Marc VDS prepared for Nürburgring rush

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Team Marc VDS take on the Nordschleife for their first race of the season.

This weekend, BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS take on the Nordschleife for their first race of the season – the ADAC Westfalenfahrt, round one of the VLN. The team will enter two BMW Z4 GT3s, #25 for Marco Wittmann and ‘Ring legend Uwe Alzen, with #26 crewed by Marc VDS regulars Nick Catsburg and Bas Leinders.

The team will be racing against nearly 200 other cars in the four-hour endurance race, a challenge that presents a lot of problems for the drivers of the #25 and #26 cars. Their GT3 spec machinery is considerably faster than most of the other cars on the track – so how do you manage that traffic?

#25 Marc VDS Racing BMW Z4 GT3 (SP9): Maxime Martin, Andrea Piccini, Yelmer Buurman, Richard Göransson
#25 Marc VDS Racing BMW Z4 GT3 (SP9): Maxime Martin, Andrea Piccini, Yelmer Buurman, Richard Göransson

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

“Of course, we are professional racing drivers, but there are lot of amateurs here, in cars a lot slower than ours,” says Bas Leinders. He’ll be making his third 24 Hours of Nürburgring start in 2014, and has plenty of experienced in mixed-class racing. “The first thing you think when approaching traffic is how to get safely past. They need to know you’re there – so you try to flash your lights. You only need to do it a little, not too much, because you don’t need to blind them. There’s no use flashing your lights from miles behind, either.”

The faster car must be driven carefully, and instinct plays a strong part in the decision making process.

“You need to pass safely, have to make a judgement on what their ideal line is, so you know where they will go on the track. To pass a slower car on the straight is pretty easy, but if it’s in the braking area you want to be confident they’ve seen you. It’s instinct, really. You have to work with them, in a way, because if you’re too aggressive you can scare the driver and then things can get quite unpredictable. It’s better to be more patient, and push the traffic a little less. It’s better to be past a little slower, but still on the track! You have to respect the slower cars, and they’ll respect you back.”

The slower drivers play their part too. They will stick to their line as much as possible, avoid making sudden moves and try to give notice of the direction they’ll take on track.

“One thing they do that helps is to put the indicator on – they indicate which direction they will go, and you simply go the other way. Sometimes a driver can forget their indicator is on, which can make things tricky! It’s consuming, this track, so sometimes they don’t have the time to watch the mirrors. At the end of the day, the onus is on the faster driver to pass safely.”

The team will be hoping to negotiate the rush and make it through the race, gathering valuable data and knowledge ahead of the 24 Hours of Nürburgring in June.

Qualifying for the race takes place at 08:30 on Saturday morning, and the race begins at midday, lasting four hours.

Marc VDS Racing Team

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Series ENDURANCE
Article type Preview
Tags bas leinders, bmw z4 gt3, marco wittmann, marc vds racing team, nick catsburg, nurburgring, uwe alzen