– Nurburgring 1000 Kms – Preview
Part Two (Or Three?)
For seven of the nine
LMP1s in the line-up for Saturday afternoon’s into-the-evening
event, this is part three of their European programme (part four
if you count the USA, and those who competed at Sebring), because
all bar the Creation DBA and Jota Zytek competed at the Le Mans
24 Hours – and they would have raced there had they been given
So the second of the
LMES events has attracted almost all the top LMP1s in Europe (no
Nasamax this time, no Taurus and no Racing for Holland again). For
some of the teams though, this really is a frantic part of the season.
FIA GTs at Donington
and then on to the Nurburgring: Creation Autosportif, GNM, Konrad
British GTs and then onto the Nurburgring: Racesports Salisbury
Le Mans, French GTs and then on to the Nurburgring: Larbre
Le Mans, British GTs and on to the Nurburgring: Rollcentre
British GTs, FIA GTs and on to the Nurburgring: JWR
Le Mans, FIA GTs and on to the Nurburgring: RML and Freisinger.
So no one has been daft
enough to take in Le Mans, British GTs, FIA GTs and the LMES –
have they? Oh, we have – plus the ALMS, GA, French GTs etc.!
Well done JWR – three events in three weeks. Well done to
all the crew members who have made the above programmes possible.
So it’s the second
round of the LMES, and the evidence of Monza suggests that this
one could be even better than the first.
At the first ‘downforce’ track, how many of the nine
are potential winners? Matching the three R8s over one lap is rather
different from matching them over 195 (or six hours max.), but we
have high hopes for the two Zyteks and the DBA, in particular.
But the Audis are going
to be relentless, aren’t they? McNish and Herbert at Monza
was very little different from Herbert / Davies / Smith or Capello
/ Kristensen / Ara at Le Mans, over 24 hours. If any one entry is
going to beat the Audis this year, it’s going to have to enjoy
a faultless run, much as Weaver / Leitzinger managed at Sears Point
last year – and probably require a little bit of magic thrown
in again too.
But it’s endurance
racing, and the evidence from Le Mans tells that when this pace
is as fast as that, anything could happen. Anything could have happened
at Monza, but nothing held up the Audis, apart from a set-up that
has since been corrected on the Goh Audi. Let battle commence.
The RML Lola will need
to adopt different tactics now that Le Mans is out of the way, Rollcentre
has bounced back from grave misfortune at Le Mans (let’s hope
Shorty is fit), the Pescarolo chassis needs to prove itself away
from the long straights – but it’s likely to be the
three ‘Zyteks’ that are in contention (with the Audis)
for, initially, pole position.
in the factory car? We have every reason to believe so.
record at the ‘Ring is one race (in 2000) and no wins…
Brabham and Magnussen won that one, for Panoz. No Brabs in the LMES
this week (he’s racing the Lamborghini at Lime Rock), so Magnussen
on his debut in the Zytek to make it two from two? McNish has a
chance to make up for “aquaplaning off the flooded track”
in 2000, while Herbert won here in F1, for Jackie Stewart’s
team. Capello was on pole in 2000, and will be full of confidence
after his recent Le Mans win… but Sam Li will settle for nothing
less than a victory.
oh dear: no Magnussen / Shimoda Zytek at the 'Ring, reasons to be
The Belmondo Courage was the pole-sitter at Monza, clearly so, but
that was without Jean-Marc Gounon in the factory car – now
with the same AER engine, of course. Gounon and Hancock are a strong
pair, the question mark perhaps being over the form of the 2004-spec.
C65 on a downforce track. No K2 Pilbeam MP91 alas, but the later
spec. WR joins the line-up. The non-Courage entries might expect
to be waiting to pick up the pieces. Gounon and Hancock (plus Frei)
won’t want to leave any scraps for the rest.
since Monza are Tracsport's Lola, Palmyr's Lucchini, Renauer's Tampolli,
G Force's Pilbeam and WR's 2003-4 car - plus the Courage of course.
class of the FIA GT Championship again takes on Larbre’s (Le
Mans / FFSA) Ferrari 550. Alzen and Bouchut were at their spectacular
best at Monza, passing and re-passing for lap after lap. Expect
the two hard men to go at each other again. The form of the new
Kaufmann / van de Poele Porsche will be interesting to follow –
and good old Wolfgang has offered dsc’ers a ride around the
Nordschleife on Friday evening. Top man!
Barron Connor is looking
to up the pace with its 575 Ferraris, but perhaps the GNM Saleen
and Force One Viper are possibles for a podium finish.
The largest class (14, against nine for each of the other three),
and four entries catch the eye. These are the Porsches from JWR,
Freisinger and Cirtek, and the JMB Ferrari 360. The number of competitive
entries is an interesting contrast with the GT Class in the ALMS:
that is the toughest GT battle anywhere, but this one is very interesting.
Ortelli and Dumas were the class of Monza, and took the win despite
a problem. Maassen and Jones were unlucky to hit the alternator
problem first there, and are potential winners anywhere, the JMB
Ferrari has two very strong drivers in Daoudi and Melo, while Jordan
is a former FIA GT winner here and partner Liddell won a few days
ago in LMP2 at Mid-Ohio.
Porsches and Ferraris, apart from John Hartshorne’s TVR: Racesports
met a novel problem at Monza, preventing a good finish. Karim ‘Ojea’
(on the official entry list) is actually Cirtek’s TAG man
Karim Ojjeh, racing at this level for the first time. T2M and Auto
Palace will be out to make amends for highly unfortunate experiences
at Monza, while the likes of Sebah will be content with another
top five – very content. Oh, we find that Marino Franchitti
and Xavier Pompidou will be driving the Sebah Porsche: make the
target a podium.
be a second, highly entertaining, LMES event. Coverage here will
begin on Friday, to include dedicated features on Rollcentre and
Is it going
to rain, as it did at Monza? The forecast is "changeable".