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VLN Season Preview & Test Day Report
Plenty Of Cars To Fight For The Race Wins

The traditional Test- und Einstellfahrten gave the VLN teams a chance to set up their cars for the 2012 season. The works support might have been reduced, but still this VLN season is looking to be a very good one, with five brands likely to fight out the podium spots.

New in the Green Hell is the McLaren MP4-12C GT3, with Dörr Motorsport and Gemballa Racing fielding in total three cars.

Gemballa had to take a big hit in their preparation for their VLN campaign when during the Friday testing Klaus Ludwig crashed the car around at the Galgenkopf. The car is probably a write off, but it was not their GT Masters car. Gemballa will only race a partial VLN season plus the 24 Hours Nürburgring-Nordschleife, with Dörr looking to field two of the astonishing McLarens for the full VLN season and the 24 Hours. Drivers will be Rudi Adams, Stefan Aust, Chris Goodwin, Arno Klasen, Peter Kox, Arndt Meier, Henri Moser, Peter Posavac and Kai Riemer.

Also making its Nordschleife debut was the Audi R8 LMS Ultra, with Mamerow-Racing and the Audi test car fielded by Quattro GmbH.

Mamerow-Racing, is going to concentrate on the GT Masters and only run in selected VLN rounds, while Phoenix-Racing is likely to field two of the R8 Ultras, with Frank Stippler, Marc Basseng, Rene Rast, Christopher Haase and Oliver Jarvis to be involved on the driver side. Raeder-Motorsport, which scored a surprise VLN victory last year with their Audi TT-RS, has obtained an R8 LMS for Christian Hohenadel, Frank Biela, Luca Ludwig and Thomas Mutsch.

Porsche is also likely to be a sure contender for race wins, especially with the newly formed Timbuli-Racing squad, where Marc Hennerici, Norbert Siedler and Marco Seefried will do the driving. But also Manthey-Racing, with their pine stripe Porsche 911 GT3 R, is a candidate for the top podium step.

Behind the Porker Jochen Krumbach is set for the full season, and will receive support from drivers out of the Porsche works squad; Romain Dumas set to join this weekend. At the test day Richard Lietz, Marco Holzer and Marc Lieb all got behind the wheel of various Porsches. Also good podium finisher candidates are the Porsches of Falken Motorsport - where a return for Peter Dumbreck, Wolf Henzler, Martin Ragginger and Sebastian Asch is likely - and the Frikadelli-Racing car. Also fielding GT3-Rs is Haribo-Racing and Pinta-Racing.

If there was a brand that already showed their potential during the VLN test it was BMW. With the M3 GT2 happily being retired to the museum on this side of the ocean and Schnitzer-Motorsport taking on the DTM this year, the works support goes to Schubert-Motorsport, where the works drivers Uwe Alzen, Jörg Müller, Dirk Müller and Dirk Adorf are set to share two Z4 GT3s with Claudia Hürtgen, Dominik Farnbacher and Nico Bastian during the 24 hours.

Also looking strong were the Vita4One BMWs, where Matthias Lauda, Frank Kechele, Jens Klingmann and Pedro Lamy did the testing, As we reported earlier this week Marc VDS Racing is also set to join the fun around the Green Hell, with a sole BMW Z4 for Markus Palttala, Bas Leinders and Maxime Martin.

Last but not least is the Mercedes Benz portion of the field.

Rowe-Racing is going to field two of their gullwings for the full season, with an all-pro lineup of Jan Seyffarth, Klaus Graf, Thomas Jäger and Alexander Rollof, and a car for Michael Zehe, Marko Hartung, Mark Bullitt and Roland Rehfeld. Black-Falcon will field their SLS for a partial VLN season, with reigning VLN champion Manuel Metzger moving up from his street spec BMW Z4 to one of the Gullwings. Sean Edwards and Jeroen Bleekemolen are also set to return to the squad with which they won the Dubai 24 Hours. Heico Motorsport has secured the backing of Hankook for this season, with the team fielding one SLS in selected VLN races and the 24 Hour race. The driver line-up is likely to include Lance-David Arnold and Kenneth Heyer.

There are more than a hundred more race cars that should be mentioned here, but we don’t want to take too much of your precious time; but on a final note the Carvell Motorsport Jaguar XF24 also was present at the Ring and showed signs of a promising debut for the Cat.

Sören Herweg