Now it’s official: Exactly 136 cars are on the entry list for the 51st edition of the ADAC TotalEnergies 24h Nürburgring. The endurance classic on the legendary Nordschleife is thus just as imposing as last year, when 135 race cars threw themselves into the battle twice around the clock at the anniversary event. As expected, the strongest vehicle class is that of the potential overall winners: over 30 GT3 vehicles are to be found in the SP9 Pro and Pro-AM classes. With Audi, Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche, there are no less than seven brands here – and many of them are competing with factory teams or factory-supported entries. But the rest of the starting field is also sure to please the fans: Well-staffed classes, such as the GT4 race car category (16 vehicles from four manufacturers) promise the best motorsport entertainment, as does the huge range of vehicles. It ranges from the small Dacia Logan to the legendary Opel Manta to the latest generation of high-tech GTs. The provisional entry list is now online:
As last year’s winner, an Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II of Audi Sport Team Scherer PHX has car number #1 on the hood this time. The former Phoenix team has merged with Scherer as a strong partner since its triumph at the 50th anniversary, and Belgian Frederic Vervisch is the only one of last year’s winning drivers to remain in the cockpit. He tackles the title defense project with Mattia Drudi (ITA), Ricardo Feller (SUI) and Dennis Lind (DEN). Also represented in the Audi camp are the Car Collection and Land Motorsport teams. Completely retained are the driver trios of GetSpeed, who finished second and third in last year’s 24h: Adam Christodoulou (GBR) teams up in the cockpit of the #2 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Maximilian Götz from Uffenheim and Fabian Schiller from Troisdorf. The sister car with the #3 is driven by Maro Engel (MON), Jules Gounon (AND) and Daniel Juncadella (ESP). The latter also recently showed top form at the 24h Qualifiers at the end of April, when he teamed up with Christodoulou to take a win and second place in the two races. With a total of nine GT3 cars, the Mercedes-AMG faction is the strongest participating brand in the top class this year, with HRT and Schnitzelalm also relying on it alongside GetSpeed. The spearheads in the BMW camp are the factory’s own Junior Team, whose BMW M4 GT3 carries the #72, Walkenhorst Racing (with the starting numbers #100 / #101 / #102) and Rowe Racing with the traditional starting numbers #98 and #99. Here, Dries Vanthoor (in the #98) is also turning the wheel of one of last year’s winners, who thus made a brand change from the Audi camp. He was followed by last year’s team-mate Kelvin van der Linde, who drives a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo 2 for Abt Sportsline (#27). The second Lambo in the field (#7) is fielded by Konrad Motorsport, a team that has gathered plenty of successful experience with the Italian brand.
New sports car developments sound the hunt
With the Huracan GT3, a completely new development enters the motorsport stage this year, but it is not the only innovation at the 24h. Ferrari is bringing three cars from the newly developed Ferrari 296 GT3. Frikadelli Racing (#30), a team that is at home on the Nordschleife, is the spearhead here. With victory in the second 24h Qualifiers race in April, Klaus Abbelen’s team not only clinched the 296’s first race win worldwide. It also knocked audibly on the door of the supposed top dogs to announce its ambitions. But the newly developed GT3 also includes the Porsche 911 GT3 R, which is now based on the 992 model series. The car from Zuffenhausen, always on the shortlist as a candidate for top positions at the 24h anyway, proved to be well sorted out in preparation. At the 24h Qualifiers, Manthey Racing’s 911 (#911) jumped to second place in the first of the two races, while their brand colleagues from Falken Motorsports (#44) followed suit with a podium finish in the second heat. All in all, the new “911” is represented six times in the field – and the teams are all professionally set-up teams with plenty of experience: good prerequisites for top placings. The Aston Martin models are an unknown quantity in the GT3 field: the experienced Dörr team (#69) and the Pro-AM team Prosport-Racing (#28) rely on the Vantage AMR GT3. Here, the big hit has not yet been achieved, but like all the other teams, these teams will be perfectly prepared for the 24h.
Class and model diversity provides plenty of spice
Traditionally, the 24h Race at the Nürburgring has much more to offer in addition to the battle for overall victory. The champagne and seltzer decisions in the numerous classes are also a source of enthusiasm every year. The group of GT4 cars, for example, which are grouped in the SP10 class, deserves special attention. Here, 16 participants promise an interesting event, especially since four different makes are represented with Aston Martin, BMW, Mercedes-AMG and Toyota, all of which are entered by well-known and competent teams. The Cup Porsche classes from the Porsche Endurance Trophy Nürburgring are also very popular with many fans because they are extremely exciting. Although they do not race for championship points at the 24h, they still offer the drivers a very attractive platform to fight in the front third of the classification. Ten entries in the Cup2 class for the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (992) and eleven starters in the Cup3 class for the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport (982) therefore enrich the field. In total, vehicles from 19 classes are on the grid. Once again, the range extends from production-based racing touring cars to thoroughbred racing GTs.