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Nürburgring Endurance

NLS Aiming to Start Season in June Behind Closed Doors

NLS series looking to start season in June despite German ban on public events until Aug. 31…

Photo: Porsche

The Nürburgring Langstrecken Serie is aiming to hold its first five races behind closed doors in the wake of a ban on public events in Germany until the end of August.

The Nordschleife-based championship, formerly known as the VLN, is due to start on June 27 and has four more races planned between then and September.

On Wednesday, the German government confirmed a ban on “large events” until Aug. 31, although the NLS has stated that it will seek clarity on whether this includes sports taking place behind closed doors.

So far, according to the latest World Health Organization data, a total of 130,450 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Germany while 3,569 people have died with the virus.

Social distancing requirements remain in place throughout the country, while some shops including car and bicycle dealerships have been allowed to reopen.

A statement issued by the NLS on Thursday explained the series’ objective to hold events before the government’s ban is due to be lifted.

“The VLN – as an organization behind the Nürburgring Langstrecken Serie – is working hard on a concept to start the season as planned on June 27 and is in contact with the competent authorities,” it read.

“According to the decision of the federal government on Apr. 15, major events are prohibited until Aug. 31.

“What is considered a major event, however, is a matter for the country.

“Of course, infection protection has absolute priority in all considerations for the conduct of racing events.”

A spokesperson for the NLS confirmed to Sportscar365 that the championship’s “concept” is to hold races behind closed doors.

In addition to the late June season-opener, the series is planning to run a double-header event on July 11-12 as well as standalone races on Aug. 1 and Aug. 29.

The Nürburgring 24, which is not a part of the NLS season, is scheduled to take place on September 26-27.

Other German Race Events Now at Risk

The NLS was the first sports car series to respond to the German government’s new coronavirus measures, however the restrictions are set to impact other championships.

The projected opening round of the DTM at the Norisring on Jul. 11-12 is now in doubt, as is the series’ visit to Zolder in Belgium, which has enacted a similar ban on mass events.

International GT Open at Hockenheim on Jun. 27-28 and ADAC GT Masters at the Nürburgring on Aug. 15-16 are also likely to be affected. 

Formula E has also responded to Germany’s recent action by postponing its planned E-Prix in Berlin.

For more details on sports car racing calendar updates, check out Sportscar365’s guide.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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