Seven exciting races lie behind the VLN participants and, slowly but certainly, this biggest grassroots motorsport series of the world is heading up to its final stage. With the 49th ADAC Barbarossapreis, the calendar shows the eighth round of the year to take place on 7th October. Once again, about 160 cars will try to tackle the “Green Hell” successfully over the four hours race distance.
The strong grid will this time include only a lower number of top cars. The many classes representing the mid-field, though, will figure impressive numbers of cars and participants. Whilst, on one hand, the decision in the championship will be in the focus, the provisional starting list gives, on the other hand, already now an indication on what can be expected in the future. Updated vehicles and new race cars will ensure that the season 2018 at the most beautiful and demanding race track of the world will under no circumstances be boring.
After four victories, Manthey-Racing will change classes. For the remaining two races, the Porsche 911 GT3 R with start number 911 will compete in class SPX. This appears to be a clear signal that the car, in its new specification, does no longer comply with the GT3 regulations and that new components are currently tested with a view ahead. The drivers for this test will be Kévin Estre and Matteo Cairoli. The two test cars of BMW and Nissan, too, will start without being currently eligible in GT3. Philipp Eng will compete for the BMW Team Schnitzer in the M6 GT3, Tom Coronel and Michael Krumm will chase around the Nordschleife in the Nissan GT-R Nismo.
Classified in class SPX are currently still the two Audi R8 LMS GT4. Entered by Car Collection Motorsport, the steering wheel will be changed between Rahel Frey, Christopher Haase, Christian Abt, Christopher Zöchling and Team Owner Peter Schmidt. The timing could hardly be any better as the official sale of the new GT4 race car from the Ingolstadt factory will start in the week before the race.
Even though the average number of participants in the GT3 class SP9 has been quite low during the year, the quality has been very high. Audi R8 LMS, BMW M6 GT3, Ferrari 488 GT3, Mercedes-AMG GT3 and Porsche 911 GT3 R race cars make the hearts of the fans beat faster. A special personality: After having completed the season with the Renault R.S.01 as scheduled at the last race, “Dieter Schmidtmann“ is now looking into the future. Together with Frank Stippler, he will start in an Audi R8 LMS of Phoenix-Racing.
The Team Montaplast by Land Motorsport is going to support youngsters. The experienced Markus Winkelhock will take care of and compete in a team with Dries Vanthoor. At the seventh VLN race, the younger brother of Laurens Vanthoor will participate in his first GT3 race at the Nordschleife.
After a five years break in the VLN, the skateboard legend Titus Dittmann will return to the endurance championship. He was, however, not completely absent at the Nürburgring meanwhile. Now as before, the spectacular Chrysler Viper is still attracting a lot of attention at the Nürburgring 24 Hours – also for Dittmanns non-profit charity project “skate-aid” which is engaged in providing worldwide support for children and young people. “I feel I need to remain in the flow of racing”, says Dittmann. “The 24 Hours are finally getting tougher and tougher as well as faster and faster. So some practice in between should be helpful.” For his VLN comeback, he will start in a team with the Team Principle of the Viper project, Bernd Albrecht, in a Volkswagen Golf GTI in entered in class SP4T.
Stefan Wölflick, too, will be back for the eighth VLN race. The 51 years old local hero from Quiddelbach near th Nürburgring had been at the start in the endurance championship with a Ford Focus in 2012 for the last time. Together with Jürgen Gagstatter from Dormagen/Germany, he will now compete in class SP8 with the Ford Mustang which is amongst others well known from the 24 Hour Race.
in the last race, the Team Offtrack Performance was involved in the accident with their Volkswagen Polo which finally resulted in the shopping of the race. The Polo was badly damaged when Marco Ferraro lost control of his car due to a lot of oil on the teack and crashed into the arriers. No reason, however, for the racing team to give up now – just to the contrary. They will start again at the eighth race, this time with a Volkswagen Scirocco. The cockpit will be shared amongst Ferraro and his two country fellows Alberto Carobbio and Ugo Vincenzi.
Will a preliminary decision be taken in terms of the championship?
There is a close battle going on this year in the VLN endurance championship for Drivers. Marcel Manheller, BMW driver in class V4, is in the lead after seven races but his chances to take the title are small. The competitors are coming up from the back, amongst those some who have already some retirements in their score. After five successive victories in the BMW M235i Racing Cup class, Michael Schrey has good chances to defend his title. The driver of the Bonk team, though, cannot afford any further mistake. Norbert Fischer, Christian Konnerth and Daniel Zils in contrast may well have one more zero score as they have already achieved six top results with the Porsche Cayman of Pixum Team Adrenalin Motorsport. The points gained in class V5 were however mostly quite low due to the low number of starters so that they must hope for another failure of Schrey.
The 49th ADAC Barbarossapreis will start at 12 o’clock and run over the distance of four hours. The starting grid will be based on the results achieved in the qualifying to take place previously between 8 and 10 am. The entrance fee for access to the open grandstands at the Grand-Prix Circuit and into the paddocks comes up to the family-friendly amount of 15 euros per person. This includes the pitwalk and access to the starting grid. The entrance all around the Nordschleife is free.