Who will win the 50th edition?
With 137 competitors at the start and more than 30 cars capable of vying for victory, this 50th edition of the 24 Hours of Nürburgring promises to be exciting. Will Porsche succeed in retaining the title? Will BMW score a 21st success in the Eifel? Here is the turn of the forces present.
24 Hours of Nürburgring 2022
For once, only a Manthey Racing Porsche will be entered… Last year’s winners, Michael Christensen and Kévin Estre will have bib #1 on the doors. They will be joined this time by Frédéric Makowiecki and Laurens Vanthoor, a veritable quartet of Nordschleife experts. Two safe drivers like Christensen and Makowiecki and two formidable attackers with Estre and Vanthoor. Probably the most reliable and complementary crew at the start.
For more than 20 years, the Japanese manufacturer Falken has entered cars in its colors in the 24 Hours of Nürburgring. This year 2 Porsche will be entered, the #33 and the #44 and with quality crews. Patrick Pilet will drive both cars (one of the many specificities of the 24 Hours of Nürburgring), will the Frenchman be able to achieve a second success after 2018 on the Eifel classic?
Nice crew on the Porsche team entered by the Asian team KCMG with Eral Bamber, Nick Tandy, Josh Burdon and Dennis Olsen. On the Porsche #28 entered by the Italian team Dinamic Motorsport a very solid quartet with Mattero Cairoli, Christian Engelhart, Thomas Preining and the Frenchman Côme Ledogar.
Finally a sixth Porsche will be able to claim victory, the #27 entered by Toksport WRT. The German team is playing at home on the Nürburgring and for the occasion with a superb trio of Porsche factory drivers: the French Julien Andlauer and Mathieu Jaminet, as well as the Australian Matt Campbell! This young crew will be keen to make this week a resounding victory…
The Bavarian manufacturer is the most successful on the Nordschleife with 20 wins! And the BMWs are favorites this year thanks to a very well-born BMW M4 GT3! The most visible crew will be that of the BMW Junior Team with the trio Neil Verhagen, Max Hesse and Daniel Harper on the #72. At Walkenhorst Motorsport, 3 cars are entered but the #101 should be able to shine with a quartet of very fast drivers: Sami-Matti Trogen, Christian Krognes, Andy Soucek and Jörg Müller. With a fellow of the caliber of Alexander Sims in the crew, the #25 of Schubert Motorsport could also have a role to play.
Finally, the safe bet at BMW remains ROWE Racing with 2 cars entered, the #98 and the #99, we are almost sure to see at least one of these two cars constantly fighting in the top 5.
With a last success in 2016, we want to find the way to victory with the brand with the star! That’s good, the Mercedes have been the most comfortable with the BMWs this season and 4 Mercedes can claim the win. The #3 and #4 entered by the GetSpeed team will have 2 superb crews: Adam Christodoulou/Maximilian Götz/Fabian Schiller and Maro Engel/Daniel Juncadella/Jules Gounon.
2 cars will be to watch at Mercedes AMG Team Bilstein, we think in particular of the #12 of Philip Ellis, Luca Stolz and especially of the « maverick » of Mercedes, the Swiss Raffaele Marciello! The #6 of Gabriele Piana, Nico Bastian and Hubert Haupt should be a little further back but will be able to play a good shot.
Since the 24 Hours of Nürburgring entered the GT3 era, the Ingolstadt manufacturer has won 5 times! And this year 5 cars will be able to play for the win with 2 cars for Audi Sport Team Car Collection, the cars will be #22 and #24. Patric Niederhauser will ride on both mounts.
At Phoenix Racing, 3 cars are entered and the 3 will be able to play for the win! #6 will be led by Vincent Kolb, Ricardo Feller, Kelvin van der Linde and the very experienced Frank Stippler. We will also find Kelvin van der Linde on #15 where he will be assisted by Frédéric Vervisch, Robin Frijns and the fiery Dries Vanthoor! Finally of the 4 drivers of the #16, Michele Beretta and especially Markus Winkelhock will be to watch.
2 Ferrari 488 GT3 will be at the start, the #26 of the Octane126 team has already proven that it is efficient. Will Björn Grossmann, Simon Trummer, Luca Ludwig and Jonathan Hirschi offer the Italian manufacturer a first success on the Nordschleife?
Timid return to the Nordschleife for Aston Martin with a Vantage GT3 entered by TF Sport. At the wheel will be the Danes Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim (winner of the 2013 edition). They will be joined by the British David Pittard and the Belgian Maxime Martin who has never hidden his desire to win this race in which he is generally very comfortable.
Like Aston Martin, only one Lamborghini entered by Konrad Motorsport will be able to win for the Italian manufacturer. At the wheel will be the very fast Axcil Jefferies, Jordan Pepper and Michele di Martino.
Towards a surprise?
It would clearly take a cataclysm not to see any of the teams mentioned above (and we have only mentioned the best teams from each manufacturer in GT3). But 24 Hours is a long time, especially on the Nordschleife with the weather forecast to be gloomy…
If the SCG 003 has achieved very good performances in the past at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, its descendant the SCG 004 is in much more difficulty. We can say it: it is clearly behind the GT3s of the top teams and it does not shine by its reliability either. The small American manufacturer nevertheless has the courage to lead the WEC and Nürburgring programs with their own cars.
At KTM, we hope to see the 2 KTM X-Bow GT2s entered by True Racing shine. The car is very fast and Tim Heinemann proved it during the second NLS round by setting the 6th fastest time during qualifying… To be seen at 24 Hours, but the KTMs #116 and #117 will have to be watched in the event of a carnage in mind. The second car will feature Christian Menzel, winner of the 1998 edition.