192 cars are set to take on the Nürburgring Nordscleife for the first VLN round of the 2017 season on Saturday, with 34 of them GT3 cars entered in the SP9 category.
Within SP9, eight manufacturers are represented across nine models.
BMW will have the most customer teams, with nine M6s and a Z4 GT3 from Walkenhorst, ROWE Racing, Schubert Motorsport, Falken Motorsports and M6 GT3 debutant Schnitzer Motorsport.
The driver lineups are strong, with factory drivers spread across all five teams. The race will see Tom Onslow-Cole and Antonio Felix Da Costa among others make their debuts with the marque in the series. Alex Lynn meanwhile will be driving a BMW 325i with Walkenhorst Motorsport this weekend with ex-F1 driver Will Stevens to secure his permit.
Mercedes is also strong in numbers, with eight AMG GT3s on the list. Entries from HTP Motorsport, Black Falcon and HARIBO Racing headline the star-studded lineup for the Stuttgart-based brand which is preparing for another N24 title challenge. Five of the AMG GT3s which will race are factory supported for this season, with a storyline to follow being ex-DTM ace Edoardo Mortara racing with HTP for the first time.
The other German brands on the list – Audi and Porsche – meanwhile, bring five cars apiece to the party, with both providing factory support to customer teams also.
For Porsche, all eyes will be on Laurens Vanthoor, who is taking on the ‘Ring with it for the first time this weekend as part of Falken Motorsports’ two-car effort. He’ll partner Jorg Bergmeister and Martin Ragginger.
At Audi, Land Motorsport will take a step up to an Audi-Sport team with Chris Mies, Connor De Phillippi and Markus Winkelhock in the #28, and Pierre Kaffer and Christopher Haase in the #29. Land is a team to look out for going forward after an impressive season racing in the VLN and ADAC GT Masters last year.
The remaining entries in SP9 meanwhile are set to be filled by Rinaldi’s Wochenspiegel Team Mojschau-badged Ferrari 488, a single Zakspeed Nissan GT-R for Tom Cornel, a pair of Bentley-supported Team Abt Continentals and a Konrad-run Lamborghini Huracan.
Further down the order there’s also plenty of interest in addition to those mentioned in DSC’s rookie runners piece.
Traum Motorsport will be running an SPX Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SGC003C against a Renault R.S.01 from GTronix360° Team, the Aston Martin Test Centre is bringing V12 and V8 Vantages in SP8, Toyota Gazoo Racing will race a Toyota 86 in SP3 and of course the omni-present Opel Manta will compete in H2.
This weekend’s opening round of the VLN is due to be webcast in sound and vision with English language commentary for the very first time with the Radio Show Limited crew and available here on DSC as well as RadioLeMans.com and vln.de.