Marc VDS press release
Nürburgring, Germany - 24 March 2012: The Marc VDS Racing Team will contest two rounds of the German VLN Series and the prestigious 24 Hours of Nürburgring, in addition to their Blancpain Endurance Series commitments this season.
The team will field just one BMW Z4 GT3 at the Nürburgring, with Bas Leinders, Maxime Martin and Markus Palttala sharing the driving duties. Palttala is the only one of the three Marc VDS drivers with previous experience of the Nordschleife circuit.
For the 24 Hours of Nürburgring the Grand Prix track is combined with the Nordschleife, or North Loop, to create a circuit that is 25.3km in length. More than 200 cars and 700 drivers will line up on the grid for this year's event.
In preparation for the VLN and 24 Hours of Nürburgring races, the Marc VDS Racing Team today successfully completed a driver familiarisation test at the infamous Nordschleife, with the BMW Z4 GT3 they'll race in this year's series.
The team will return to the Nürburgring on 31st March and 28th April for rounds one and three of the VLN series, both of which will be fought out over four hours around the Nordschleife.
On 18th May the Marc VDS Racing Team will return to the Eifel region once again, to contest the 24 Hours of Nürburgring for the first time.
"I know my way around the track, but today was the first time I've driven it in a GT car with more than 250BHP. In some places I was doing nearly 100km/h more than the last time I was here and that changes the game a little bit. I felt like a rookie again on my first run. I felt good from the start and I really enjoyed my eight or nine laps, but you need a lot more than that to understand this track properly. We came here to learn, and that learning curve will continue through the first two races and even into the 24-hour race I'm sure."
"The Nordschleife is a pretty fun track. We did laps on the simulator and in a car before coming here with the BMW Z4 GT3 today, so we pretty much knew our way around. The traffic was an issue, but that's to be expected with so many cars on track. While we weren't looking for a set-up to be the quickest today, the car was easy to drive and easy to learn, so I'm happy with that. Now we need to complete the VLN races to gain more experience here. After today I'm looking forward to finally racing at the Nordschleife."
"Today was my first time at the Nordschleife. I tried to learn the track by playing video games, but Playstation isn't really my thing and learning the track at the wheel of a real car is much easier for me. Today we had the perfect weather for learning the track and the car inspired confidence. Now we just need more time on track, which is why we will try to do as many laps as possible ahead of the 24 Hours of Nürburgring by contesting two VLN rounds here. The issue for us in the 24-hour race will be adapting to the conditions on track; oil, rain, fog, you get it all around the 'grüne Hölle' and we will be up against drivers who have done thousands of laps here and understand exactly how conditions affect the track."
Sébastien Metz: Technical Director
"It's been a busy few weeks for the team, building up the car for the Blancpain test at Paul Ricard earlier this week and then reconfiguring it for today's driver familiarisation here at the Nordschleife. It meant a few late nights for everyone, including the engineers from BMW, but the hard work paid off and the car ran perfectly at both tests. We made no major changes to the car today, to maximise track time for the drivers, but all three were happy with the set-up. When we return here next weekend it will be to race, so we will start looking for a faster set-up, whilst still allowing the drivers to continue learning the circuit. We're facing a steep learning curve, as the races here are very different to any we've done before, but I'm confident we'll be ready for the 24 Hours of Nürburgring."