It’s a big day at the Nürburgring today, as the legendary circuit hosts a curtain-raiser for the first FIA-sanctioned World Championship race since 1983.
The World Touring Car Championship has the honour of ending the three decades of drought, and today is the official test day prior to the competition on May 16th, when the WTCC will support the Nürburgring 24hrs with two, three-lap races around the ‘Gesamstrecke’, which includes all but a few chicanes of the Nordschleife course.
Many of the WTCC competitors have never raced on the Nordschleife, and with 170 turns and a 26km course to remember it’s going to be a gruelling challenge – witnessed by our lead gallery shot (above) of Citroen works driver Ma Qing Hua grabbing a last minute refresher with the map in the pit-lane before setting off!
The map obviously helped. 10 minutes later, GRR photographer Jochen Van Cauwenberge captured another spectacular shot of the Chinese racer taking to the air in his Citroen C-Elysee at Pflanzgarten 1…
Although manufacturer interest in the WTCC is currently limited – Citroen, Lada and Honda are the only factory teams – the series has a great roster of drivers including José María López, Sébastien Loeb, Yvan Muller, Rickard Rydell, Gabriele Tarquini and Rob Huff. Even ‘Ring celebrity (and two-time 24hrs winner) Sabine Schmitz gets a look-in at the Nurburgring round, when she will be competing in a privately-entered Chevy Cruze.
Photography: Jochen Van Cauwenberge