It’s that time of year again and the GT REPORT team is gearing up for another edition of the ADAC Zurich 24 Hours of Nürburgring. As it seems like 2018 is going bigger and better than ever before, we’ll be making our annual pilgrimage to the Eifel region from where as always we’ll be capturing the spectacular event through our lenses so that you can feast your eyes on the glory that is the ‘N24’.
With only hours until track action kicks off, the enchanted forests that surround the 25 kilometre race track almost have this eerie feeling about them, it’s like they’re just waiting for 150 of the world’s most exotic and unique race cars to be unleashed on the historic tarmac and break the un-worldly silence.
The 46th running of the German endurance classic features something we’re pretty well used to for racing on the Nordschleife, a mammoth 150 car entry. This year once again sees heavy influence of factory or works-supported GT3 cars from Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche, as well as numerous privateer efforts, including privately entered Lamborghini Huracan GT3 and Ferrari 488 GT3s.
Last year’s kings of the Nürburgring return for their second bite of the cherry, with Audi Sport Team Land fielding an entry for Christopher Mies, René Rast and the South African brothers who are taking the GT world by storm, Kelvin and Sheldon van der Linde.
Connor De Phillippi, who stormed to victory last year with Audi, has found himself a new home at BMW. After two successful seasons racing the Audi R8 LMS GT3 to wins in the ADAC GT and VLN championships, the American was contracted with the Bayern manufacturer to race in the USA. A Nordschleife campaign initially was not in De Phillippi’s planning, but the heart wants what it wants and soon enough he was back for VLN with a win in the second race to seal the deal.
Three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner André Lotterer, meanwhile, is set for his N24 debut in a Porsche 911 GT3R entered by KÜS Team 75 Bernhard, which is one of five GT3-spec Porsches entered.
Seven Audi R8 LMS GT3 cars are due to take part, alongside a single GT4-spec Audi entered by Phoenix Racing. In addition to the five BMW M6 GT3s and seven Mercedes-AMG GT3s, the Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 is expected to make its final N24 race appearance, with an all-factory crewed lineup.
It means we have a total of 29 cars listed in the SP9-GT3 class. While the talent in the field is expansive, it goes without saying, there are certainly some favourites, but at the end of the day, there can only be one winner.
Take a look at the full entry list for this year’s quest to conquer The ‘Ring.
In the mean time, with the GT REPORT crew already on scene, enjoy our Adenauer Racing Day gallery ahead of the weekend’s action.
Photos by JP Wagner.