Despite the cloudy weather, happy faces could be seen on Saturday all around the Nürburgring. The test and set-up session of the VLN endurance championship has nevertheless provided a little foretaste of the season 2019. The green lights were switched on at 9 o’clock and the test and set-up session began. More than 100 teams used the opportunity at the “Green Hell” for a last fine-tuning of their cars before the first round of this biggest grassroots series of the world, the 65thADAC Westfalenfahrt to take place on 23rdMarch.
More than one hundred visitors also used the opportunity at noon to see their stars to touch in the ring°boulevard. In the one-hour presentation of the VLN, the hosts Lars Gutsche and Olli Martini gave a comprehensive preview onto the new season. During the parade at the beginning of the event, the engines of the spectacular race cars were revving up through the ring°boulevard. Amongst those were Janine Hill and Fabian Vettel in the Mercedes AMG GT3 of GetSpeed Performance, the Ferrari 458 of racing one, the “Eifelblitz” of Johannes Scheid from the BMW M240i Cup, Mühlner Motorsport with a Porsche Cayman GT4 CS, the Opel Manta of Olaf Beckmann and Peter Hass, a BMW M4 GT4 of Sorg-Rennsport, the futuristically-designed KTM X-Bow GT4 of Teichmann Racing, the Champion car BMW 325i of Adrenalin Motorsport with #1 as well as Max Kruse Racing with a Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR.
The programme also included a number of interviews with the drivers of the racing series at the Nordschleife, notably with last years Champions Danny Brink, Christopher Rink and Philipp Leisen. “We will attack again and defend our title”, announced Leisen on behalf of the driver trio. Andy Gülden, too, can hardly wait for the season to start: “I am really glad that we are united again. Two years ago, we rocked the VLN together in the team of Mathilda Racing”, said Gülden who, together with Benjamin Leuchter, is now part of the team with former national football player Kruse. The legendary Opel Manta of Olaf Beckmann and Peter Hass has already competed in 126 VLN races and thus completed 56,000 kilometres of racing. And the foxtail could of course not be missing. “We only have to replace it when it is raining very heavily in a race”, said Beckmann. Christian Kohlhaas and Stephan Köhler meanwhile wish to continue their perfect series of success of last year’s VLN with a new team member. Jürgen Bleuel is the third man. “In 2019, our aim is to win ten of the nine races”, he joked.
Heiko Eichenberg in the BMW M4 GT4 of Sorg Rennsport also wishes to defend his title in class SP10. “That will be a difficult job, but we will give it everything”, said Eichenberg. Another driver duo which wants to attack in the BMW 240i Racing Cup this year is Lars Peucker and Nico Otto with the “Eifelblitz” of Johannes Scheid. Last year, they took six top-six positions in the Cup5. “This is the most contested class in the VLN. Yet, we wish to be at least as successful again as last year. A class win is our big target”, said Otto.
A great success was also the big raffle held for the benefit of the association Race4Hospiz. The non-profit registered association organises charity karting events for the benefit of the children’s and adolescence’s hospice Balthasar since ten years. 450 tickets have been sold. The prizes were two taxi rides in a race car, two VLN annual tickets, five times two tickets for the ring°kartbahn and two VLN fan packages.
It will get really serious for the VLN participants very soon because the 65thADAC Westfalenfahrt is scheduled to take place in only one week as the first of the nine championship rounds. The action will start in the morning at 8:30hrs with the 90 minutes timed practice session before the opening round to run over a four hour distance will be started at 12 o’clock. At each of the nine races of the season, entrance is free all around the more than 20 kilometres long Nordschleife with its huge number of trails. Tickets for seats on the open Grand-Prix circuit’s grandstands and for a visit to the paddocks will be available for a price starting at €18. Children under 14 years have free entrance everywhere. Tickets for the VLN races can be ordered through the free ticket hotline 0800 20 83 200, the Nürburgring Online-Shop as well as on-site in the info°center and at the access points to the open Grand-Prix circuit’s grandstands and to the paddocks.