Tuesday, 03.04.12

The battle for the best 24h race grid positions will be even more thrilling, this year. In a spectacular individual time-trial format, the 40 fastest teams will battle it out on Friday afternoon for the positions at the front end of starting group 1. During two Nordschleife laps, they will have to demonstrate that they have got not only endurance-racing skills but also are able to deliver over sprint distances. Meanwhile, the new Top-40-Qualifying does not only add to the action of the 24h race weekend as you also can qualify for this session by the practice results achieved in the three VLN rounds contested prior to the 24h race.

The additional top-qualifying positions can be secured in the two qualifying sessions for the 24h race. The best 40 of the maximum of 190 teams that will be allowed to contest the race will have to deliver in a first clash as early as Friday afternoon: in the Top Qualifying, they will have to take their cars to the very limit to try to outqualify their rivals. The prologue for this session, however, begins far earlier. In the three VLN rounds held prior to the 24h race (31st March, 14th April and blood pressure 28th April), the 10 fastest of the practice sessions - that are the qualifying sessions at the same time - qualify for Top-40-Qualifying. While the other positions for this session are awarded according to the results achieved in the two 24h race qualifying sessions (Thursday, 19:30 to 23:30hrs and Friday, 09:35 to 11:35hrs).

Two timed laps on the Nordschleife

“We have been looking for a both thrilling and fair format for quite a while,” revealed Race Director Walter Hornung, “And now we’ve found it – in cooperation with the sports department of ADAC Nordrhein and the 24h race technology commission.” In a 10-second rhythm, the teams will be sent out for a warm-up lap that will be followed by two timed Nordschleife laps that will be crucial for the grid positions.

Teams, fans and organisers will benefit

“The idea to enhance the qualifying format has been around for quite while,” explained Hornung, “And in background discussions in 2011 it became obvious that these ideas were welcomed by the teams and the media representatives, too.” After all, all those involved will benefit from the new Top-40-Qualifying: the fans will be provided even more thrilling race action, the best teams are offered an additional platform for presenting themselves – and for the organisers, the new qualifying format brings a safety gain. “To date, the qualifying sessions always were started by the top teams that queued in the pit-lane before the respective session was started,” described the Race Director.  “The new format will make for a more relaxed situation. In particular, as the teams already qualified for the Top Qualifying mustn’t contest the firs 20 minutes of the regular qualifying sessions.” Meanwhile, a raffle will be used to determine the order the teams will have to go out in for the Top Qualifying. Hornung: “The participants will have been determined following the second qualifying session – that will be followed by ADAC 24h-Classic and the first British GT race. So, we will have a lot of time for the raffle.”