Nurburgring 24H: Vanina Ickx race report

24 Hours of Nurburgring: Vanina enjoys racing on the Nordschleife! One month before the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Vanina Ickx ran another 24-hour race At the wheel of a bio natural gas-powered Volkswagen Scirocco, she took the class...

24 Hours of Nurburgring: Vanina enjoys racing on the Nordschleife!

One month before the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Vanina Ickx ran another 24-hour race At the wheel of a bio natural gas-powered Volkswagen Scirocco, she took the class victory...

After the Lola-Aston Martin at Le Castellet and Spa, the Belgian driver drove a Volkswagen Scirocco for the Nurburgring 24 Hours. A successful race as she not only enjoyed racing, but she also achieved a good result. With teammates Nasser Al-Attiyah, Dieter Depping and Klaus Niedzwiedz in team Volkswagen Motorsport, she finished sixteenth overall of a highly competitive event and took the victory in the "AT" class...

Vanina, the Nordschleife is nicknamed the " green hell ". Why is it so different?

"With more than 70 turns and 25km, this track looks more like a rally stage or a narrow road in the Belgian hills! We are surrounded by the forest while driving with no run-off zones and no visibility. This is very narrow, bumpy, with many jumps and very fast blind corners... This is a different world. Besides, we have to learn the track in three-D. We of course must know the layout, but also the topography. A wrong line can have serious consequences. In fact, this is the exact opposite of a F1 track... I absolutely love it!"

The Nurburgring 24 Hours are reckoned to be a "wild" race...

"I cannot remember all what happens because we experience many things in one lap. It completely slips my mind very quickly. Each corner can be tricky we have to pass about thirty cars at every lap! We can hit another car so frequently. The race, with about 200 competitors, is bound to be different. Even with ideal conditions, this is crazy. At each 24-hour race, we find again our good old Nordschleife. This is simply magical. I can hardly believe it, but I am ready to start again now!"

As you did last year, you raced again in a bio natural gas-powered Scirocco. You studied biology at school, so is ecology important for you?

"Of course, it is! I always had a guilty conscience because my passion is so out of phase with my respect for the environment. This is why this is perfect to combine both. I am delighted to race with a "clean" car! The Scirocco GT24 that we drove last weekend, produces 80% less CO2 thanks to natural bio gas, which is made of 100% renewable materials. But the car is still competitive, so it is interesting: we have a real race-car."

A 24-hour race is always difficult. How did you feel at the end?

"My job gave me great satisfaction. I wanted to improve last year's result, and I did it with my team-mates. I am proud of driving the Volkswagen car with the best result. Our car had to deal with the harshness of the race very early, and I accept it. During my stints, I was able to push although I could save fuel I could do one lap more than my team-mates. This is quite interesting with Le Mans coming up because the team Signature Plus attaches great importance to this parameter."

How can this race help you for Le Mans?

"The backgrounds are very different, but this 24-hour race helped me to work on several points. First of all, this is very important to be physically and mentally fit as I had to deal with both aspects. Trafic is heavy on the Nordschleife, so this is a good rehearsal. Lastly, this is a very good training for concentration and anticipation. That is definitely a good achievement. I hopefully can do as well with the Lola-Aston Martin."

The next race will be the mythical 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 7-13!

-source: vanina ickx

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About this article
Series Endurance
Drivers Vanina Ickx , Dieter Depping , Nasser Al-Attiyah
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport