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Nürburgring Endurance

Drivers Hoping for Full-Length N24 After Red Flagged Editions

GT3 drivers express shared hope that 50th edition of Nürburgring 24 will avoid interruption…

Photo: GruppeC Photography

Drivers at the Nürburgring 24 have said they are hoping for the 50th edition of the race to last its full duration after the last two events were both impacted by long stoppages due to bad weather.

In 2020, the race was paused for nearly 10 hours overnight due to rain, while torrential rain and heavy fog last year caused an overnight red flag lasting almost 15 hours.

Last year’s winners Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen and Matteo Cairoli completed only 59 laps in the shortest-ever N24.

With weather conditions looking relatively stable for this weekend, various drivers in the top SP9 class have expressed hope that after two years of interruptions, the race can run to its full length again.

“The weather looks quite OK so far,” Audi Sport Team Car Collection’s Patric Niederhauser told Sportscar365.

“It doesn’t need to be a fully dry race: if it rains, it doesn’t matter for us because it makes things interesting.

But I’m just really hoping for a clear race with no red flags, a full 24-hour race. I think all the fans who are here deserve it, so I’m hoping for that.”

2020 winner Nick Catsburg, who retired from last year’s race after the 13-hour red flag had been cleared, expressed a similar aspiration although remained cautious.

“We are all hoping for an actual 24 hour race this time,” said Catsburg.

“It does look okay, in terms of weather. But you never really know with fog here.

“If something happens, there could be fog, and then you simply don’t see enough to see the marshals and I think then it is always the best option to red flag [the race].

“But we have the prediction that actually this year should be a clean race in terms of weather.

“So let’s all have our fingers crossed. I wouldn’t mind the full night of sleep, but a 24 hour race should be 24 hours.”

A fear of fog, which played a major role in last year’s record-breaking red flag, was something of a theme between drivers. 

Alongside Catsburg, TF Sport’s David Pittard pointed to low overnight temperatures during the night as a potential concern.

“Speaking to a lot of the guys in the first part of the weekend, everyone said they hope it is a [full] 24-hour race,” Pittard stated.

“I think the last time that happened was in 2019 after the past two years with the fog and crazy weather that the fog and the Nurburgring brings.

“The possibilities and probabilities of a red flag are always very high here.

“Touch wood, the weather looks quite consistent but cold. Saturday night is going to be four degrees or something like that.

“That is probably the biggest thing that I think could throw a curveball of maybe some fog or mist forming on Sunday morning, but the rest of the weekend looks reasonably stable. 

Team Getspeed’s Adam Christodoulou, who won the N24 with Black Falcon in 2016, said he too was hoping for a full length event but wouldn’t count out another red flag.

“Hopefully so, but it is one of the characteristics of being in the Eifel that you are never guaranteed a full 24 hours around here,” he said.

“Even in 2016, when we won it, it got red flagged for a few hours as well.

“As Bernd Schneider once said when somebody asked him ‘what’s it like to win two N24s’, he said ‘I don’t know, neither of the races were 24 hours.'” 

Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report.

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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