KIWIS SET TO FLY AROUND THE RING
Months of preparation will be put to the test this weekend, when Kiwi Team Nurburgring lines up for its largest ever attack at the 2009 24 Hours of Nurburgring race.
Held in Germany's Eifel region, the world famous Nurburgring navigates its way around 25 kilometres of undulating, motor-racing bliss.
While the team holds a perfect record of not only finishing the race, but also of class victory, every member of the now 40 person strong team is under no illusion of the challenge that lies ahead. The team has contested the race since 2006, winning the Group N2 class with one or other of the team's trusty Honda Civic Type R's every year since then.
Expanding for 2009, Kiwi Team Nurburgring enters its two proven Honda Civic Type R's for the fourth straight year, led by Team Owner and Driver Dr Greg Taylor. After a thorough rebuild program since the 2008 epic, both cars are fresh and ready for their third or fourth race around the 'Green Hell' as Formula One champion Jackie Stewart coined the circuit.
The 'new toy' for the team for 2009 takes the form of a V8 engined Audi RS4, built by German team G0x00f6tz Motorsport, and run as a joint venture between the Kiwi and German teams. An all New Zealand driver line-up is part of the RS4 package, which includes two-time V8 Champion and New Zealand Grand Prix Winner Andy Booth, as well as Tim Martin, Stu Owers and Lewis Scott.
With a slight adjustment to the format of the race weekend for 2009, the team's three race cars and twelve drivers will first take part in 1.5 hours of Practice this Thursday afternoon (German time).
Just a few hours later, the team embark on a four hour Qualifying session later that evening, which runs through until 11.30pm. Friday afternoon sees another two hours of Qualifying, before the race start which gets underway at 4pm on Saturday.
After setting off from New Zealand shores early in March this year, the 40 foot shipping container which played temporary home to the team's cars and equipment has arrived safely in Germany, allowing a measured build up to the race that will see almost 200 cars face the starter.
With so many cars on track racing at once, three groups of approximately seventy cars are started at intervals between two and three minutes; this time difference is later taken into account in the race results.
Competition for the team's Audi RS4 which races in the SP8 class for heavily modified production cars are models such as a handful of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, three Lexus entries including two LF-A prototypes made largely from carbon fibre, BMW M3's, and even a Chevrolet Corvette.
A total of 20 classes take part in the race, including a large number of alternative fuelled cars such as diesel, bio-diesel and natural gas powered race cars.
Progress of the team can be followed on the Kiwi Team Nurburgring website, www.KTN.co.nz. The website will be constantly updated with modern technology including Twitter, as well as links to live timing of the race, and video streaming when available. These links can be found on the team's home page.
Coverage of Kiwi Team Nurburgring at the 2009 24 Hours of Nurburgring race will be shown on TV1's Powerbuilt Tools Motorsport show on 5 July 2009.
Kiwi Team Nurburgring efforts at the 2009 ADAC 24 Hours of Nurburgring is proudly supported by Big Ben Pies, Racetech, Smith & Smith, Carglass, Cosmeticart, One Health, Dunlop, Hellman, Castrol and Oracal.
Driver Line-up 2009:
Car 11 - Andy Booth, Lewis Scott, Stu Owers, Tim Martin
Car 192 - Ali Taylor, Brian McGovern, Dr Greg Taylor, Jeff Lowery
Car 193 - Brent Greer, Dean Cockerton, Mark Corbett, Rod Hicks
Rod Hicks, Driver
"It's been a few years since I've driven at The Ring, but having done a few laps at the new drivers academy, it's all come back to me pretty quickly."
Andy Booth, Driver
"Having earned my wings to start the race at the new driver training, I'm really charged up to get into the serious competition."
"The laps I've driven over the last four days have left me feeling very comfortable with the track. I can't wait to get into the Gotz Motorsport Audi, and I know I'll feel right at home with that car carrying it's Big Ben livery."
Interesting Facts about the Nurburgring
* Most competitors in the race carry a few hundred Euro in cash in case they run out of fuel half way around a lap of the circuit, and need to buy petrol from a spectator.
* More than 200,000 spectators can be expected to line the banks around The Nurburgring, with many of these race fans arriving almost one week ahead of the race.
* Track length of 25 kilometres compromises approximately 20km of the Nordschleife (North Loop) - the old part of the circuit; plus around 5km of the Grand Prix track, which regularly holds Formula 1 races.
* Competitors are allowed to stand on the race track during the full track warm-up lap, where drivers are warned not to put their hand out the window of the car for risk of a spectator pulling a driver's glove off their hand.
* At night, it is highly recommended for drivers to leave their windows wound up, for fear of stray fireworks which are often being lit by the crowd making their way into a race-car.
* The Nordschleife section of the track is open to the public during many evenings and weekends except when the circuit is under snow in winter time. The cost per lap starts at around 0x20ac15 per lap, although passes valid for one year are also sold to 'Ring regulars. When open to the public, the section of road is classed as a 'one way public toll road', with normal road rules such as overtaking prevailing.