Lucas Luhr is a professional racing driver from Germany who is best known as the accomplished endurance racer who was a champion in various series.
Lucas Luhr had successful career in karting racing
He was born on 22nd of July, 1979 in Koblenz and as many of his colleagues, Luhr made first steps in the motorsport world driving karting. His talent was obvious and over the years Lucas won many local and regional competitions. In 1994, he was European Champion driving for the CRG company and also was 4th in the World Championship.
He spent another year in karting competing at the international level and caught the eyes of many teams and manufacturers.
Switch to formula racing
In 1996, Luhr debuted in the German Formula Ford championship and confirmed that he has plenty to offer. He finished the season as a runner-up and then he moved to German Formula 3 Championship in 1997. During 1997 and 1998 Luhr scored some wins in the series but it was budget, not talent, that defined a young driver’s opportunities.
At the end of the 1998 season, Lucas’ further career was in limbo but soon he received a call that would define his career. Porsche invited Luhr to become a part of 1999 Junior program and the talented driver was happy to make a new step in his career.
Porsche Carrera Cup Germany champion
In 1999, Luhr became the first Porsche Carrera Cup Germany champion. That triumph gave him a lot of confidence and gave him new opportunities.
The following year the German has competed in the American Le Mans Series driving a Dick Barbour Racing’s Porsche 911 GT-R alongside Dirk Muller. Lucas again proved that he is one of the finest drivers of his generation and won the class title in the ALMS. At the same time, he debuted in 24 Hours of Le Mans and scored class wins in the prestigious races like 12 Hours of Sebring and 1000 km of Nurburgring.
Luhr couldn’t defend his ALMS title in 2001. This time driving for Alex Job racing alongside Sascha Maassen, he took the 4th place overall but scored a class win in 24 Hours of Dayton and another win in 12 Hours of Sebring.
Years of domination
The things have improved in 2002. Luhr and Maassen were brilliant in the ALMS clinching the GT class title after winning 7 out of 10 races of the season, including Sebring and Petit Le Mans. He also scored his maiden GT class triumph in 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving a Racer’s Group Porsche alongside Timo Bernhard and Kevin Buckler.
In 2003, German racer again was triumphant at Circuit de la Sarthe, this time driving for Alex Job Racing/Petersen Motorsports, alongside Sascha Maassen and Emmanuel Collard. He also defended his ALMS GT class title and won at Sebring for the third consecutive time.
First try in the GT Championship
In 2004, he switched to FIA GT Championship. Maassen again was his partner and the two continued their winning streak. Driving for Friesinger Motorsport team, they scored six wins before taking the championship which was their third title in a row.
Even though Luhr’s main duty was the testing of the new Porsche RS Spyder, he continued to win the races on both sides of the Atlantic. He added another win at Sebring and for the first time triumphed in 24 Hours of Spa. He also won the 4 Hours of Laguna Seca LMP2 class in the debut race for Porsche RS Spyder.
The season of 2006 was Luhr’s last with Porsche. He rejoined Maassen in Penske Racing’s RS Spyder but the results weren’t as good as in the previous year. Later in the season, Lucas joined forces with Romain Dumas and they finished the season as the LMP2 class champions. Victory in 24 Hours of Nurburgring, where he shared the driving seat with Timo Bernhard, Marcel Tiemann, and Mike Rockenfeller, was icing on the cake for that year.
Audi factory driver
After very fruitful years with Porsche, Lucas became the Audi factory pilot in 2007. His main duty was driving for Audi Sport Team Rosberg in DTM championship. The results were pretty bad and Lucas scored only once, finishing 8th in the race at Catalunya Circuit. After four years of absence, Luhr returned to Le Mans as a member of Audi Sport Team Joest's crew but retired from the race on lap 23.
The next attempt at Circuit de la Sarthe was much better. Driving for the same team alongside Mike Rockenfeller and Alexandre Premat, Luhr took the 4th place overall in 2008. The highlight of the year was another title in the ALMS. He was teamed with Marco Werner in Audi R10 and the pair won the LMP1 class drivers title in great style, after six overall wins and eight wins in their class.
Luhr stayed with Audi until 2011. His last two years with ’Four rings’ were relatively quiet. In 2009, Lucas crashed driving an Audi R15 TDI in the 7th hour of Le Mans 24h. Next year, he drove for many Audi factory teams in the various races like 24 Hours of Nurburgring, Spa 24 Hours, and Daytona 24 hours in which he finished 3rd.
GT1 World Championship title winner and many other good results
After leaving Audi, Luhr entered GT1 World Championship as a pilot of JR Motorsports. Driving a Nissan GT-R alongside compatriot Michael Krumm, he won the races at Algarve, Silverstone, and twice at Paul Ricard before taking the title. Another good season was crowned with a new victory in Nurburgring 24h where he was driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR alongside Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas, and Timo Bernhard.
For the 2012 season, Lucas returned to the US and competed in the ALMS, driving for Muscle Milk Motorsports. With Klaus Graf as a teammate, Luhr became a champion in the LMP1 class, winning 6 out of 10 races. The same year he also raced in Rolex Sports Cars Series in which he finished 12th overall.
The King of the American Le Mans Series
Luhr and Graf defended their ALMS title in 2013. Driving for the same team, they were even more dominant than in the previous campaign. With 8 wins out of 10 races, the Germans again were crowned as the champions. The same year Luhr had his only IndyCar Series appearance. Driving for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, Luhr finished 21st at Sonoma Raceway. Victory in P7 class in 24 Hours of Nurburgring in Mathey Racing’s Porsche crowned another successful year for the German driver.
Move to BMW
In the next two years, Luhr was pretty busy and combined his duties in various championships. During 2014 he has competed in the United Sports Cars Championship, VLN, and Blancpain Endurance Series, but failed to score notable results.
The things improved in 2015 when he became the BMW factory driver. Lucas finished 5th in the USSC’s GTLM class after scoring one victory and three podium finishes. In the Blancpain Series, he again was 5th after scoring one win, while in 24 Hours of Nurburgring Luhr was 2nd driving a BMW Z4 GT3 prepared by BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS.
As a member of BMW Team RLL, Luhr in 2016 competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM class and finished 9th in the final standings, with only one podium finish out of 11 races. He also drove BMW M6 GT3 in the selected races of VLN and Blancpain Series but without too much success.