Nurburgring preview

Audi, BMW and Panoz are set to resume battle at the Nurburgring in Germany this weekend for round four of the Le Mans series. Fresh from their 1-2-3 victory in the Le Mans 24 Hour, Audi will be looking to replicate that success on home ...

Audi, BMW and Panoz are set to resume battle at the Nurburgring in Germany this weekend for round four of the Le Mans series.

Fresh from their 1-2-3 victory in the Le Mans 24 Hour, Audi will be looking to replicate that success on home soil.

Audi triumphed in the opening round of the 2000 Le Mans Series at Sebring, but the past two series races at Charlotte and Silverstone have been won by BMW.

For Australian star David Brabham, the German round of the series could be his chance to break through against the local manufacturers aboard his Panoz.

"I am looking forward to going to the ŒRing¹ again, and am confident that the Panoz will go well there," Brabham said.

"I have good memories of racing at the Nurburgring in the past and don¹t feel that it is too difficult a circuit to set our car up for.

"Jan [Magnussen] and I have had two second places so far this year, and we¹ll definitely be taking the fight to Audi and BMW to try and get our first win of the season."

Despite their dominating success at Le Mans, Audi's Alan McNish still sees Brabham as one to watch.

"Le Mans was a big success for Audi - it was beyond our dreams to go and get all the honours : pole position, fastest lap and one-two-three overall," Allan McNish said.

"The only thing that was not perfect was that David Brabham led for six laps. He has been the thorn in my side since the beginning of the season, and he is one guy that you always have to consider.

"You can never discard his ability to take the car to the front. Panoz will be building on their Silverstone speed, and BMW will be keen to bring us back down to earth, so it's going to be a tough race."

"The new Audi car should be quicker and more competitive, " he continued.

"And we'll be confident. It's very important to get as many points as possible before BMW starts running away with the Championship."

The Nurburgring race will be run on the same circuit utilised for the European Grand Prix.

Situated high in Germany's Eifel Mountains, the unpredictable weather could provide added spice to the 1000km event. The "new" Nurburgring is located right next to the famous old Nordschleife circuit. The 14.2 mile track nearly claimed the life of Formula One world champion Niki Lauda who suffered horrific burns in a race crash in 1976. The old track is still used today for the Nurburgring 24 Hour touring car race.

While the Dodge Vipers are expected to continue their winning run in the GTS class, the GT battle is expected to be fierce, with Porsche and BMW fighting it out for class honours.

The American Dick Barbour Porsche GT team will be looking to atone for being excluded from the Le Mans 24 Hour for an over-sized fuel tank, while Hans

Stuck and the BMW squad is looking forward to the challenge of fighting the weather as well as the Porsche pack.

"Geographically, the Nurburgring in the wrong place in Germany because of the high elevation, about 2000 feet," veteran Hans Stuck said.

"There is no guarantee of fine weather - even in the summertime, you can have fog and low temperatures.

"That's part of the typical Nurburgring characteristics. It can very easily happen that you have the brightest sunshine at the start/finish line and about a mile south it can be raining heavily.

"So the teams have to make sure they have all kinds of rain and dry tyres in the pits. It's pretty tricky," Stuck concluded.

Highlights of the Nurburgring event will be screened on Network Ten across Australia on August 13 at 1.30pm.

South Australia will host the final round of the Le Mans Series - Adelaide¹s Race of a Thousand Years - on New Year¹s Eve this year.

The event ­ a three-day festival of motorsport, music and fun, features three classes of Le Mans¹ vehicles doing battle on the old Formula One circuit.

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Allan McNish , Dick Barbour , Niki Lauda