There is a lot of speculation going on before each motorsport season on the legendary Nordschleife. Who has the greatest chances for titles, trophies and triumphs? Which class will this time face the hottest action in the Nürburgring Endurance Series? VLN.de took a look into the crystal ball together with team managers and drivers. The experts came to an agreement. In the VT2, Cup5, V4 and H2, there should be a gold-rush atmosphere in 2020. In these classes, the perspectives are particularly pleasant.
Matthias Unger, Team Principle of Pixum Adrenalin Motorsport, is definitely at the start with his cars where the music is playing. He enters four cars in the Cup5, two in the VT2 and two in the V4. “I believe that one of these three classes will provide the champion. The cards will be reshuffled again. We come to win. But sometimes dreams are quickly over.”
In 2019, adrenaline had really taken a lot of triumphs in the world’s largest motorsport championship. The new champions Yannick Fübrich and David Griessner clinched their seventh class win at the season finale of the BMW M240i Racing Cup and dominated their team-mates and last year’s winners Philipp Leisen, Danny Brink and Christopher Rink who finished second. Norbert Fischer, Oskar Sandberg and Daniel Zils, who celebrated seven victories in the V5 class and finished fourth overall with their Porsche Cayman, completed the team’s fantastic overall picture.
“I think that the V4 will still be number one. Everyone says that the VT2 will explode. Whether that will really be the case, we’ll have to wait and see. For the Cup5 cars, I still have a great demand. Here I expect a constant entry of 14 to 16 cars in 2020. Then you still have a good chance of becoming champion there, as long as there is no series winner in another, bigger class”, says the Team Principle.
Unger takes up the cudgels for the Cup5 class, which has been very popular in the Green Hell in recent years: “2021 will see the M2 Cup. The question that arises is, what will the VLN do with the Cup 5 class? If they are clever, they will let this class continue to run normally without BMW support. Anything else would be madness. These cars don’t fit into any other class. They are good, reliable and, in my opinion, unbeatable in terms of value for money. The new M2 is not an alternative to the 240 BMW for cost reasons. The prices for the driver’s seats will be higher. It’s just in a different league.”
The loyalty to the Renault Clio shall pay off in the H2
Gerrit Holthaus is by no means a blank sheet in the VLN. The man from Lüdenscheid has already taken 17 classes wins in the Green Hell. With a few exceptions, the 36-year-old hereby always remained loyal to the Renault Clio. “I love this car. I’ve been driving it since 2013 and it’s mine since 2014. I’ve always been asked when I would move up in class? And I always said that actually, I didn’t want to do so. The price of the Renault is reasonable and I’m having a lot of fun.”
Two years ago, Holthaus and his team mates Michael Bohrer and Stephan Epp moved from the Specials 3 to the H2 class. A wise decision. “For us, this was the only logical conclusion. On one hand, the entry fee in the H2 was cheaper then, but that has now levelled off. On the other hand, my car now also allows for that. The H2 is more interesting than the SP3 because there are more competitors and it is more versatile. I like the fact that there are so many different cars there,” says Holthaus, who looks back on “two very disappointing years” despite the five class victories in this period. “Being represented by three drivers was a disadvantage. With to the old regulations we had more or less no chance. We finished second twice, with a gap of eleven and seven seconds behind, with one pit stop more each time. That’s going to change now, which is very convenient for us.”
Each class will get a total standing time per race in the pits, which the teams can divide over the race distance according to tactics and driver line-up. “This makes it also attractive for newcomers from the RCN. Now you suddenly have the opportunity to compete in the H2 with three drivers at a reasonable price and you are still competitive”, Holthaus says. “It’s clear: I’ve always made sure that I race in a class where there is a big starting grid so that I can get as far ahead as possible in the overall standings.”
Manheller Racing is already familiar with the VT2
It was as well two years ago that Manheller Racing made the first gentle driving tests in the VT2. In 2019, the team from Meuspath then performed extremely well in the class of production based vehicles up to 2,000 cc with turbocharger. Marcel Manheller and Carsten Knechtges achieved five class victories in the BMW 328i with the #510. “The VT2 is a very interesting, promising class. It is strongly on the rise. The purely aspirated engines are slowly disappearing. Many different brands are represented there, which makes the competition varied,” says Team Principle Stefan Manheller.
Despite the experience which he has already gained in the VT2, he does not see any big advantages for his crew. “The cars are close-to-production models. Many things stay as they are. You only do small conversions. Only in terms of suspension tuning, we have probably a small advantage.” As in the previous year, Manheller Racing is again planning with two cars in the up-and-coming class. “There will probably be almost as many cars on the grid in the VT2 as in the V4. Because of this, we are already looking with one eye at the championship title in the Nürburgring Endurance Series.”
Sorg Rennsport relies on V4 and sees fewer chances in the Cup5
The Team AVIA Sorg Rennsport had a strong spearhead in the V4 in 2019 with Torsten Kratz, Moran Gott and Oliver Frisse. Three class wins in VLN1, VLN3 and VLN6 with the BMW 325i resulted in third overall position for the fast trio. With an average of 25 cars at the start, the class of vehicles over 2,000 cc to 2,500 cc was clearly the one with the greatest number of participants. This is unlikely to change in 2020. It was followed by the Cup5 with an average of 17 cars. In the H2 (ten) and the VT2 (eight) the response was significantly lower. But times are changing rapidly. “I think that the V4 with estimated 20 cars will probably continue to be the strongest class. According to our assumption, the VT2 will be considerably larger than in previous years with about 15 starters. Probably The overall champion 2020 will most probably emerge from one of the two classes”, says Team Principle Daniel Sorg and dares a prognosis.
For brother Benjamin Sorg, the title is the goal, but this time he has much less confidence in one class: “Since we were in the title fight until the last race in 2019, the ultimate goal is the championship title. The driver crew of the BMW 325i in the V4 class can achieve this. The Cup5 class will probably not be so busy anymore, some cars have been sold. The class champion is the goal here, whereas the overall champion is more likely no longer to come from the Cup5.” There are indeed signs of a changing of the guard in the Nürburgring Endurance Series. In the last four years, the champion came out of the Cup5 three times. But in the end, the truth lies on the race track.