With March rapidly approaching, many teams have announced their cars and drivers in the past few weeks for the upcoming VLN Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS) season. Meanwhile, the Nürburgring has been working to bring the nearly 100-year-old Nordschleife into the digital age.
➤ After 14 years racing with Falken Motorsports, Peter Dumbreck steps away from racing with Falken as he moves into an ambassador role for the tyre manufacturer. Dumbreck named the 2015 Nürburgring 24 Hours as his best moment with the team, when he scored a third place aboard the Porsche 997 GT3R. The 47-year-old Scot began his journey with Falken in the Nissan 350Z before the team switched to the Porsche 997 GT3R in 2011 and was part of the crew that raced the BMW M6 GT3 and both iterations of the Porsche 991 GT3R. Dumbreck started his Nürburgring career in 2003 with Phoenix Racing when the German team entered its DTM Opel Astra V8 Coupés at the Nordschleife. Although stepping back from racing with Falken, Dumbreck is not retiring from racing altogether.
➤ Replacing the successful Scot are Lance David Arnold and Alessio Picariello. Both men are newcomers to Falken Motorsports with their own achievements with Porsche. They join Falken regulars Klaus Bachler, Martin Ragginger, Sven Müller, Dirk Werner and Thomas Preining for the team’s 2021 Nordschleife campaign. Click HERE for the full story.
➤ With a short social media video clip, Schubert Motorsport announced its comeback to the Nürburgring 24 Hours with the BMW M6 GT3. Back in 2016 the German squad was the first to win a race with the then-new car, taking the VLN3 victory leading a full BMW M6 GT3 podium. Schubert also ran the BMW Z4 GT3 works program in the Nürburgring 24 Hours during the early 2010s and has raced cars from the Bayerische Motoren Werke since its inception in 1999.
➤ Manthey Racing announced it would again race the fan-favourite ‘Grello’ Porsche 991.2 GT3R in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, to be driven by Lars Kern, Matteo Cairoli, Michael Christensen and Kévin Estre. The team plans to enter all races leading up to the 24-hour race as well. Click HERE for the full story.
➤ Amongst its five programs, W&S Motorsport will also compete again at the Nordschleife with a fleet of Caymans. Two of these are Cayman GT4s entered in the Cayman Trophy class, while the other two are production-based cars to be raced in the V5 class. Jürgen Vöhringer, Walter Schweikart and Niklas Steinhaus are set to race the #959 Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 CS in the Am class, while Daniel Blickle will pilot the other Cayman GT4 with his teammates announced at a later time. René Höber and Kevin Rembert are set to drive one of the V5-entered Caymans with the other car reserved for drivers looking to obtain their Nordschleife Permit A. Click HERE for the full story.
➤ Axcil Jefferies stays on at Konrad Motorsport as the team embarks on its sixth season with the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 and third with the Evo model. The Zimbabwean has raced with the Franz Konrad-headed team since 2019.
➤ He will also be part of Frikadelli Racing Team‘s first foray into the Michelin Le Mans Cup. The team of Klaus Abbelen and Sabine Schmitz recently acquired a new Ligier JS P320 to be raced by Jefferies and Abbelen.
➤ Mcchip-dkr announced its brand new KTM X-Bow GTX will be driven by team-owner Danny “Dieter Schmidtmann” Kubasik, long-time mcchip-dkr driver Heiko Hammel and 2020 DTM Trophy champion and sim racing graduate Tim Heinemann. Click HERE for the full story.
➤ LifeCarRacing has upgraded to the BMW M2 CS to continue in the BMW Cup which from 2021 on has replaced the BMW M240i Racing Cup with the BMW M2 CS as its spec machinery. The racing carpenter Thomas Leyherr is back behind the wheel of the new BMW with a yet-to-be-determined co-driver. Interesting detail: having announced his retirement last year, Johannes Scheid has taken on the task of preparing the LifeCarRacing BMW.
➤ The endless kilometres of cable laid around the Nordschleife each Nürburgring 24 Hours will soon be history as the Nürburgring has started work on completely digitalising the Nordschleife. This means burying data and power cables along the track to provide for television cameras, sensors, LED screens, timing and information, and other systems. When the work is completed, both the Grand Prix circuit and Nordschleife will be digitally connected to Race Control. The upgrade also includes the use of intelligent software to automatically detect dangers on the 25-kilometre long race track. So far, the work on the Döttinger Höhe straight and the Tiergarten-Hohenrain section has been completed, with work having started this week on the Hatzenbach section. The first tests of the system will be conducted this season at the Döttinger Höhe section to advice the further digitalisation of the track.
➤ Discontent is brewing amongst ‘smaller’ teams about the entry fee for 2021 which in some classes has risen to an increase of over 30 percent. Reason for the price hike is a restructuring of the entry fee across the board which has taken away the subsidy the smaller teams used to enjoy and brought it more in line with the teams in the faster classes (who have seen a five to six percent increase). Another reason is the inclusion of a camera helicopter for all of the 2021 season (to which the smaller teams pay a smaller amount) as well as extra costs VLN makes due to the COVID-19 hygiene concept. Most outspoken about the situation has been Opel Manta owner and racer Olaf Beckmann, who told Motorsport-Total.com he is reconsidering his participation in the series — which he explicitly states is not meant as a threat.
➤ From this season on, TCR cars that have not yet raced in the NLS, will only be allowed to start in the TCR class. A special endurance Balance of Performance is under development in cooperation with the TCR International Organization WSC, the ADAC München as the rights holder for the TCR in Germany and the ADAC Nordrhein-Westfalenadac .
➤ VLN has taken over the organisation of the Friday afternoon test session, bringing track action on Friday morning and afternoon as well as race day under one umbrella. For NLS1 through 3 and race 7, the VLN variant of the track is used for Friday morning’s test session, while at the other races the Nürburgring Sprint lay-out is used. Friday afternoon sessions are run on the VLN lay-out and will be extended to three hours this year.
➤ The 2021 season gets underway on 20 March with the pre-season test before the season-opening race on 27 March. FULL SCHEDULE.
➤ Keep track of the 2021 VLN Nürburgring Endurance Series entry list on our dedicated page listing all announced GT3 entries.
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