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Nürburgring 24 Hours: Thursday Paddock Notes 1, Changes For The 2019 Race

Easier to follow, qualifying changes look to outwit sandbaggers

Lumirank System

The Nürburgring 24 Hours has long been a race that was tough to follow in some specific details, in particular, the identity of the driver currently aboard the car, though major improvements have been made to the live timing system in recent years on that front.

 Now fans trackside will also get those benefits as the Lumirank system, carried by all of the competing cars, has been enhanced to include not just the car’s current position, but also the acronym of the current driver’s name.

Qualifying

There has been a major change to the format used for qualifying for the Nürburgring 24 Hours for 2019 to ensure, as much as possible, that ‘sand-bagging efforts are discouraged and offset.

Qualifying in the VLN rounds held prior to the 24H Race as well as the 24H Qualifying Race have stayed as part of the equation, but here, theoretical lap times, the addition of the best split times set in the qualifying sessions and races, have been taken into account.

In addition, a fixed total of Top-Qualifying positions have been retained for Pro-AM teams meaning that the fastest of them have the chance of being a factor in the battle for pole. 

Three of the Top-Qualifying positions were secured in each of the VLN rounds held prior to the 24H Race and further eight in the 24H Qualifying Race.

One of the three positions available per VLN race meeting was defined in the qualifying session and the other two in the races, with the fastest theoretical lap of each car being used as the criterion.

This is calculated as the average of the best split times set in the qualifying sessions and races. In the 24H Qualifying Race, the three fastest teams in the Top-30-Qualifying of the event gained a position for the Top Qualifying and the other five in the race, once again by means of the fastest theoretical laps.

Starting Drivers

A change for this year’s race is that the teams will have to declare their starting drivers on Saturday Morning, previously this could be changed as late as the starting grid!

Track Surface

Since last year’s N24 some 10% of the racing surface has been repaved, Flugplatz/ Schwedenkreuz, Kallenhard, Wehrdeifen, Ex-Mühle and Hohe Acht have all been renewed, together with 900m of new FIA-spec fencing around Hatzenbach and Kesselchen.

Lexus Make It 15 in GT3

Since the arrival of GT3 cars in the SP9 class back in 2009 there have been 14 marques represented in what is now firmly established a the top class. In 2019 Lexus makes it 15.

 This far the race has seen efforts featuring Alpina, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Corvette, Dodge, Ferrari, Ford, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, Nissan, and Porsche.

Only three of those, the all-German trio of Audi, Mercedes and Porsche have made it to a win in GT3 machinery, Audi having taken four wins in various iterations of the R8 LMS, Mercedes a win apiece for the SLS GT3 and AMG GT3, and Porsche taking the win last year with the 911 GT3 R.