Three days of testing brought the VLN Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS) out of its winter sleep. Friday, Saturday and Sunday saw a small field of GT3s, a big contingent of new Porsche 992 GT3 Cups, and the usual variety of race cars take to the Nordschleife to prepare for the upcoming 2022 season.
➤ Enjoy JP Wagner’s photos of the NLS test in our gallery.
➤ Tobias Müller has returned to Black Falcon Team Identica to race the Porsche 992 GT3 Cup in the new Porsche Endurance Trophy – a two-class championship for the Cup 2 class for Porsche 992 GT3 Cup machinery and Cup 3 for Porsche Cayman 718 and 981 GT4 Clubsport. The young German, who made his GT3 debut in 2021, will share the Porsche with Paul Harkema.
➤ Two more Porsche 992 GT3 Cups are entered by Black Falcon: one for Peter Ludwig, Noah Nagelsdiek and Maik Rosenberg, and another one for Mustafa Mehmet Kaya, Gabriele Piana and Mike Stursberg. Later in the season the Team Textar Porsche Cayman GT4 RS driven by Marco Müller, Carsten Palluth, Tobias Wahl and Martin Meenen will make its entrance.
➤ Vincent Kolb is back with Phoenix Racing for his fifth season aboard the #5 Audi R8 LMS GT3 – updated to Evo II spec and still unpainted. Having made great progress alongside mentor Frank Stippler, he scored his first victory at the 2021 season finale.
➤ KKrämer Racing enters no less than four for the new Porsche 992 GT3 Cups in the Porsche Endurance Trophy. Signed up for the first three NLS races and the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring in the team’s sole GT3 Cup is experienced Porsche Cup racer Moritz Kranz. The up-and-coming driver spent the last few years with Mühlner Motorsport racing in Europe and North America before getting his chance in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of GetSpeed Performance in last year’s NLS championship. He will race alongside Christopher Brück and Alexej Veremenko.
➤ Another 992 GT3 Cup entrant in the growing Porsche Endurance Trophy is Frikadelli Racing. The squad from Barweiler used the pre-season test to roll-out its #111 Porsche painting in its familiar red and white livery. Klaus Abbelen’s team won’t be entering the #30 Porsche 991.2 GT3R this year, having sold the fan-favourite ‘R’.
➤ Family-owned Équipe Vitesse sees the return of its ‘Stammfahrern’ Arno Klaasen and Michael Heimrich while being joined by Audi factory driver Pierre Kaffer and his long-time co-pilot Elia Erhart. The team’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 has also been upgraded to Evo II spec to be fully ready for its 24 Hours of the Nürburgring campaign in SP9/GT3 Pro-Am starting with NLS2.
➤ One of few GT3 teams to have announced a full-season Nürburgring GT3 programme, ProSport Racing has announced the addition of an Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 to its line-up of Porsche Cayman (V5 class) and two Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4s. ProSport regular Nico Verdonck is set to race the big GT3 with compatriots Maxime Dumarey and Jean Glorieux while the GT4s will have Alexander Walker, Guido Dumarey and Yevgen Sokolovskiy, and Guillaume Dumarey and Simon Balcaen at the wheel. The former intent to gain experience in the GT4 this year and then step up to drive the team’s second Vantage GT3 in 2023.
➤ Racing Engineers also upgraded to the new Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II. The small Bernd Henzel-led team takes on the 2022 season with newcomer Nick Wüstenhagen at the wheel – expected to be joined by Bernd Henzel and Pavel Lefterov. Wüstenhagen is promoted from the Porsche Cayman Trophy, having tested the Audi R8 LMS GT3 with RaceIng in the summer of 2021.
➤ Not missing out on another season in the Eifel, Schnabl Engineering-run Falken Motorsports returns with two Porsches. Both #33 and #44 Porsche 991.2 GT3Rs are back, with Martin Ragginger, Patrick Pilet, Marco Seefried, Klaus Bachler, Sven Müller, Jaxon Evans, Lars Kern and Alessio Picariello set to complete the goal set by Falken: win.
➤ Having tested the waters in 2021, Dinamic Motorsport is ready for a proper 24 Hours of the Nürburgring programme. In partnership with tyre manufacturer Pirelli, the Italians take on the endurance classic in May, preparing by entering the two NLS races in April ahead of the big one with a two-car assault. Matteo Cairoli, Adrien De Leener, Christian Engelhart, Thomas Preining and Côme Ledogar have so far been confirmed, with more drivers to be announced later completing the line-ups.
➤ FK Performance has put together a strong line-up for its #144 Porsche 992 GT3 Cup: with two-time ADAC GT Masters champ Sebastian Asch, last year’s BMW M2 CS Cup champion Nico Otto and double Nürburgring 24 Hours Cayman GT4 Trophy class winner Ben Bünnnagel, the Porsche GT3 Cup debuting team has all ingredients to be a top contender.
➤ New livery and new line-up for the #1 champion’s car of Adrenalin Motorsport: reigning champ Philipp Leisen shares the BMW 325i in the competitive V4 class with Oliver Frisse and Jacob Erlbacher for his third VLN title defense.
➤ Leisen’s former co-champions Christopher Rink and Danny Brink, meanwhile, have other plans: Rink changed to Smyrlis Racing – entering a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 for Christopher Rink, Philipp Stahlschmidt and Francesco Thor Nelson Merlini – with whom he also competes in the DMV BMW 318ti Cup for the team’s first Nürburgring season, while Brink’s plans for 2022 are as of yet unknown.
➤ 2019 champions David Griessner and Yannick Fübrich are having another go at the BMW M2 CS Racing with Adrenalin Motorsport. Their earlier announced third driver, Ivan Berets, however, will have be replaced as the Russian is not allowed to participate in German professional sporting events due to the Russian attack on Ukraine.
➤ KCMG enters a two-car line-up for 2022. The #18 Porsche 991.2 GT3R will be driven by Dennis Olsen, Alexandre Imperatori and John Burdon with the full line-up to be announced later. This year marks the fourth season of KCMG at the Nürburgring, which will start with the opening three rounds as well as the Qualifying Race before the 24-hour race in May.
➤ The 2022 VLN Nürburgring Endurance Series starts Saturday 26 March and can be watched live on GT.REPORT/live.
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