Under the looming threat of the COVID-19 outbreak, the VLN Nürburgring Endurance Series went ahead with its pre-season test. The Probe- und Einstelltag was in question until Friday, when the Rheinland-Pfalz state authorities announced a halt on events starting on Monday, allowing VLN to host the event without fans in the paddock and grandstands. Instead of a bulking number of entries for the test day, only 66 cars across 37 teams showed up on Saturday.
With Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, Zakspeed and all Porsche teams opting to stay away from the Nürburgring in the days prior, few GT3s found its way to the Nordschleife.
One team that did show up was Phoenix Racing from nearby Meuspath. The Ernst Moser-led team used the day to give Phoenix Junior drivers Vincent Kolb, Kim-Luis Schramm and Michele Beretta a go in its Audi R8 LMS GT3 in preparation of their VLN and ADAC GT Masters campaigns.
Two Ferrari 488 GT3s saw action, one each at the hands of Octane126 and Racing one. Both teams have plenty of experience running Ferraris, but for Racing one it was their first time at the Nordschleife with a GT3, having previously raced a GT3-based Ferrari 458 in the SP8 class. The Hella Pagid-sponsored car is a brand-new 2020-spec Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo from Italy. To get up to speed quickly, Ferrari development driver Marco Cioci – who last raced at the Nordschleife in 2005 – has been hired to help setup the car and acquaint drivers Christian Kohlhaas, Nikolaj Rogivue and Mike Jäger with the new car.
Along with Racing one, Huber Motorsport is also progressing into GT3 racing. The longtime Porsche 911 GT3 Cup runners and current SP7 class champions will enter a Porsche 991.2 GT3R this year raced by team regulars Lorenzo Rocco di Torrepadula and Patrick Kolb and Nordschleife and Porsche specialist Marco Holzer, as well as make a return to SP7 with a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for Philipp Neuffer and Johannes Stengel.
Adrenalin Motorsport is bringing the 2019 championship-winning duo of David Griessner and Yannick Fübrich back together and adds BMW M240i Racing Cup bronze medalist Florian Naumann into the mix. Together, the trio steps up into the SP10 class for GT4 machinery to pilot the #1 Adrenalin Motorsport Team CFN BMW M4 GT4 – Adrenalin’s first foray into the realm of high-level GT racing.
With the COVID-19 situation in Europe quickly spiraling out of control, motorsports will take a backseat for at least the foreseeable future. For VLN this means cancelling the season opener that was scheduled for 21 March as well as the second race on 4 April. In these times of crisis, the VLN pre-season test might have been the last racing in a long while.
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