The traditional Prüf-und Einstellfahrten Test Day kicked off Nürburgring season this past Saturday, about 100 teams made it up to the Eifel region to try out their cars ahead of the upcoming season on the Green Hell.
Here’s DSC’s Sören Herweg’s notes from the running:
Weather disrupts looming tyre decisions
The teams and drivers were greeted by wet and cold conditions around the Nürburgring, which led to some teams traveling back home disappointed and failing to complete their full test programme. Several teams complained about the fact that it was too dry for wet weather tyres and too wet for slicks.
This fact is, of course, that it was inconvenient for many, as this year for the first time there will be a de facto limitation on the available tire compounds for the 2017 season. Some teams are still holding out on their final decision on a tyre partner. For example the Audi factory-backed team from Land Motorsport tried both Dunlop and Michelin tyres on its two Audi R8 LMS and did a direct comparison test. Christopher Haase, Pierre Kaffer, Frederic Vervisch and Markus Winkelhock were in action for Land Motorsport.
The second Audi factory team WRT was absent on the test day.
The BMW teams hit the track
After a guest start last year, BMW Team Schnitzer is back full-time in GT racing and, on the test day did a first check of its two BMW M6 GT3 on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. Augusto Farfus, Marco Wittmann and Timo Scheider were in action, especially Scheider who used the test day intensively to familiarise himself with his new car.
At ROWE Racing, Marc Basseng, Philipp Eng, Maxime Martin and Markus Palttala were in action and Bruno Spengler, Antonio Felix da Costa and Tom Blomqvist were on the track for Schubert Motorsport.
The new Falken Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 was shared by Stef Dusseldorp, Marco Seefried and Peter Dumbreck, the turquoise blue BMW was one of the busiest of the runners and completed a lot of miles.
Bentley, Porsche, Mercedes GT3s and the GTronix360 Renault R.S.01 all turn laps
Mercedes-AMG and Porsche were only represented by two teams. In the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of the Haribo Racing Team Uwe Alzen and Lance-David Arnold completed their laps, but the team finished the test day early due to the difficult weather situation.
At the same time Landgraf Motorsport / Schmickler Performance held their debut of its new Mercedes-AMG GT3, which will be shared by Klaus Landgraf, Kai Riemer, Markus Schmickler and Stefan Schmickler in the new SP9 Amateur class.
In the green-yellow Manthey-Porsche Romain Dumas took to the wheel and, after three years in the Porsche LMP1 programme, got a chance to re-familiarise himself with the Porsche 911 GT3 R and the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. At Frikadelli Racing, Sabine Schmitz, Klaus Abbelen and Andreas Ziegler shared the steering wheel.
Meanwhile for Bentley Team ABT, Christer Jöns, Chris Mamerow, Christian Menzel, Christopher Brück, Jordan Lee Pepper and Nico Verdonck carried out the testing work. Prominent support was given to the team by Leena Gade, the successful Audi LMP engineer.
The new Renault R.S.01 GT3 of the GTronix360° Team also worked diligently as its driver lineup Heiko Hammel and Dieter Schmidtmann carried out an intensive test with the French sports car.
It’s now just under a week to go until the first race of the season, with the 63rd ADAC Westfalenfahrt opening up the 2017 VLN season.