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VLN/Nürburgring 24

Nürburgring Wednesday Notebook

John Dagys’ Wednesday notebook from the Nürburgring…

Photo: Mercedes-AMG

***More than 150 cars are set for this weekend’s Nürburgring 24, in another large and diverse entry list for the German endurance classic. No fewer than 29 GT3-spec cars are listed, representing seven different manufacturers, plus several SP-X competitors, including last year’s pole-sitting Glickenhaus SCG003c.

***Click Here for the latest version of the entry list. A final list is expected to be released on Thursday.

***Competitors and fans made the trip to the nearby village of Adenau on Wednesday afternoon for the annual Adenauer Racing Day (pictured above), an event that was packed with cars, drivers and pre-event activities for all involved.

***Several Balance of Performance adjustments have been made since last month’s Qualifying Race, the biggest being a 20kg weight break for the BMW M6 GT3 and Ferrari 488 GT3s, as well as a 10kg weight reductions for the Porsche 911 GT3 R and SCG003C and a 15kg decrease for the Lamborghini Huracan GT3.

***No changes, meanwhile, have been made to the Mercedes-AMG GT3, which claimed top honors in the six-hour round, which helped secure the final eligible cars for the Top 30 Shootout. Click Here for latest BoP table. 

***The DMSB confirmed on Wednesday that SP10 (GT4) class driver lineups cannot have more than two FIA Silver-rated drivers. It comes in addition to the mandate of at least one Bronze per car as well.

***Also new for this year’s race is further restrictions on tire usage and decelerations, following the controversial 2017 event that saw multiple teams switch tire manufacturers over the course of the weekend.

***Teams are now only permitted to change tire manufacturers in cases of force majeure or with the approval of the DMSB. Tire companies, meanwhile, were required to declare specific compounds for each car last week. As was the case last year, all tires must be me made available for purchase, thus prohibiting ‘confidential’ compounds from being used.

***BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt believes this year’s tire rules evolution will provide more equality. “Obviously last year wasn’t ideal with all of it changing very late and catching some of the people off-guard,” he told Sportscar365. “We’ve stuck with Michelin as our tire partner. They’ve always done a fantastic job.”

***The Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 completed last month’s Qualifying Race on both Yokohamas and Michelins, after the team’s mid-race change request was granted. 

***BMW has consolidated its effort this year largely between two teams — ROWE Racing and Walkenhorst Motorsport — as well as a single supported BMW M6 GT3 from Falken Motorsports. The German manufacturer utilized 21 drivers for its six-car effort in 2017 which included cars operated by Schnitzer and Schubert, which have both not returned.

***Marquardt said: “It’s a slightly different approach but we’ll try that way because over the last few years, the Nürburgring has changed so much and you really have to have maximum focus on this event.”

***Porsche is again the most represented manufacturer in the race, with 43 Porsche 911 or Porsche Cayman race cars set to take part, including eight Porsche 911 GT3 Rs and support from 13 factory drivers and four Porsche Young Professionals. 

***The new Porsche 911 GT3 R will be formally unveiled on Friday. The German manufacturer’s new-for-2019 car, which is understood to include several innovative features, was spied testing at Monza last month. It is expected to make its customer racing debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

***A handful of high-profile drivers are set for their Nürburgring 24 debut this weekend, including Andre Lotterer, who has joined the KUS Team75 Bernhard Porsche alongside Michael Christensen, Joerg Bergmeister and Matteo Cairoli. 

***Reigning N24 winner Kelvin van der Linde, as well as 2017 DTM champion Rene Rast, are listed in both the Audi Sport-backed Land and WRT entries, while Renger van der Zande is another driver set to pull double duty, but between the two HTP Motorsport-run Mercedes GT3s.

***Chinese driver He Xiaole will make his N24 debut in Phoenix Racing’s Audi R8 LMS GT4 alongside Milan Dontje and Nicolaj Moller Madsen. It marks a further strengthening of Audi’s global customer racing efforts, which is also on display this weekend with the first-ever Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup event in Europe.

***Track activity kicks off with the R8 LMS Cup on Thursday morning, with the one-and-only Free Practice for the N24 cars set to run from 1:20-3 p.m. local time, followed by Qualifying 1 from 8:30-11:30 p.m.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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