The training camp for the long-distance classic


Great events are known to cast their shadows ahead - and this is also the case at the ADAC TotalEnergies 24h Nürburging from 18 to 21 May. Before the big highlight of the Nordschleife season, many teams and drivers will be preparing intensively once again on 22 and 23 April 2023. At the ADAC 24h Nürburgring Qualifiers, they will have nine and a half hours to test their equipment for the last time at the venue of the endurance showdown - because that is how long the qualifying sessions and races are scheduled for this weekend. Teams and spectators can experience all facets of the 24h race weekend "in miniature", after all, in addition to the qualifying practice sessions and a top qualifying session, the programme includes two races, the first of which runs into the evening hours. Six race hours offer enough time to optimise performance and assess the balance of power.

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After that, the engines will be silent for almost a month before the 24h, and there will be no further opportunity for preparation. Accordingly, all the top teams and manufacturers from the top group are expected to be present at the 24h Qualifiers. So it's a great opportunity for real fans to get an idea of how things are going on site - especially since, despite all the professionalism in the preparation, many of the players will have even more time than at the season's highlight to have a petrol talk or fulfil an autograph request. Tickets for the 24h Qualifiers cost 23 euros (day tickets Saturday / Sunday in advance) or 38 euros (weekend ticket). 

More than one reason to start
There are three rounds of the Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS) before the 24h Qualifiers - even on the weekend before the 24-Prologue the wheels are turning at the Ring. And at least until after the second NLS round (8 April), one or the other team will still be playing poker before finally submitting their entry: The closing date for entries for the Qualifiers is the Wednesday after Easter (12 April). Accordingly, it is not yet possible to predict exactly who will be on the grid. However, the teams have already announced around two dozen GT3 cars, and there will certainly be one or two more. After all, the Qualifiers weekend is not only attractive as a testing opportunity. Here, teams can also secure a disproportionately large number of the highly coveted starting places for the top qualifying of the 24h. This time trial for the order in the first rows of the grid has become one of the factors that significantly influence success, not only at the 24h. It is also part of the programme of this prologue as the final time chase on Sunday morning before the second qualifying race. Here, the teams from the classes SP9 (GT3), SP-X and SP-Pro will have a final opportunity to intensively rehearse the procedures for this part of the programme. But the weekend of the 24h Qualifiers is also important for starters from other classes, so that there will be a number of starters in the other touring car and GT classes as well. For them, among other things, it is often a matter of acquiring the necessary practice to obtain the DMSB permit as a separate "Nordschleife licence". Because without this special licence level, no pilot is allowed to start at the 24h.

Varied race programme on the Nordschleife
The fans at the race track will also experience other vehicles on the track at the 24h Qualifiers: On Saturday morning, a three-and-a-half-hour regularity test is on the agenda from 8:00 a.m. - mass sport of the most beautiful kind, which already encourages a visit to the Nordschleife. On Saturday afternoon, following the qualifying for the first race, there will be a performance test of the RCN, which is also scheduled for three and a half hours. For the 24h teams, the weekend offers two runs: the first one on Saturday evening (19:30 - 21:30) runs for two hours, run two on Sunday afternoon (13:00 - 17:00) offers four hours of racing action.

Indicator for the distribution of power in the current season
In recent years, the ADAC 24h Nürburgring Qualifiers have always been an important indicator of the balance of power on the Nordschleife. Although none of the winning teams in the eight editions so far has managed to win the 24h Nürburgring in the same year. But the composition of the podium has always been an important indicator of what will happen in the race: Brands that finished on the podium at the Qualifiers were usually also among the tight circle of podium aspirants at the ADAC TotalEnergies 24h Nürburgring. But you can't really rely on that either. Last year, for example, it was the BMW teams in particular that shone in the qualifiers. In 2022, the poles in both qualifying races belonged to them, a double victory in Heat 1 was followed by a second place in Heat 2. Quite a different story then at the 24h, when the then brand-new M4 GT3 was dogged by bad luck. In general, the events of 2022 are a clear indication that all forecasts, especially on the Nordschleife, should always be treated with caution: The "Green Hell" has its own laws. And events like the 24h Nürburgring Qualifiers can help to prepare optimally for the endurance classic. But the 24h of the Nürburgring remains unpredictable, exciting and unique.