It used to be said that 24-hour races are not sprint races - but that's over. A race like that 24h race 2015 at the Nürburgring, is driven under full attack from the start to the finish today. There is no “waiting” and attacking later. If you want to win, you don't just have to arrive - you also have to be with the music from the start.
If you look at the starting field for the 24h edition in 2015, there are at least 20 vehicles left that you can award the chance of victory. The competition is tough on the racetrack and even if you could hold back with the real performance in the VLN runs before the big race or in the N24h qualifying race, at the latest with the start of qualifying, the last tactical games are played and it begins Chasing the pole position. Then the fact that the starting position is not so important is no longer true today. Like Audi driver and Last year's winner Christopher Haase emphasized in the press conference, the starting place definitely plays a role. Starting from behind, out of the traffic, can mean losing touch early on and of course there is a risk of getting involved in the “friction”.
Who will win the 24 hour 2015?
A good 20 vehicles should be able to do this, but on closer inspection only the Audi, Mercedes and BMW are left.
Mercedes-AMG starts with eight vehicles and all vehicles shine with balanced to incredibly good driver pairings. Of the Touring car legend Bernd Schneider up to current DTM drivers from Mercedes-Benz. Colorful mixed pilot field, but maximum professional. If the victory were purely about the statistics, the guys from Mercedes should have the victory safely.
The eight Mercedes-AMG SLS GT3s face seven Audi R8 GT3s. Last year's winner Christopher Haase shares the cockpit with Christian Mamerow, René Rast and Markus Winkelhock. The starting number 1 sticks to a new Audi R8 GT3, the latest generation of the Ingolstadt V10 racing car. Team Phönix's second “new” R8 is number 4 and is driven by Marc Basseng, Marcel Fässler, Mike Rockefeller and Frank Stippler. In addition to these two new R8 GT3s, the Audi Sport WRT team is also using two new R8s. The Audi line-up is completed by the two previous year's R8s from the Audi Race Experience with starting numbers 14 and 15 and the Twinbusch Audi R8 with the start number 16.
BMW as an underdog?
8 Mercedes, 7 Audi, 5 BMW. In terms of mathematics, the matter is clear. But motorsport only has something to do with statistics in the end. Therefore, the two BMW Z4 GT3 teams should not be underestimated. Schubert and MarcVDS compete with top drivers. A good fragrance brand of performance is set in qualifying 1 on Thursday evening.
Maxime Martin sets the best time in the rain with a 9: 56,014. The speed is there and the BMW Z4 GT3 are well-engineered long-distance racing cars. Thanks to ingenious traction control, the BMWs are also easy to drive in the rain. You then “only” need a small portion of racing luck. It is definitely not impossible.
However, when the route dried out at the end of the 4-hour training session, the picture changed. It shifted towards the Audi drivers again. The previous year's winning team ended the night session with the best time so far with an 8: 29,806. Just behind - not even beaten by the length of a front pinball machine, again the MarcVDS BMW. Here 8: 29,895 was enough for the second best time.
An outsider among the outsiders? The BMW Z4 from the Walkenhorst team. As one of three top teams (in the SP-9 and the SP-X) you rely on the Racing tires from Hanau.
The real underdogs
However, it is not impossible for the “real underdogs” of the 24-hour race either. There are the two Bentley, one of them with Christian Menzel in the cockpit. That leaves the Porsche from Manthey, the “raging meatball” and of course the Porsche from the Falken team. Or a real outsider: The Nissan GT-R from the Schulze brothers or from the works Nismo team.
And then there are the two “SCG003” from Scuderia Glickenhaus. After the problems with the sensors in the last VLN run, there was now a turbocharger damage in training and a heavy impact with the # 40 in the first qualifying. In any case, this “racing” is not easy. Not even if you approach the subject with as much passion as James Glickenhaus and his team. The two super sports cars also roll on Dunlop sports tires. The start number 40 has already been eliminated from the field of underdogs after Ken Dobson's severe accident. Because the Dunlop yellow SCG003c was so badly damaged in the accident that it is no longer possible to start.
Before the starting line-up is determined, the luck of the lot must also decide. The 30 fastest will get a completely free track on Friday at 17:10 p.m., but whoever is allowed to go on the race track first will be drawn.
My tip for the race victory of the 24-hour race in 2015
With such a strong field of loose 20 vehicles that can compete for victory, three tips must be allowed - so here are my top 3 candidates for the race victory:
Start number 8 - the Haribo Mercedes-AMG S.LS GT3
What are the advantages of this team? Definitely a name: Mr. Nordschleife himself, Uwe Alzen. Then the team itself. Experienced in the Eifel and with the Mercedes-AMG SLS GT3 you now drive a “rustic” long-distance burner.
Number 1 - Audi Sport Team Phoenix
The previous year's winners. An ideal team of drivers working together, a further developed R8 GT 3 and the pure manpower from Audi. And of course the “statistics” 😉
Start number 26 - BMW Sports Trophy MarcVDS
The team from Belgium probably has the fastest touring car drivers in the cockpit, just watching Maxime Martin split the floods on the wet lane, a boon. However, Maxime Martin starts at # 25. And that's why the two MarcVDS have to share my “tip 3” 😉
Photos: SB-Medien / Robert Kah