 1995.
In 1996, parallel to driving Ford Mondeo in the German Supertouring Championship, Hürtgen joined Roock Racing in two races of the Global GT Championship, driving the Porsche 911 GT2 at Nogaro and Zhuhai.
Class victory at Daytona 24 hours
In February 1997, her GT career gets a fantastic stimulus when she scored the GTS-2 class victory at Daytona 24 hours. In her first ever 24-hour race, driving the #99 Porsche 911 GT2 for Roock Racing, she shared a car with Ralf Kelleners, Patrice Goueslard and Andre Ahrle.
Claudia spent full season wth Roock Racing in the 1997 FIA GT Championship, winning three races (Helsinki, Nürburgring, Zeltweg) and finishing fifth in the final standings of GT2 class. Her co-drivers for most of a season were Bruno Eichmann and Ni Amorim.
GT2 class podium at 1998 Le Mans 24h
In June 1997, she debuted at Le Mans with Roock Racing's Porsche, nearly missing the podium with fourth place in GT2 class. Her co-drivers at Le Mans were John Robinson and Hugh Price.
Claudia returned to Le Mans in 1998 with the same team, but different co-drivers. She was sharing the #64 Porsche 911 GT2 with Robert Nearn and Michel Ligonnet. After 285 laps, they finished 17th overall and third in GT2 class. It remained Claudia's only Le Mans podium in four participations during a career.
Claudia competed with Roock Racing until 2002
Hürtgen returned two more times to Le Mans with Roock Racing. In June 1999, she was sharing the #62 Porsche 911 GT2 with Andre Ahrle and Vincent Vosse. They finished 20th overall and 8th in GTS class. In 2001, Roock Racing and KnightHawk Racing fielded Lola-Nissan prototype in LMP675 class, hiring Claudia Hürtgen, Rick Fairbank and Chris Gleason. They retired after 94 laps.
Besides participating at Le Mans 24-hour race, Hürtgen was driving for Roock Racing in the FIA GT Championship and American Le Mans Series until 2002. Her most notable results in that period were two ALMS LMP675 class wins in 2002, at Laguna Seca and Miami.
Hurtgen started to race BMWs in 2001
The milestone change in Hürtgen's career happened in 2001 when she started to race with BMWs. In 2001 and 2002, she was combining sports cars and touring cars, scoring few wins in the German touring car races.
In 2003, she completely switched to BMWs, becoming the German Touring Car Challenge champion with Schubert Motorsport's BMW 320i. That year, she was also BMW factory driver at 24 hours of Nürburgring, but didn't finish a race.
Three in a row championship titles with BMW
In 2004, the series was renamed to DMSB-Produktionswagen-Meisterschaft (DPM) but the result was the same – Claudia Hürtgen as the champion with Schubert's BMW 320i.
In 2005, Schubert Motorsport switched its focus to VLN Endurance Series, which took part exclusively at Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit. Claudia became second in the history Queen of the Ring, winning the championship seven years after Sabine Schmitz did the same in 1998.
Fifth place at 24h Nürburgring with diesel-powered BMW
Touring car races with BMW became Claudia's main job in following years, but without titles. She competed in different championships, such were ADAC Procar, VLN or 24H Series, but also in the endurance races. At 2006 24h Nurburgring, she recorded a remarkable result finishing in the 5th place overall with BMW 120d, sharing the car with Marc Hennerici, Johannes Stuck and team owner Torsten Schubert.
At 2007 24h Nurburgring, Hurtgen participated with BMW Z4 M Coupe, finishing fifth overall and taking a victory in the SP6 class. She was sharing the car with Hans-Joachim Stuck, Johannes Stuck and Richard Goransson.
Focusing on GT racing since 2009
From 2009 onwards, Claudia switched to GT racing. In 2009, he participated full season in the FIA GT3 European Championship, driving the BMW Alpina B6 GT3. Her full-time co-driver was the Hungarian Csaba Walter. With one podium, they finished 12th in the points.
Together with Maxime Martin as a co-driver in the Alpina B6 GT3, Claudia also participated in one round of the ADAC GT Masters, winning both races at Oschersleben.
Fourth place in the European GT3 Championship
In 2010, Hurtgen continued to race in the FIA GT3 European Championship, but switched to Schubert Motorsport's #77 BMW Z4 GT3, together with Csaba Walter. After winning one race (Jarama), they finished fourth in the points.
In the 2010 ADAC GT Masters, she participated in three rounds, combining Alpina B6 GT3 and BMW Z4 GT3, but without wins or podiums.
24h Dubai victory in 2011
In 2011, the season started with a victory at 24 hours of Dubai. Hurtgen was a member of Schubert's crew in the BMW Z4 GT3, together with Augusto Farfus, Tommy Milner and Edward Sandstrom.
In the European GT3 Championship, Hurtgen and Csaba Walter continued to run Schubert's BMW Z4 GT3, scoring three podiums in 12 races and finishing 11th in the final standings.
At 2011 Spa 24 Hours, which was a part of the Blancpain Endurance Series, Hurtgen finished in the second place, sharing a car with Edward Sandstrom and Dirk Werner.
Four ADAC GT seasons with BMW Z4 GT3
In 2012, Hurtgen's main competition was the ADAC GT Masters. She partnered Dominik Schwager in the #20 BMW Z4 GT3 of Schubert Motorsport. With one victory and four podiums, they finished fifth in the final standings.
In the 2013 ADAC GT Masters season, Hurtgen had another Dominik as a co-driver. She was sharing the #19 BMW Z4 GT3 with Dominik Baumann. They won two times and added four more podiums, to finish fifth in the points. Dominik Baumann remained Hurtgen's co-driver in the 2014 ADAC GT season. They are winners two times and progressed in the final classification for one place, finishing fourth in the points.
In 2015, her fourth consecutive ADAC GT season with BMW Z4 GT3, Claudia Hurtgen scored no wins and finished 11th in the points. Her partner in most of the races was Uwe Alzen.
Changing a manufacturer in 2018
For the 2016 ADAC GT season, Schubert Motorsport fielded new BMW M6 GT3. Claudia Hurtgen participated in just two rounds, with Nicklas Mackshin at Lausitz and with Jeroen den Boer at Zandvoort. Her best result was the ninth place in the second race at Zandvoort. During 2016, Claudia competed with another manufacturer besides BMW after a long time, joining Car Collection Motorsport at 24h Dubai to drive Audi R8 LMS.
In 2017, her only commitment is in the VLN endurance series (Langstrecken Meisterschaft Nurburgring) with Walkenhorst Motorsport and then, in 2018, he changed a manufacturer. After many years with BMW, she joined RWT Racing to drive the #13 Chevrolet Corvette C7 GT3-R in the ADAC GT Masters.