Reigning GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS teams’ champion FFF Racing Team will make its Nürburgring Langstrecken Serie debut this weekend, as part of a season-high 33-car entry in the SP9 category.
FFF is fielding a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo for the factory driver trio of Marco Mapelli, Andrea Caldarelli and Giacomo Altoe in Saturday’s six-hour race, which marks both the longest event of the NLS season and the precursor to next month’s Nürburgring 24.
Sportscar365 understands that the FFF squad has not committed to an N24 program and that its participation this weekend is an exploratory venture.
The Italian squad’s Lamborghini is one of a handful of new cars on the full 168-car entry list, while the grid has also been boosted by the return of cars that appeared in earlier rounds.
Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus is set to make its first appearance of the season with its new SCG 004C that will be driven by Felipe Fernandez Laser, Thomas Mutsch and Franck Mailleux in the SP-X class.
Glickenhaus rolled out its replacement for the SCG 003C in February and has been testing the car in Italy over the last few months with Podium Advanced Technologies.
There is also a new Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo entry from 10Q Racing Team which is competing with the Pro quartet of Daniel Juncadella, Kenneth Heyer, Thomas Jaeger and Sebastian Asch.
ROWE Racing, which claimed victory in round four earlier this month, has doubled its involvement to a pair of Pro-class BMW M6 GT3s.
Its entry features Marco Wittmann, Lucas Auer and Stef Dusseldop in the No. 98 BMW while Philipp Eng, Alexander Sims, Nicky Catsburg and Nick Yelloly will share the No. 99.
Bentley factory driver Jordan Pepper will join David Pittard and Christian Krognes in the points-leading Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW, replacing Mikkel Jensen who is contesting Saturday’s European Le Mans Series race at Paul Ricard.
Several teams in the SP9 ranks are now back to full capacity after clashes with ADAC GT Masters and the DTM depleted the grid to 16 GT3 cars for the previous round.
GetSpeed Performance is back to fielding three Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos after contesting round four with a single car.
The Nürburgring-based outfit’s Pro-class entry is headlined by the No. 2 machine of Raffaele Marciello, Maximilian Goetz, Maximilian Buhk and Fabian Schiller.
Fellow Mercedes-AMG factory affiliate Haupt Racing Team has also upscaled its entry from one car at the previous race to a fleet of three Evos this weekend.
Round two and three winners Maro Engel, Adam Christodoulou, Luca Stolz and Manuel Metzger return in the No. 16 HRT Mercedes, while Engel will also partner Dirk Mueller, Patrick Assenheimer and Dominik Baumann in the team’s No. 6 machine.
Yelmer Buurman, Gabriele Piana, Nico Bastian and team owner Hubert Haupt will drive HRT’s third car.
Manthey Racing returns with its ‘Grello’ Porsche 911 GT3 R for Matt Campbell, Mathieu Jaminet and Lars Kern after it skipped the previous race, while Falken Motorsports has two Porsches on the bill.
Frikadelli Racing has restored its second car entry with factory aces Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen set to be joined by their FIA World Endurance Championship GTE-Pro rival Maxime Martin and sports car evergreen Jeroen Bleekemolen.
Additionally, Patrick Pilet and Richard Lietz return to KCMG’s two-car Porsche lineup.
In the Audi camp, a total of nine R8 LMS GT3 Evos are listed compared with the four that entered the last round.
The Ingolstadt manufacturer’s presence includes the three factory-supported Audi Sport lineups for the N24 that were announced last week.
There are also Ferrari entries from Octane 126 and Racing One, while Konrad Motorsport is again running its Lamborghini.
Fans Admitted for First Time this Season
Saturday’s six-hour race, which gets underway at 12 p.m. local time (6 a.m. EST), will mark the fist NLS event of the year to allow trackside spectators.
A limited number of allocated seats have been put on sale for the grandstands at Turns 3, 4 and 4a, while public access to the Nordschleife remains prohibited.
Each block within the grandstands will have four individual seats adequately spaced apart, while fans from different stands will be kept apart by different access routes.
“A little bit of normality is returning to the Nürburgring endurance series,” said Christian Stephani, Managing Director of the VLN organization that runs the NLS.
“Our fans can finally get a taste of racing again on site. The spectators are an integral part of the sport and our series and we are very happy to finally be able to welcome them back to the track.”