This weekend we will see the highlight of the year at the Nürburgring – if not the biggest race of the year in Germany.
The 24 hour race at the Nordschleife is the race that all manufacturers want to win. Historically Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche has been fighting for many of the victories, but during the most resent times, Nissan, Jaguar, Bentley and Aston Martin.
The race was first run in 1970, but hasn’t been run each year since. That means that this years race will be the 44th edition.
Among the previous winners of the race we see car models as BMW 2002 TI, Ford Capri, many different versions of Porsche’s, BMW M3, Mercedes SLS and for the last 2 years, Audi R8 LMS.
The list of drivers among the winner is very long, but some of them are Hans-Joachim Stuck, Niki Lauda, Klaus Ludwig, Joachim Winkelhock, Pedro Lamy, Nicki Thiim and Bernd Schneider.
Marcel Tiemann, Pedro Lamy and Timo Bernhard are the only 3 driver to have won the race 5 times and thus the most victorious.
Thiim and Lamy will partner up in the same car this year. Aston Martin Vantage GT3 number 7 will have those 2 behind the wheel along with Darren Turner and Marco Sørensen. They will try to take the first victory for the English brand, who hasn’t had much luck at the German track. But they really want the win this year So other than car number 7, they also have another car filled with 4 more WEC drivers – Jonny Adam, Fernando Rees, Mathias Lauda and Richie Stanaway.
Audi will be there with 6 cars – or officially with 6 costumer cars. There are several works drivers in the cars that indicates that they mean serious business. Audi are defending champions and wants the hattrick this year. Names like Laurens Vanthoor, Christopher Mies, Nico Müller, Pierre Kaffer, Markus Winkelhock and Rene Rast are just some of their lineup.
Porsche will also have 6 more or less costumer cars. Manthey Racing are among the entrants with car numbers 911 with Le Mans 2015 winners Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber plus Kevin Estre and Patrick Pilet, and car number 912 with WEC drivers Michael Christensen and Richard Lietz plus Jörg Bergmeister and Frederic Makowiecki.
BMW are represented with 4 cars. ROWE Racing and Schubert Racing have 2 cars each where factory drivers like Jörg Müller, Martin Tomczyk, Augusto Farfus, Marco Wittmann and Lucas Luhr.
Other than those cars that we have mentioned there, there’s about another 160 cars at the start. The exact number we will only know after scrutineering + after practice and qualifying. There’s always some cars getting damaged and the tracks many turns and crests are ready to pounce back if you are not 100% focused.
The many different classes means there is a big speed differential between the cars. The last few years the slowest have been removed from the field – prior to that we saw fields around 225 cars! There is also a minimum for the drivers to have a Nordschleife licence + a minimum of 2 races on the track prior to the 24 hour race. That’s to make sure that the drivers are known to the speeds and dangers to the track, and makes it safer for the other drivers and spectators.
In previous years we unfortunately have seen cars leaving the track and crossing the barriers, but the track have improved safety a lot for this year, so hopefully we will not see things like that this year.
The race will start on Saturday at 15.30 CET and can be followed on Radiolemans.com and on 24h-rennen.de where there will be sound and audio streamed for all 24 hours + some of the qualifying Thursday and Friday.