This year’s 4th running of the ADAC Qualifying Race 24h sees 99 cars entered for the six-hour practice run ahead of next month’s main attraction.
While the number of entries isn’t as high as a standard VLN race, which usually attracts around 200 cars, the 24h Qualifying Race is growing. The first year it was held back in 2014 saw just 50 cars take part, which for any other circuit would make it highly congested. For the Nordschleife however, it makes for a very quiet circuit!
Nevertheless, there’s plenty of interest here, with quality teams and drivers in the SP9 category (which totals 26 entries), all looking to get some more practice in on a quieter track. It also counts towards gaining driver permits for the race, so for many racers, that will be the focus here.
Of the 26 entries in SP9, six GT3 manufacturers are represented, the key omissions being Aston Martin, which is focusing on its GT8 commitments with the Aston Martin Test Centre, and Nissan, following Zakspeed’s announcement that its GT-R Nürburgring programme has been put on hiatus until the end of the year.
The marque with the most is BMW, with Team Schnitzer, Schubert, Rowe, Falken and Walkenhorst making it nine M6 GT3s and a single Z4 GT3.
At Rowe, it’s a full rehearsal for its N24 squad, with Philipp Eng, Alex Sims, Maxime Martin and Marc Basing in the #98 and Sims, Markus Palttala, Nick Catsburg and Richard Westbrook in the #99.
The same can be said for Schubert, which will have Jens Klinsmann, Jörn Müller, Tom Onslow-Cole and John Edwards in the #19 and Joerg Mueller, Bruno Spengler, Jesse Krohn and Kuno Wittmer in the #20.
It’s only Schnitzer which has a scaled back team. In the #42, Marco Wittmann, Tom Blomqvist and Martin Tomczyk will drive, while N24 debutants Alex Lynn and Antonio Felix Da Costa will drive the #43 as a duo.
For Sebring winner Lynn, it’s his first taste of driving a GT3 car in anger during a race on the full circuit
For Sebring winner Lynn, it’s his first taste of driving a GT3 car in anger during a race on the full circuit, and he’ll be looking to get as much running in as possible before the big dance.
Another driver getting his first drive in the M6 on the Nordschleife this weekend is long-standing Falken driver Peter Dumbreck, who thus far has only tested the team’s new car. He’ll share with Alexandre Imperatori and Stef Dusseldorp.
At Walkenhorst, the main interest will be the #100 M6 of Nordscleife GT3 lap record holder Christian Krognes, Michele Di Martino and Matias Henkola.
Porsche meanwhile, will be represented by five 911 GT3 Rs. After winning both VLN races so far this year, it’s safe to say that the Porsche looks to be the car to have at this stage.
Manthey Racing, which to this point has won both races on the full circuit in VLN, has two on the entry list, with the clear contender of the two being the #911 of WEC title holder Romain Dumas, and fellow Porsche works drivers Richard Lietz and Patrick Pilet who are hoping to cap off a clean sweep of the pre-N24 races for the team.
The other 911s come from Falken Motorsports and Frikadelli Racing. Frikadelli is bringing two cars again – and has the very capable duo of Lucas Luhr and Porsche WEC GTE driver Michael Christensen in the #31. And Falken is looking to bounce back from the heartbreaking end to VLN 1 which saw Laurens Vanthoor crash out from the lead in the #44 Porsche on the penultimate lap.
Falken is looking to bounce back from the heartbreaking end to VLN 1 which saw Laurens Vanthoor crash out from the lead on the penultimate lap.
It’s four apiece for Mercedes and Audi, the clash with the Blancpain Endurance opener at Monza clearly affecting the numbers.
Black Falcon, Haribo Racing and HTP will field AMG GT3s, with Black Falcon bringing two, and the other’s just one each.
The strongest lineups of the quartet ate the #3 Black Falcon AMG of Dirk Muller, Thomas Jager, Maro Engel and Jan Seyffarth, and the #8 Haribo Merc of Uwe Alzen, Lance David Arnold, Max Getz and Renger van der Zande.
Land Motorsport, WRT, Phoenix and Car Collection will line up with R8 LMS’.
An Audi win is most likely to come from the WRT or Land camps, which will race with pairs in their cars. Nico Müller and Frederic Vervisch will drive for the Belgian squad, and the dangerous duo of Chris Mies and Connor De Phillippi will drive for the German outfit.
The remaining three cars left in SP9 are the two Abt Bentley’s, which have impressed mightily so far on new Yokohama rubber, finishing fourth in VLN 1 and second in 2, and the Wochenspiegel Team Monschau Ferrari 488.
Outside of the top class, two Glickenhaus SCG003Cs from Traum Motorsport will take on the SPX class which once again features a Renault R.S.01 and a Porsche Cayman.
SP8 will also be worth keeping tabs on. The Aston Martin Lagonda team will be running a Vantage GT8 with Peter Cate, Florian Camelger and Aston factory drivers Darren Turner and Nicki Thiim. MSC Adenau is also on the list with a Ford Mustang GT WR.
Sunday’s six-hour N24 Qualifying Race is set to begin at 12:00pm, running until 18:00pm, local time in Germany, and can be followed live in sound and vision here on DSC, with commentary from Radio Show Limited on the International stream.