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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Nürburgring Wednesday Notebook

Check out Sportscar365’s first notebook from the paddock for the 52nd Nürburgring 24…

Photo: Intercontinental GT Challenge

***While the buildup for the 52nd edition of the Nürburgring 24 got underway proper on Wednesday, it did so without the Adenauer Racing Day event. The traditional preview gathering featuring spectators, cars and drivers was canceled this year as a result of road works taking place in Adenau town center.

***Wednesday’s activities were concluded with the unveiling of the BMW M4 GT3 EVO and M4 GT4 EVO, which was held at BMW’s showroom in the ring°boulevard. In attendance were all BMW factory drivers to take part in this weekend’s race, as well as motorsport director Andreas Roos and customer racing head Bjoern Lellmann.

***While customer racing figures and media alike got a first look at the updated GT4 challenger, BMW did not disclose any details about the new car. Lellmann indicated that more information will be made available at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa at the end of June.

***Roos told Sportscar365 that in addition to selling new cars, an EVO conversion kit will be made available for all existing M4 GT3s that are currently racing. BMW figures stated that the price for the upgrade kit will be set at €80,000 (approx. $86,426 USD).

***The latest revision to the Balance of Performance table for the event was published last week, setting the Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo as the lightest car with a minimum weight of 1300 kg. On the other end of the spectrum, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo weighs 1355 kg. The Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo, the only new GT3 car to debut at the event, is set at 1340 kilograms.

***Mercedes-AMG has cited this weekend’s weather forecast as the main reason for placing Adam Christodoulou in the lineup for the No. 130 Team GetSpeed entry at late notice. The British driver was confirmed on Tuesday to be pulling double duty across both of GetSpeed’s cars, which a spokesperson told Sportscar365 will give the brand “a little more flexibility depending on the situation.”

***Forecasts for the 52nd edition of the event suggest rain could be a factor all throughout the weekend, with temperatures around 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit).

***The Nürburgring is the ninth circuit to host an Intercontinental GT Challenge round since the series’ inception in 2016. The last circuit to make its debut appearance on the calendar was the Yas Marina Circuit (2022), which was preceded by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2020), Kyalami (2019), Suzuka Circuit (2018), WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (2017) and Mount Panorama, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and Sepang International Circuit (all 2016).

***Fifteen out of 25 SP9 cars, all from BMW, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche, are eligible to score IGTC manufacturers’ points in this weekend’s event. Click here to view the full list.

***While three of those entries are Pro-Am cars, only a single one is registered as an Independent Cup entry: the No. 24 Lionspeed GP Porsche 911 GT3 R of Antares Au, Patrick Kolb, Indy Dontje and Patric Niederhauser.

***Prince Jefri Ibrahim, who leads the standings after the Repco Bathurst 12 Hour, is not competing in the N24 but will not suffer in the standings as Independent Cup drivers are allowed to scrap one race from their points tally. Au and Ibrahim are set to go head-to-head at the 24H Spa, where both drivers will be on the grid.

***The No. 54 Dinamic GT Porsche has undergone a livery change compared to the N24 Qualifiers, with the car driven by Marvin Dienst, Bastian Buus, Marco Holzer and Marco Seefried now decked out in the yellow of tire partner Pirelli.

***BMW M Team RMG’s No. 72 BMW also features a new livery compared to last year and is now sporting an identical design to that used by Sheldon van der Linde in DTM. It also bears close resemblance to the color scheme Josef Newgarden used to secure back-to-back Indianapolis 500 wins, including branding from oil giant Shell.

***The Dinamic Porsche is the only car in the SP9 category running on Pirelli rubber, which features five tire manufacturers. This year’s N24 marks only the second time in IGTC history that not all cars participating in a round of the championship were fitted with Pirelli tires. The only other time that happened was during the 2016 Sepang 12 Hours, when Yokohama tires were used.

***Michelin is the dominant manufacturer in the top class, with 18 out of 25 cars running on tires supplied by the French brand. In addition to Pirelli, other manufacturers present are Goodyear (three cars) Falken (two cars) and Yokohama, which is represented by the No. 6 Team Advan X HRT Mercedes-AMG

***Notably, that also makes Haupt Racing Team the only multi-car squad in the SP9 category to run with more than one tire supplier. Its pair of factory-backed entries, running under the Mercedes-AMG Team Bilstein banner, are on Michelins.

***This year’s N24 kicks off a busy stretch of races that consists of three 24-hour classics, with the 24 Hours of Le Mans followed by the 24H Spa and the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen in between. Out of the SP9 category, 14 drivers are set to contest all three 24-hour events in a row.

***The list includes Julien Andlauer, Klaus Bachler, Matt Campbell, Kevin Estre, Augusto Farfus, Daniel Juncadella, Raffaele Marciello, Maxime Martin, Christopher Mies, Dennis Olsen, Sheldon van der Linde, Dries Vanthoor, Laurens Vanthoor and Marco Wittmann. Morris Schuring, who is entered into Cup2 with Black Falcon, is also doing all three races.

***Felipe Fernandez Laser is the only member out of Frikadelli Racing Team’s winning lineup that has been retained by the Klaus Abbelen-led squad. Earl Bamber is absent, David Pittard has moved to Walkenhorst Motorsport while Nicky Catsburg is racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round at Detroit with Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports.

***Catsburg is not the only driver to have been affected by the clash between the two events. A number of other WeatherTech Championship drivers that were on the N24 grid last year have not returned as a result of their clashing commitments, including Nick Yelloly, Philipp Eng, Connor de Phillippi and Laurin Heinrich.

***In total, this year’s SP9 grid features 17 former overall N24 winners: Laser, Pittard, Farfus, Mies, both Vanthoor brothers, Christodoulou, Estre, Robin Frijns, Kelvin van der Linde, Frederic Vervisch, Frank Stippler, Pierre Kaffer, Markus Winkelhock, Maro Engel, Christopher Haase and Nicki Thiim.

***Three additional former winners are racing BMW GT4 machinery. Jeroen Bleekemolen and Timo Scheider are entered together into the No. 145 Cerny Motorsport car alongside Timo Glock and Peter Cate, while 2016 winner Manuel Metzger is sharing the No. 150 Team Bilstein by Black Falcon machine with YouTube stars Jimmy Broadbent, Steve Alvarez Brown and Misha Charoudin.

***While Broadbent and Brown are both set to take part in their first N24 after transitioning from sim racing, Charoudin notably has one previous race start under his belt: he drove the fan-favorite Dacia Logan in 2021, which returns this year after a heavy nighttime crash in 2023.

***Ben Green is a late addition to the lineup for the No. 17 PROsport Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3. The British driver, who drives for Emil Frey Racing in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup, joins Marek Boeckmann, Nico Bastian and Hugo Sasse.

***Mario Farnbacher has revealed to Sportscar365 that a rule change with regards to driver ratings has left him on the sidelines after he was originally set to contest the race with an unspecified Cup2 team. “I think we were two Gold drivers and two Bronzes, and now they need another Bronze,” the German said. “Nothing the team can do there.”

***Twelve out of 17 positions in Friday’s Top Qualifying session have already been awarded through the N24 Qualifiers last month, with the final five slots to be determined through regular qualifying on Thursday and Friday.

***Track running kicks off on Thursday with the first two qualifying sessions. An opening 105-minute session starts at 1 p.m. CEST (7 a.m. EDT), while a second, three and half hour session is scheduled for 8 p.m. CEST (2 p.m. EDT) and will run into the darkness.

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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