Nicki Thiim says he is confident about TF Sport’s chances for overall victory in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, despite the fact that the Aston Martin team’s single-car entry is significantly outnumbered by larger commitments from rival GT3 manufacturers.
The British squad is making its race debut at the Eifel endurance classic with a single Aston Martin Vantage GT3 for factory drivers Thiim, Marco Sorensen and Maxime Martin, as well as Nordschleife specialist David Pittard.
It marks the first time that the current iteration of Aston Martin’s GT3 challenger has contested the race, although Thiim and Martin have previously taken victory during an NLS round last year.
Aston Martin is the only manufacturer in the SP9 class to be represented by a single car, with rival manufacturers like Porsche, BMW, Audi and Mercedes-AMG all entering multiple, factory-supported entries.
This, however, does little to dampen Thiim’s spirit going into the event. The Dane contested last year’s edition in a Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.
“It’s great to be here on the German playground,” Thiim told Sportscar365.
“Trying to come here and annoy the Germans a little bit, I think it’s time. It’s one of my favorite races, as it’s always been.
“It’s great to have the Aston Martin family here to make it a full attack on this spectacular show.
“Obviously, teaming up with TF Sport, I have to mention that of course, and backing from the factory.
“It is only one car but you only need one car to win. So full focus on this one and then try to make the best out of it.”
Aston Martin hasn’t entered a car into the top category of the N24 in four years, with the Gaydon marque primarily represented by GT4 entries in recent editions.
Its last GT3 outing came in 2018 when Thiim, Sorensen and Martin partnered with Darren Turner aboard the old, V12-engined Vantage GT3.
In that race, it went on to finish fourth overall, a lap down on the winning Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
That remains the Gaydon marque’s best finish at the event to date.
“The last race of the V12 era, we had a really good package actually,” Thiim recalls.
“We just got to make it better now, with the ‘new’ car.
“Last year we proved it’s competitive up here with the win and since then we’ve done NLS and the qualifying race to get some mileage and learn about the track and setting up the car.
“I think we are well prepared, but let’s see.”
Thiim recognizes that TF Sport is outnumbered by its rivals, but believes that the team could also profit from certain advantages of being a one-car entry.
“Again, you only need one car to win, that’s obvious,” he said.
“There will always be advantages and disadvantages because when you have many cars you will also have internal warfare going on.
“Everyone wants to win so obviously, as a manufacturer, you want as many cars as you can get to have at least one shot at it.
“We know this car inside out, TF knows it, Prodrive [as well]. We bring everything to the table that we have.
“So I cannot see anything wrong. We’re doing our best. We have the best driver lineup I think we could put together here.
“So yeah, really looking forward to it and quite confident.”