Marc VDS learning from experience at the Nordschleife

228 views

The #25 BMW Z4 GT3 will be crewed by Jörg Müller, Maxime Martin and Marco Wittmann, with Dirk Adorf and Nick Catsburg alongside them in #26.

BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS continue their intensive run-up to the 24 Hours of Nürburgring this weekend with VLN3, the ADAC ACAS H&R-Cup. The #25 BMW Z4 GT3 will be crewed by Jörg Müller, Maxime Martin and Marco Wittmann, with Dirk Adorf and Nick Catsburg alongside them in #26.

Dirk Adorf has a staggering 23 years’ experience at the infamous Nordschleife. So what advice would he give to drivers taking on the circuit for the first time?

“The first advice I’d give is to get a feel for the place. Visit the circuit, see the facilities here, and understand the history and the atmosphere. It’s a special race; it’s not like a normal race. You have to take a look and realise that it’s special.

“On the racing side, the most important thing is the sheer number of cars on track – fast cars, slow cars. It’s not only your own driving, because you have to be careful of the other participants. You have to be able to anticipate what they’ll do at any moment, because this is the kinda race that anything can happen. Have they seen you? Is it possible to pass? You’re close to a heart attack every single lap – and this goes for on for 24 hours! You have to push like hell, but be careful at the same time – it’s a fine art.

“Another hugely significant lesson is the weather. You can stand at the start-finish and the sun is shining, but 10km away there can be rain, or fog, or maybe snow! You can never be 100% sure it will be a totally dry lap.

“The character of the track is a world apart from other tracks. Sometimes you’ll miss the entry of the corner by one metre, and hit the barrier later – there’s no room for error. In many races I’ve done here, I’ve crashed at many points! I’ll sometimes be coaching and as we’re driving round I’ll say ‘oh I’ve had a crash here, and also a crash there’… and they think I must be crazy! But I just have a lot of experience here. Of course, some of that experience is accidents!

“And crazy things happen here – it’s not like normal motor racing! I think my craziest story comes from the last round of the VLN one year. I was the championship leader, and all we had to do to win the championship was finish the race. But my car stopped. I had no radio, no power, nothing. My team-mate at the time was Eric Neve, who was the chief of Chevrolet Motorsport. So I’m 6km away from the start finish, so the team radioed Eric to bring me back – with my car. I’d gotten out of the car and I saw Eric coming, and he said ‘get in, I’ll push you!’ So I jumped in.

“So he’s pushing me, I haven’t had a chance to do my belts, and I’m keeping my foot on the brake. I give him a sign with my hand, trying to say ‘slow down’ and he thinks I mean that everything’s OK and he should push more! And we’re doing more than 180km/h, I haven’t got my belts on, and then my bonnet flies up and into my window. I can’t see a thing, and I have to peek through holes in the bonnet to see. This was the craziest moment for me… But we finished the race and won the championship!”

Fingers crossed, he won’t have to have such a scary time in this weekend’s event, or at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring but, as he said, anything can happen!

Marc VDS Racing Team

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ENDURANCE
Article type Preview
Tags dirk adorf, jörg müller, marco wittmann, marc vds, maxime martin, nick catsburg, nurburgring