The preparations for the race of the year on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife are now getting serious. Before the ADAC TotalEnergies 24h Nürburgring (18 - 21 May 2023), the teams traditionally take every opportunity to prepare their cars and drivers perfectly for the prestigious event. Next weekend is the last opportunity to do so at the ADAC 24h Nürburgring Qualifiers - and it offers plenty of driving time on the longest, most beautiful and most demanding race track in the world: with one race each on Saturday and Sunday as well as extensive qualifying sessions, the set-up of the cars can be optimised one last time.
The BMW teams are likely to take the least homework with them to the Eifel, as the BMW M4 GT3s have always finished in front in the three NLS (Nürburgring Endurance Series) rounds held so far. On the weekend before the Qualifiers, the factory's own Junior team and Rowe Racing's M4 even scored a double victory. The other teams and manufacturers in the fight for the 24h overall victory will therefore be working all the harder at the Qualifiers to be fit to the point on Ascension weekend.
Anyone who wants to witness the battle of the brawny GT3s from Audi, Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche is very welcome at the Ring. On Saturday and Sunday, tickets for the grandstands at the Grand Prix circuit including access to the paddock are available for 23 Euros (weekend ticket: 38 Euros), admission to the Nordschleife is even free. Information and advance ticket sales can be found on the official homepage at www.24h-Rennen.de. Even those who cannot experience the ADAC 24h Nürburgring Qualifiers live on site will still be able to keep up to date on the weekend. On the 24h Qualifiers live page at www.24h-rennen.de/live there is a compact info centre with live ticker and timing, audio commentary and a selection from all the live streams of the event. A total of eleven track cameras, one wireless camera in the pit camera and seven live onboard cameras will capture the action in the live stream on Saturday from 18:45 to approx. 22:20 and on Sunday from 10:30 to approx. 17:50.
After the third NLS race, there were beaming faces among the three BWM juniors: Dan Harper, Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen had decided the race in their favour and were almost 17 seconds ahead of their brand colleagues Marco Wittmann and Maxime Martin in the cockpit of the Rowe team at the finish. "Everyone is of course very happy with the one-two win for BWM," Max Hesse summed up afterwards. "BMW has a super car, we are totally happy with it. It's also nice to see that three different teams were right at the front in the three NLS rounds."
In fact, the NLS wins went to Rowe (NLS1), Walkenhorst (NLS2) and now the Juniors - the three teams thus drove themselves into the role of favourites for the 24h. In the third NLS run, the front runners also managed their position in a commanding manner. "After the great groundwork of my colleagues in the first two stints, it was all about maintaining the lead in my double stint," described Hesse, who took over the part of the tail driver. "The first section was a bit tricky because I lost a lot of time in code 60 zones several times. But when it came down to it, I was able to regain the lead right away. In the last two laps it drizzled a bit, which made it even more exciting."
Marco Wittmann in second-placed BWM was also pleased with the double podium: "It's always nice to be on the podium, especially because we started the race from P7," described the two-time DTM champion. "We had a good start and good pace in the race." His teammate Sheldon van der Linde had put the team's second M4 GT3 on pole in qualifying in the morning, also proving the strong form of the white-blue marque. "After four years, finally my first pole on the Nordschleife - I'm very happy," said the reigning DTM champion. "I'm very happy with where we are before the 24h. The main goal is of course to be optimally prepared for it, which I think we are. The BMWs look very strong, which is promising for us as a brand."