The VLN endurance racing championship will be going into its second round. A glance at the top teams and deeper into the impressive list of participants promises races with a lot of action and excitement. The entry list of the 41st DMV 4 Hour Race, the second round of the VLN endurance racing championship 2016, shows more than 190 cars, more than 20 above the figures of the season opener four weeks ago. The winners of the first championship race, Frank Stippler and Anders Fjordbach in the Phoenix-Audi R8 LMS, will face a strong competition again and have to fight hard if they wish to repeat their success. There will be about 25 GT3 teams at the start in their class SP9 to take up the fight for the overall victory.
When the starting signal will be given after the timed practice (08:30 to 10:00hrs) at 12 o’clock exactly, tough battles about positions and points will nevertheless also go on by a huge number of drivers in the smaller classes. Above all in the BMW M235i Racing Cup which, with more than 20 participants, should be the second strongest class on Saturday and has already provided top-class racing action at the opening round.
A glance into the classes
In addition to class V5, it will again be the Cup classes that will be constituting the major part of the field. The class with the vehicles made in Munich demonstrated already at the previous race how close the fights are and all of the top teams will definitely be aiming at a class win again. This class win could become even more important this season should a series winner emerge and thus be able to play an important role also in the fight for the VLN championship title.
A target to which the driver duo Alexander Mies and Michael Schrey of Bonk Motorsport seemed to have been closest after the first round. It will, however, by anything than easy to repeat the victory at the season opener. With seven V4 class wins, single driver Stefan van Campenhoudt (Team Schirmer) demonstrated last season already that he is a league of his own; in the first race of this year, the Belgian missed the Cup 5 victory by only a little more than ten seconds. Another top favourite in this class is the Team Scheid-Honert Motorsport with drivers Thomas Jäger and Rudi Adams; the class win for the youngster Jäger and the experienced Adams was only spoiled by a time penalty.
As it was to be expected, the numbers of starters in the Cayman GT4 Trophy by Manthey-Racing are now increasing. Whilst the entry list at the first round of the new Cup in the beginning of April showed ten cars, it looks as if there will already be 13 now at their second race. So the two winners of the opening round Marc Hennerici and Moritz Oberheim (Raceunion Teichmann Racing) will have a stronger competition now and they will have to dominate amongst others their strongest rivals, Kai Riemer and Arndt Meier of Arkenau Motorsport.
Big crowd also again in class V5: 15 teams will be fighting for the victory. Above all Dominik Thiemann, Hajo Müller and Jens Riemer who wish to repeat their success scored in the BMW E36 at the season opener. In addition to all of their well-known rivals such as Christian Büllesbach, Andreas Schettler and Daniel Zils (Pixum Team Adrenalin Motorsport), the driver trio will this time have to compete against a famous professional driver in class V5: DTM driver Edoardo Mortara will start together with Robin Frijns and Thomas Bolz in the Porsche Cayman of the Team Prosport-Performance.
A glance onto the top teams
Quantity and quality also in the high-performance classes SP9 and SPX in which all together there will be more than 30 cars on the grid. Phoenix Racing for example intends to fight again for a top position in the overall classification. But looking only at the teams driving the same make, they will, however, have a very strong competition. The Belgian Team WRT will amongst others rely upon René Rast, Pierre Kaffer and Nico Müller, last year’s winner of the 24h Race. And not to forget of course the Busch twins Dennis and Marc who will drive the new Audi R8 LMS together with Christian Mamerow.
Just as the team with the Busch twins, Frikadelli Racing is also one of the regular starters in the VLN. Klaus Abbelen, Sabine Schmitz, Patrick Huismann and Norbert Siedler intend to finally demonstrate the full potential of their new Porsche 911 GT3 R at the 24.358 kilometres long combination of the Nordschleife and the short GP version. The same target is pursued by Georg Weiss, Oliver Kainz, Jochen Krumbach and Mike Stursberg, who rather wish to forget the opening round in which the Porsche 911 GT3 R of the Wochenspiegel Team Manthey had to retire at an early stage after an accident. Manthey Racing, too, had encountered some problems at the first race: tyre damages on both works nine eleven spoiled top positions. The racing team from Meuspath near the Nürburgring has entered three new GT3 Porsche for the second round. The driver trio Peter Dumbreck, Wolf Henzler und Alexandre Imperatori in the Porsche 911 GT3 R entered by Falken Motorsports aims at a far better final position than their 18th place achieved in the first race.
In the fight for the overall victory, the Audi and Porsche teams will be faced by an armada of Mercedes-AMG GT3. First of all, the cars of Black Falcon and of the Team Haribo Racing. In the first VLN race this year, the Black-Falcon quartet with Bernd Schneider, Maro Engel, Adam Christodoulou and Manuel Metzger had a thrilling duel with the Haribo quartet of Uwe Alzen, Lance David Arnold, Maximilian Götz and Jan Seyffarth up to the very last lap and they finally secured a third position.
The BMW teams, too, wish to clearly improve their performances at the Nordschleife. Rowe Racing has entered Klaus Graf and Maxime Martin as well as Alexander Sims and Philipp Eng in a new BMW M6 GT3 respectively. Walkenhorst Motorsports will amongst others place their hopes on the crew of Matias Henkola and Michele di Martino who, with their seventh place, had achieved the best result for BMW at the season opener.
Whilst Jürgen Alzen and Philipp Wlazik want to attract attention in their Ford GT, just as the two most exotic vehicles of the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, Aston Martin will collect their first VLN kilometres of the year at this second race of the season. Matthias Lauda and Richie Stanaway as well as Darren Turner and Nicki Thiim will make their debut at the Nordschleife in the new Aston Martin Vantage GT3.