High tension at the race of superlatives

The biggest race in the world will transform the Nürburgring into a motorsport festival in a class of its own from 30 to 2 June. At the ADAC RAVENOL 24h Nürburgring, the largest field of participants in international motorsport will compete on the world’s longest race track in front of the largest crowd in the German motorsport calendar. 130 cars will take part in the 52nd edition of the XXL endurance race, including more than two dozen GT3s, which are likely to decide the overall victory among themselves. Eight makes will be battling it out in this extremely strong group – in addition to the German premium manufacturers Audi, BMW, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and an SCG 004c from the Glickenhaus team will also be taking part. Not to be forgotten: the Ferrari 296 GT3 of the defending champions from Frikadelli Racing, which will line up with starting number #1 after last year’s success.

If you want to experience the race in person, you can buy your ticket directly at the Nürburgring at the open ticket offices. Advance ticket sales by post are closed, but fans can still purchase their Print@Home tickets in the online shop at www.adac-shop.de until 29 April. Anyone unable to experience the full-throttle festival, which is once again expected to attract over 200,000 visitors, can follow the racing action live and in full length on free TV partner NITRO. The 24-hour livestream, which goes online at www.24h-rennen.de/live on Thursdays, will provide even more comprehensive coverage of the event. Information for visitors and fans is available at any time on the official homepage at www.24h-rennen.de.

The Porsche teams come to the 24h Nürburgring as favourites, as they proved to be extremely well sorted at the start of the season. In both rounds of the NLS (Nürburgring Nordschleife Series), which is organised according to the same technical regulations, as well as in the two 24h Qualifiers races, a 911 was at the top of the podium. The two cars from Falken Motorsports are the class leaders, with a total of three victories to their name. The fourth was claimed by the 911 from Manthey EMA, nicknamed “Grello” due to its striking colour scheme. The most successful team in 24h history with seven overall victories has once again secured the distinctive #911 starting number for its latest-generation Porsche 911 GT3 R, which Falken and three other Porsche GT3 teams also use: Dinamic, Renauer u. Renauer and a Pro-Am 911 from Lionspeed GP will also be on the grid. With six entries, the Zuffenhausen-based team is the GT3 brand with the most participants in this year’s 24h alongside Mercedes-AMG.

Last year’s winner Frikadelli once again relies on Ferrari

Frikadelli Racing, a team with a particularly large number of fans around the Nordschleife, won last year. The team led by Klaus “Frikadelli” Abbelen was cheered accordingly, especially as the local heroes, based not far from the Ring, also achieved the first Ferrari victory in the 51-year history of the Nürburgring 24 Hours. This year, the defending champions remain loyal to the Italian brand with which they set a historic distance record in 2023. They completed 162 laps (4085.90 km) on the world’s longest race track at 25.378 km. Last year’s winner Felipe Fernandez Laser (Leipzig) will be defending his title with three new colleagues as he shares the Ferrari 296 GT3 with Daniel Keilwitz (Villingen), Luca Ludwig (Bornheim) and Nicolás Varrone (ARG).

Mercedes-AMG celebrates at the Ring: 130 years of motorsport with a star

Like Porsche, Mercedes-AMG is also represented six times on the GT3 grid. A victory would certainly suit the Stuttgart-based brand, which supports its high-calibre customer racing teams with a large contingent of drivers from the works squad: 130 years ago, vehicles with Daimler engines won the first automobile race, which was held on a track between Paris and Rouen. A GetSpeed-Mercedes-AMG GT3 with the starting number #130 is therefore one of the spearheads of the “star drivers”. A good choice, as the team was within striking distance of the eventual winners right up to the final stages last year and ultimately took third and fourth place in the race. HRT should be the second top team from Stuttgart on the programme. The team led by former DTM driver Hubert Haupt showed its potential in the first two NLS races this year when it took pole position. Schnitzelalm Racing will also be fielding another Mercedes-AMG GT3.

Small but mighty: the Audi and BMW line-ups

Audi and BMW are represented at the Nürburgring 24 Hours with three GT3s each. The spearhead of the BMW M4 GT3s is likely to be the two cars from Rowe Racing: The 2020 24h winners came close to securing a second overall victory last year as runners-up and will be burning with ambition to achieve the feat this year. The RMG team will also field a third GT3 BMW. In the Audi camp, the last 24-hour overall victory dates back to 2019: it was the sixth triumph for Phoenix Racing, who could equal Manthey (7) with another overall win. The team is relying on two of its tried-and-tested Audi R8 LMS GT3s under the Scherer PHX banner in another attempt to attack the top of the statistics. They have already secured pole position in the first round of the 24h Qualifiers – perhaps a good omen? The Audi squad is complemented by a car from the Juta-Racing team, which relies on a Pro-Am driver line-up. This also applies to the majority of Aston Martin entries. In addition to a Vantage AMR GT3 from PROsport Racing, three cars from Walkenhorst are in the race – including the only “Pro” Aston.

