Many of IMSA’s GTLM drivers head for Nurburgring 24

May 11, 2018

Many of IMSA’s GTLM drivers head for Nurburgring 24

May 11, 2018

Once an endurance racer, always an endurance racer. For many of the GT Le Mans class drivers in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, tackling the world’s most prestigious endurance races is just part of the job description.

Of the 16 full-season drivers in GTLM, 10 of them will be in action at this weekend’s ADAC Zurich 24 Hours of the Nurburgring. That number grows a bit when you add in some of IMSA’s extra drivers for endurance races who are also making the trek to Germany.

The full-length Nurburgring circuit, known as the “Green Hell,” is the longest and one of the toughest circuits in the world to race at. Those who conquer it bolster their resumes for the rest of their careers.

“The 24 Hours of Nurburgring win was, at the moment, the highlight of my career,” said BMW factory driver Connor De Phillippi, who will seek to defend his title this year. He is only the second American driver (Boris Said) to win this race.

“That’s arguably the toughest 24-hour race to win in the world. To do it in only my third attempt was pretty cool.”

De Phillippi is part of a heavy GTLM contingent who’ve shifted from the flowing Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last week to Germany this week. They aren’t alone among IMSA drivers racing here.

All of these drivers listed below compete in the race’s top class, SP9, which features FIA GT3 machinery. Many of the top brands race on Michelin tires at this event.

BMW BRINGS A BUNCH

All four BMW Team RLL drivers will race at the Nurburgring. De Phillippi is slated to share ROWE Racing’s No. 99 BMW M6 GT3 with Alexander Sims, Jesse Krohn and Martin Tomczyk. John Edwards will be in the No. 98 ROWE BMW with Nicky Catsburg and Richard Westbrook. August Farfus, who raced with BMW Team RLL at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, is in another BMW.

PORSCHE’S PACK OF CARS

No less than 43 Porsche 911s and Caymans – including eight customer Porsche 911 GT3 Rs – are entered for Nurburgring this weekend. Most of Porsche’s factory lineup is set to compete here.

Manthey Racing’s two Porsches feature all four Porsche GT Team IMSA drivers, along with some of Porsche’s other factory drivers.

Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet will share the No. 912 car with Richard Lietz and Fred Makowiecki. Mid-Ohio winners Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber share the No. 911 car with Kevin Estre and Romain Dumas.

FORD’S MULLER, WESTBROOK WITH DIFFERENT GERMAN BRANDS

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dirk Mueller and Richard Westbrook race for other brands at the Nurburgring. Westbrook, as noted above, will be in one of the ROWE Racing BMWs. Westbrook shared the winning No. 67 Ford GT at the Rolex 24 at Daytona this year, and as such, has a shot to win his second 24-hour race of the year.

Mueller, meanwhile, will share the No. 4 Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon entry with Maro Engel, Adam Christodoulou and Manuel Metzger.

FASSLER, ROCKY IN AUDIS

Corvette Racing utilizes Mike Rockenfeller and Marcel Fassler for IMSA’s endurance races. Rockenfeller and Fassler are more known for their successful roles with Audi, and will be in a pair of Audi R8 LMS GT3s this weekend.

Rockenfeller is part of the lineup in the No. 24 Audi Sport Team BWT car. Fassler is part of the No. 25 Team BWT Mucke crew.

KEY LINKS AND NOTES

The race starts Saturday, May 12, at 3:30 p.m. local time.

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