After their successful debut in the VLN endurance championship Nürburgring last year, the private team Oepen Motorsport will carry on its engagement in this popular grassroots series in 2017. The target of the crew around the two drivers and team principles Ingo Oepen and Sven Hoffmann for the new season is very clear: They want to further develop and enhance the complete package.
“In 2016, we have competed in two races of the endurance championship”, says Sven Hoffmann. “Now, we wish to build on our first experience gained.” The grassroots character on which the activities of Oepen Motorsport are based becomes very apparent in the development of their programme. They started with regularity tests (GLP), the entry-level series at the Nordschleife with road legal cars, and continued in performance tests (RCN) in which true race cars are used until they finally arrived at the VLN. And this is exactly the route which they now wish to provide for other drivers. “We have not only learned a lot due to our participations in the GLP and the RCN, we were also able to establish many new contacts”, says Oepen. “In the RCN 2017, we will enter a VW Golf GTI and a BMW 325CI. The cars will be driven by a number of promising drivers, amongst them a lady driver, who are coming from the GLP. They all have collected experience in the GLP over years and wish to take their next step now to compete in true racing competitions.”
Oepen Motorsport will use another BMW 325CI for their own participations in the endurance championship. Just like the other cars of the team, the BMW underwent an upgrade during winter and was carefully prepared for the adventure “Green Hell”. “One point in the VLN-BMW which will be given priority during the year will be the suspension”, Hoffmann says. “So far, we haven’t tried many options yet in the RCN-E46 because it was driven by many different drivers, including newcomers, so driveability was and is most important. On the other hand, there is definitely a great potential in this issue to get the VLN-BMW more performant and to achieve consistently faster lap times.”
Another step on their way to increase professionalism within the team – the Oepen crew considers themselves as a small and above all new team in the VLN but is most ambitious to achieve the highest possible level of perfection within their possibilities – is the exact analysis of their last year’s VLN participations. “With the aid of onboard videos and data acquisition, we had a very close look into several issues”, Oepen informs. “Hereby, we discovered that there are huge differences when you are lapped by faster cars. We will be able to save a lot of time in the future in these manoeuvres and thus increase our own performance.”
At least three VLN races are currently on the 2017 calendar of Oepen Motorsport. And the Oepen duo will again be able to count on the active support of many friends and family members. “We would not be able to compete in races without our team, so our thanks go to them”, says Hoffmann. “All our boys and girls pursue a ‘regular’ job in daily life. And on the weekends, we spend our free time together at the Ring and I am already really looking forward to the new season.”