Friday, May 18, 2012

Back to The Ring

It's been running for 40 years. One of the world's longest motor races is back this weekend at the Nürburgring. I arrived here yesterday after hearing of the atrocious weather conditions on Wednesday. It wasn't just wet and cold then, sleet and snow was falling copiously according to all accounts. To be honest, I was quite confused as to what to wear, and I didn't really fancy being too wet. It was all pretty good yesterday though. It was just pretty chilly but mostly dry and not entirely unpleasant.

GAZOO Racing Toyota GT86
Today, it's a different story all together. When I was getting dressed in the hotel, I heard ominous sounds of raindrops lashing the windows. It's wet. It's really wet. While tucking into some well-deserved breakfast, I heard from the track that the circuit was so wet after several hours of rain during the night that most top teams will take it easy today. There's no point risking it in the second qualifying session before the big race.

What's that old adage? "To finish first, first you have to finish". Makes sense to be honest. Spectator expectations aside, teams will undoubtedly have to look longer term.

I've slightly defrosted from yesterday so here's to some crossing fingers for some good track action today!

Right, so who are the favourites for this jubilee race? Well, keep an out for Porsche 911 GT3 R, BMW Z4 GT3, Audi RS LMS ultra and the Merc SLS AMG GT3. If all goes well, all 190 cars will head out on track at 09:35 CET for the second round of Qualifying before a Top 40 shootout at 18:00. All the cars I just mentioned have already qualified for Top 40 shoot out as they all competed in the previous three VLN races and their times during those weekends were good enough.

Why fight for the Top 40? Well, all 40 cars get a blue flashing light in the car meaning they become a whole lot more visible during the night when trying to pass slower back markers. I spoke to some drivers last year and they really see the advantage.

Starstruck moment: I'm spending some time in the team garages and the one I was in happened to be where a heavily bearded Nick Heidfeld is also sitting in, driving for Gemballa. When I was rushing out to get some more work done, he was kind enough to open the door for me. Good man!

Quick shout out to for some awesome commentary throughout the event! Tune in to them for live coverage online.

Update: Here's a video of a revving Lexus LFA V10 in the garage. I love it!

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