Nürburgring Weekend Notebook

Photo: Gruppe C Photography

***Audi, BMW and Ferrari teams were affected by a Balance of Performance adjustment on Thursday morning. The new BoP gives the Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos a 10 kg weight increase, and a slight air restrictor diameter increase in return. The BMW M6 GT3s are now 10 kg lighter and have a higher maximum turbo boost pressure compared to what they had in the pre-event BoP, which was unchanged from the qualifying race last month.

***Additionally, the maximum power output of the three Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020s competing has been set at 545 PS.

***The top 20 places on the Nürburgring 24 grid will be set during Top Qualifying 2 this evening. 16 of the participants have already been locked into that session due to previous results in NLS events and the six-hour N24 qualifying race. The remaining four berths will go to the four fastest cars in Top Qualifying 1.

***Notable Top Qualifying 2 absentees include the factory-supported Audis from Car Collection Motorsport and Phoenix Racing, and the Mercedes-AMG Team works-backed entries from Haupt Racing Team (No. 6) and GetSpeed (No. 8) and the two Falken Porsches. Four BMWs, including the No. 98 ROWE and the RMG-supported Junior Team machine, are also vying for promotion.

***View the full list of confirmed and potential Top Qualifying 2 entrants here

***The final N24 entry list features 122 cars. The No. 170 Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR, the No. 421 Four Motors Bioconcept Porsche Cayman 981 GT4 Clubsport and the No. 307 Team Mathol Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport have been withdrawn since the publication of the provisional entry list.

***Touring car driver Tom Coronel, who was due to pilot the Comtoyou Racing TCR Audi, has moved into the No. 306 G-Tech Competition Cayman.

***There have been a few other driver changes and clarifications upon publication of the final entry list. Klaus Koch and Johannes Stengel join the No. 12 privateer Car Collection Motorsport Audi GT3. Alexander Mies, the brother of Audi factory driver Christopher Mies, is in the No. 80 Huber Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.

***Elsewhere, GTWC Europe Endurance Cup driver Miklas Born has joined one of the VT2-class BMW lineups, while 2019 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion Philip Hamprecht is added to the No. 301 Porsche racing in the one-make CUP 3 category.

***Hankook FFF Racing Team principal Andrea Caldarelli, who is racing in America this weekend, has said the Chinese team had hoped for more Nürburgring track time ahead of its N24 debut. “It is never enough, and no we didn’t have enough time, to be honest,” he told Sportscar365. “The program was supposed to start a bit earlier last year, but because of what’s happened in the world, we had to cut a few of the events. So I would say we were behind four or six days of testing.”

***Caldarelli explained that FFF’s Lamborgini Hueracan GT3 Evo had not lapped the Nordschleife on wet tires prior to this weekend. The car’s single-lap dry weather pace was demonstrated during Thursday practice as Mirko Bortlotti set the fastest lap.

***Adverse weather is forecast again this year, with thunderstorms and heavy rain expected during the weekend.

***FFF is among the teams aiming to break a winless streak at the N24 for German manufacturers, extending back to 2002 when Zakspeed won with a Chrysler Viper.

***Phoenix Racing’s No. 11 Audi experienced gearbox issues on Thursday. “We had a problem with the gearshift,” said team boss Ernst Moser. “The vehicle doesn’t downshift properly and gets stuck in the gear.”

***Maximilian Goetz reckons Mercedes-AMG is a “bit behind” its rival SP9 manufacturers in terms of pace. “We gave everything in advance because the number of laps you can ‘zero in’ here on the Nordschleife are very limited,” said the GetSpeed driver.

***Mercedes-AMG has launched a partnership with clothing brand Palace Skateboards, which has released a special line based on the N24. The No. 6 HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo is sporting a dedicated Palace livery. 

***The new BMW M4 GT3 will run on Michelin tires for its race debut in the NLS this month, according to BMW’s head of motorsport Mike Krack. “We have also run the car on other brands, where they will be used in different championsips,” Krack told Sportscar365. It’s understood that the car has tested on tires from Pirelli, Hankook, Dunlop and Michelin.

***BMW hasn’t ruled out a 2021 race outing for the M4 GT3 in the DTM, which uses Michelins, or GTWC Europe which uses Pirellis. GTWC Europe appears to be more pressing because the company wants to measure its car under SRO’s BoP system in time for the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in February.

“We have not decided yet where we are going to run the car later in the year,” said Krack. “What is definitely sure is that we will run it in NLS 4. We have a list of possible races that we want to do, as a test, but other than NLS 4 we have not done a firm plan.”

***As has been the case in previous years, a handful of drivers are are to pull double-duty between the N24 and the FIA WTCR races: Frederic Vervisch, Jean-Karl Vernay, Thiago Monteiro, Nestor Girolami, Luca Engstler, Mikel Azcona and Tom Coronel.

“It is very difficult to drive one car here in the changeable conditions,” said Vervisch. “Then changing vehicles doesn’t make things any easier. In 2019 we did it that way and were able to win both races and of course we will try to do that again in 2021.”

***The Honda Civic TCR featuring Girolami and ex-Formula 1 driver Monteiro will start from the back of its starting group due to a penalty for not slowing down under yellow flag signals during practice.

***The Goodyear Blimp is returning to the Nürburgring 24 event after making an appearance last year to provide aerial coverage of the FIA WTCR support races. The first leg of the semi-rigid airship’s 2021 European tour will include flyovers at Friedrichshafen, Stuttgart, Mannheim, Wiesbaden, Koblenz, Bonn.

***Goodyear’s full 2021 Blimp schedule includes London/Brands Hatch on June 26-30 (BTCC), Milan/Monza on July 16-18 (FIA WEC), Ljubljana on July 21, Wroclaw on Jul. 31-Aug. 2, Copenhagen on Aug. 6-8 (PURE ETCR) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Aug. 20-22.

***Porsche specialist Manthey Racing recently announced a branding change. The organization will now be known as Manthey, although its Manthey-Racing GmbH company name remains. It has also launched a new logo and mission statement: ‘Closer to Perfection’.

***Three of the four German manufacturers held group photos at different points of the track on Thursday. Use the links to see the offerings from Porsche, BMW and Audi.

***Audi is providing the safety car and race management vehicles this weekend, and also has an RS e-tron GT on-site with a special message to the fans watching from home. Limited spectator access has been arranged for the race on Saturday and Sunday.

***18 different brands are represented in the field. Porsche’s 35-car contingent is the largest, from BMW (31), Mercedes-AMG (11) and Audi (nine). There are three Opels, including the fan-favorite ‘foxtail’ Manta with its experienced driving quartet that carries an average age of 63.5 years.

***One of the other Opels, an Astra CUP, includes Stellantis automotive group executives Carlos Tavares, Jean-Philippe Imparato and Francois Wales among the driving crew.

***Radio Show Ltd. is providing English-language commentary of all N24 sessions with John Hindhaugh, Bruce Jones, Peter Mackay, Joe Bradley and Peter Snowdon making the calls. Live streaming can be found on multiple official YouTube channels.

***Top Qualifying to determine the sharp end of the N24 grid gets underway at 6:30 p.m. CEST (12:30 p.m. EST).

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