The 24 Hours of Nürburgring, and the 24 Hours of Spa - the main focus for Team Marc VDS.
For BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS, the new season sees a focus on the two toughest events in GT racing – the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, and the 24 Hours of Spa. Both events will push the team, their BMW Z4 GT3 machinery and the drivers to the limit.
Their calendar also sees them take on the VLN, the endurance series based entirely on the Nürburgring Nordschleife and the new-for-2014 24 Hours of Nürburgring qualifying race. These offer a chance to get as much mileage as possible on the track, with endurance races up to six hours long.
It is not just the track that is tough, either, as the VLN and 24 Hours of Nürburgring – where Marc VDS earned second place in 2013 – see around 200 cars on the track at anyone time, ranging from the top SP9 cars like the Marc VDS BMW Z4 GT3s, to family hatchbacks and old saloons. There is nothing else like it in motor racing.
The 24 Hours of Spa is a similar challenge in some ways – it, too, lasts for two revolutions of a standard clock, and features GT3 cars as its top class – but in many ways, it is extremely different. There are ‘only’ around 80 cars at the start, and all are GT3 specification. The entries are split into class by the grading of their drivers, so there are pro teams, pro-am teams and amateur teams. Marc VDS will compete in the pro class.
The circuit is one of the most daunting in motorsport, a fast and flowing challenge with famous turns like Eau Rouge and Blanchimont providing a huge thrill for drivers and fans. Though it is more modern in many ways than the Nordschleife, it still excites drivers throughout the world – most name it among their favourite tracks.
The team will count on support from BMW Motorsport both on the engineering and the driving side, with a number of BMW works drivers joining the squad. The line-ups for the 24 Hours of Nürburgring are as follows:
BMW Z4 GT3 #25: Maxime Martin (BEL), Uwe Alzen (DEU), Jörg Müller (DEU), Marco Wittmann (DEU)
BMW Z4 GT3 #26: Markus Palttala (FIN), Nick Catsburg (NED), Bas Leinders (BEL), Dirk Adorf (DEU)
Drivers for the 24 Hours of Spa will be announced in due course.
Sebastien Metz, Technical Director
“From my point of view I’m hugely excited to once again be working closely with BMW Motorsport. It’s a brand we all dream of racing with when we are young and so it’s great for us to continue our strong partnership. This calendar is not easy on the technical side, but that will only motivate us to work harder! Taking on two 24-hour endurance events, so close together, is extremely demanding for everyone involved. Many teams spend an entire year preparing for one race like this! But I believe we can do it. I’m raring to go.”
Nick Catsburg, #26 BMW Z4 GT3
“After my first race at the Nordschleife last year, I knew I wanted to return. I’m very pleased to return with Marc VDS and this strong line up. To win on my debut was great, but I’m well aware that was something of a lucky shot! I want to use these VLN races as preparation for the team, but also for myself – I have to learn about all the different weather conditions. My race was totally dry! I know Bas and Markus well, and to have Dirk Adorf with me is great – he’s got so much experience on this track. It’s awesome to come into my first 24 Hours of Nürburgring with a chance of winning, and especially with BMW Motorsport, who have such a huge reputation here. I’m excited.”
Bas Leinders, Team Principal
“For us, 2014 is all about doing the right preparation in order to be in the best possible position to win these huge races. 24-hour races are so difficult, so demanding, that no matter your preparation you can never be sure of anything. But we will do everything we can to ensure that we are in the best shape. We were very competitive in the last couple of years in both races, so we can be sure the pressure is on this time round! We’ve learned a lot in the last couple of years, and our knowledge of the car and each other as a team and now I think we are as ready as ever. It’s fantastic to once again be able to count on BMW Motorsport as a partner.”
Marc VDS Racing Team