VLN: Lowndes/Luff rejoin Audi Race Experience for Nürburgring debut.

Lowndes & Luff celebrate their podium finish with fellow team mates following the 2011 Bathurst 12 Hour. - Image courtesy Bathurst12H.

Lowndes & Luff celebrate their podium finish with fellow team mates following the 2011 Bathurst 12 Hour. - Image courtesy Bathurst12H.

Following a highly successful showing at this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour event, V8SC regulars Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff are now set to etch another milestone to their already impressive list of achievements.

Having achieved a second-placed finish on their maiden appearance with Audi’s R8 GT3 chassis, the duo appear to have stamped quite an impression in the sportscar racing fraternity.

After successfully integrating with the AudiSport operation on their debut, both drivers have been selected for an additional appearance with the marque.

Despite originally being selected for the Bathurst 12 hour event on a standalone basis, the Australian pairing have now secured a further competitive outing with the AudiSport (Race Experience Team Joest) squad.

On this occasion the Australian duo will make their paired Nürburgring debut, competing in the SP9 (GT3) category within Germany’s highly-competitive VLN endurance series.

Despite Lowndes having never driven the Nürburgring, the event marks Luff’s third appearance at the legendary circuit. With Luff’s most recent, competitive outing having been with (the now down-scaled) Australian-based Juniper Racing, during the 2008 edition of the Nürburgring 24 hour event.

Lowndes and Luff will take command of the R8 LMS GT3 chassis once more, rejoining the Odenwald-based outfit for a four hour event at round four of the VLN (Langstreckenmeisterschaft) series this May (27/28).

VLN/ADAC/Euro-GT Open news.

In a recent announcement, Peugeot motorsport has revealed plans to bring the RCZ HDi platform to the 2010 Nürburgring 24 hour classic, this May, as part of the manufacturers 200 year birthday celebrations. Fitted with a 2.0L HDi-FAP engine, the RCZ is capable of producing an impressive 147kW/200hp of power.

Peugeot RCZ Rear

Peugeot RCZ HDi.

The French marque will be represented by two RCZ HDi’s, supported by separate teams whose identities are not yet known.

After recently unveiling the GT3 variant of their SLS AMG coupe, German Automaker Mercedes unveiled additional plans today which will see the car participating in the final three rounds of the 2010 VLN series, providing Mercedes the ability to prove itself against long time rivals Audi/BMW, as well as Porsche and Ferrari.

Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3 Coupe

Image courtesy of Insideline

While Norbert Haug (Head of Mercedes Motorsport)  has made his opinions on the Nürburgring 24H event clear in the past, having referred to the event as ‘a fair’, a return to the green hell would now seem much more likely for the iconic marque.

In other news,  five-time Nürburgring 24 hour champion, Marcel Tiemann has announced his 2010 plans. The German driver will continue to drive for the Manthey team in both the VLN and Nürburgring 24 hour events, alongside team mates Marc Lieb, Timo Bernhard, and Romain Dumas.

Marcel Fassler

Image courtesy of Autobild.

In addition to this, Tiemann will also compete in the International GT Open championship with Team Phoenix Racing, partnering Jim Matthews in the Audi R8-LMS.

Porsche GT3-R Hybrid ALMS bound?

GT3_Hybrid

Image courtesy Autoblog.com

Two days ago, Porsche’s GT3-R Hybrid turned it’s first competitive laps at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, during the season-opening round of the VLN championship.

The Manthey-supported GT3-R Hybrid, driven by Porsche works regulars, Bergmeister, Lietz, and Ragginger, managed an impressive sixth place on it’s race debut. With the sister car of Lieb/Tiemann/Bernhard taking victory ahead of factory-supported entries from Audi (Abt-Sport), and BMW (Schnitzer).

Porsche motorsport spokesmen, Steve Janisse and Andy Schupak claim that Porsche is currently in discussions with ALMS organisers to bring the GT3-R Hybrid to North America.

Porsche aims to have the car competing by late 2010, with the goal of participating in the Petit Le Mans classic.

Note that with ILMC (Intercontinental Le Mans Cup) rounds operated under fully ACO-compliant regulations (i.e. Petit Le Mans), any plans for participation would first require an ACO stamp of approval and, due to the base-chassis being a GT3-homologated design (e.g. outside of traditional class structure), special dispensation.

Manthey Racing outlines 2010 plans.

Manthey Racing has recently outlined their plans for the VLN series, and Nürburgring 24H assault.

Manthey_24h_Nürburgring_2009

Image courtesy of Speedheads.de.

Olaf Manthey has confirmed the team will run eight cars throughout the 2010 season. Reigning champions Marcel Tiemann, Marc Lieb, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas will pilot Weissach’s latest GT3-spec variant, the GT3-R.

Two GT3-R chassis supported by ‘Haribo’ will consist of the following driver lineups:

– Georg Weiss, Michael Jacobs, Peter-Paul Pietsch, and Oliver Kainz.

– Richard Westbrook,  Alexandros Margaritis, Christian Menzel, and Lance David Arnold.

‘Moskovskaya’ will support a fourth GT3-R for the team (not to appear until the third round of the series), to be driven by Armin Hahne, Jochen Krumbach and Marc Gindorf.

Two Cup cars will also be utilised by the team. The first car will be shared by Gary Williams, Daniel Cook, Tim Perry and Julian Raven, while Martin Ragginger, Rainer and Marc Holte Porsche will share the second.

In addition to the above, Manthey will also provide logistical/technical support to the Porsche factory, with plans to run the recently unveiled GT3-R Hybrid, as well as a GT3-RS to be driven by two time World rally champion, Walter Röhrl.