Often heralded as one of the most hectic motorsports weekends of the the year, the last weekend of May is packed. Starring the Indy 500, Monaco GP and the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, this year is no different.
Kicking it all off is the 45th running of the 24 Hours of Nürburgring. Starting this Saturday morning, featuring everything from factory-backed efforts to more curious entries, its already shaping up well.
34 of the 161 total entries come under the SP9 class, consisting of GT3 cars. A hot rivalry boils within this class as the high-ranking GT3 factories go head to head. Featuring manufacturers such as Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini and Ferrari, there’s a lot at stake.
Mercedes enters the race as the crowd favorite, after a complete podium lock-out last year. Reliability is the name of the game here, as Mercedes looks to keep last year’s form.
Meanwhile, BMW is looking for domination via numbers, with ten cars entered within SP9. After brief stints in the lead last year before having to drop back, the Bavarian company is looking to repeat its Spa 24 Hour success at the Green Hell.
After winning the qualification race for the event, hopes are very high for Audi. Following a massive shake up of its motorsports program, the GT3 arm is sending a six car squad. Though, after numerous reliability problems, concerns have been raised as to whether teams will reach the distance.
Also hoping to maintain a winning streak is Porsche, with a double win in VLN 1 and 2, and a second in the qualification race. Bentley are also looking very strong. With second and fourth place finishes within VLN 1 and 2, the big Continentals are shaping up as key players in the final outcome.
Ferrari, another established manufacturer within the endurance world, is also back. While the Italian outfit is yet to win a race, stranger things have happened in the depths of these mountains.
Joining Ferrari with a one-car GT3 entry is Lamborghini. There is a lot to prove for the Huracan GT3, with no major endurance races so far, and numerous reliability issues. Nevertheless, its speed should see it holding its own at the Green Hell.
Battling amongst the herd of GT3 cars are the rather extreme SPX-class Glickenhaus SCG 003Cs and Renault R.S.01; cars definitely to look out for as the race progresses. With designs unlike the rest of the field, they are a good indication as to what we might see in the future.
Excited? Good! Along with a host of on-board cameras, the official Nürburgring website provides the official live stream and live timing for the event, which should be more than enough to keep tabs on what unfolds. As always, the forums are the place to be to discuss with other users.
Best of luck to the competitors!
2016 N24 photography courtesy Kevin Mc Glone of Red Square Images.