Much more than just splashes of colour

The supposedly exotic cars in the GT3 field are real eye-catchers: these certainly include the two Lamborghinis from Abt (Pro) and Konrad Motorsport (Pro-Am). The Abt-Lambo in particular showed strong form in the first races of the season. The team was even on course for victory in the first NLS race and lost the triumph to Manthey in an extremely close photo finish. Glickenhaus Racing also has a firm place in the hearts of many fans: the team led by US American James Glickenhaus will return from the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2024 and will field a beautiful SCG 004c from the sports car manufacturer at the Ring.

The “race within a race” promises extra excitement

However, the appeal of the 24h Nürburgring is not only due to the exciting battle for overall victory. On the contrary, the character of the endurance classic is characterised by the “multiclass racing”, in which the GT3 cars also take to the track with some much weaker rivals: 23 different classes are represented this year, guaranteeing a gigantic motorsport spectrum from the front-wheel-drive VLN production cars to the 24h Specials and GT3s. Nowhere else in international motorsport are so many classes – and so many starters – involved: over 450 drivers from 36 nations are on the provisional entry list. And there is plenty of music in the battle of the classes. The Cup2 class, for example, in which Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars from the Porsche Endurance Trophy Nürburgring (PETN) will compete, has a strong field. There are also 14 cars entered here, as in the GT4 category. The strongest class of the VLN production cars is the VT2 with rear-wheel drive with ten participants.

Starting on Thursday, it’s all about the grid positions

Three qualifying sessions are available to the majority of the field to determine grid positions: There are already two sessions on Thursday, the second of which runs into the darkness until 23:30. While Q3 on Friday afternoon will be followed by a rest period for most teams before the start of the race on Saturday (16:00), things will then get really exciting for the top teams: Top qualifying (TQ) is scheduled for late Friday afternoon. This individual time trial for pole position is divided into two sections: All teams in the SP9 (GT3) and SP-X classes that have not yet qualified for the decisive TQ2 will battle it out in TQ1 for the five places still up for grabs. Twelve places in the second top qualifying session have already been allocated based on the practice and race results of the previous NLS and qualifying races. So the second round is where it counts: This is where the fastest of the fast compete to take pole in two flying laps on the Nordschleife. This is where the later course of the race can be decided, because those who are further back in the field will find it extremely difficult to get to the front later on. The 24h Nürburgring is probably the only endurance race in the world where the field is not neutralised by a safety car. Only short “Code 60” zones neutralise individual sections of the track in the event of an accident. As a result, there are no moments here in which accumulated deficits are neutralised – so teams have to catch up on their own once they have fallen behind.

Rahmenprogramm verspricht Motorsport bis zum Abwinken

Zusatzspannung und viele, viele schöne und spektakuläre Rennfahrzeuge verspricht auch das Rahmenprogramm der ADAC RAVENOL 24h Nürburgring. Schon am Donnerstagmorgen gibt es ab 8:30 Uhr auf der Nordschleife viel zu sehen, denn dann fährt die RCN (Rundstrecken-Challenge Nürburgring) eine Leistungsprüfung, bei der traditionell ein extrem großes und äußerst vielfältiges Starterfeld auf der Strecke zu bewundern ist. Schon an diesem ersten Veranstaltungstag gibt es auch weitere sportliche Entscheidungen. Denn die Cup- und Tourenwagen-Trophy sowie die Tourenwagen-Legenden fahren an diesem Tag ihre ersten Rennläufe, die allesamt auf der Grand-Prix-Strecke ausgetragen werden. Weitere Rennen der beiden Serien gibt es am Freitag. Die Tourenwagen-Legenden mit ihrem Schwerpunkt auf ehemaligen DTM-Boliden legen samstagsmittags unmittelbar vor der Startaufstellung der 24h sogar noch einmal mit einem dritten Lauf nach. Ein besonderer Höhepunkt des Wochenendes ist außerdem die ADAC 24h-Classic. Ein gigantisches Starterfeld mit 210 historischen Rennwagen aus der Youngtimer-Trophy und der Historic Championship 81 (HC ’81) tritt hier an. Sie verkürzt am Samstagvormittag mit ihrem dreistündigen Rennen die Wartezeit auf den 24h-Start höchst unterhaltsam.

Supporting programme promises motorsport until you drop

The supporting programme of the ADAC RAVENOL 24h Nürburgring also promises additional excitement and many, many beautiful and spectacular racing cars. There will be plenty to see on the Nordschleife from 8.30 am on Thursday morning, when the RCN (Rundstrecken-Challenge Nürburgring) will run a performance test, which traditionally sees an extremely large and extremely diverse field of starters on the track. There will also be other sporting decisions on this first day of the event. The Cup and Touring Car Trophy as well as the Touring Car Legends will hold their first races on this day, all of which will be held on the Grand Prix circuit. There will be further races in both series on Friday. The touring car legends, with their focus on former DTM cars, will even add a third race on Saturday afternoon immediately before the starting grid for the 24h. Another special highlight of the weekend is the ADAC 24h-Classic. A gigantic field of 210 historic racing cars from the Youngtimer Trophy and the Historic Championship 81 (HC ’81) will compete here. With its three-hour race on Saturday morning, it shortens the waiting time for the 24-hour start in a highly entertaining way.