Hello, I am Marcel, I am 36 years old – it is never too late to start something, is it? – and today I want to add a chapter to my diary from the motorsport world. Enjoy reading this part of the Diary of a Motorsport Engineer

Welcome back to my motorspot blog. The last weekends saw a lot of happy drivers and happy teammates around me. While we are still working towards the first win in 2024 we managed to get through three consecutive weekends of Motorsport with great results and a lot of trophies and then a weather based setback

Weekend one: NLS 1+2

It was raining during the build up. The first weekend in a championship is always something special. While at the Nürburgring in NLS a lot of things stay the same, the amount of cars a team runs and the amount of drivers a team serves, multiply the amount of todos. There are big teams running 11 cars around. Admin checks and paper work must thoroughly be done before any wheel can turn. On top of this, every car must go to scrutineering and is checked by the series technicians. So Thursday there is regularly build up. Friday there are private test sessions where taxi drives meet a free practice driving style. Everything is kind of stressful until the cars and the guests and drivers are out on track. Though everyone tries to maintain a calm atmosphere without making any kind of mistake.

A lot of things have to be ready at the same time:

  • Cars incl. Fuel and heated tires
  • Drivers
  • Taxi guests
  • Pit crew and the tools
  • Run plan
  • Radio
  • GPS Auge – to be able to follow without any timing screen

This is “just” the list for a free practice / taxi session.

Having not worked together for some months the spirit of the team and the routines come back quickly and everyone knows what to do. Prepare equipment, spare parts, consumables. Cleaning the car, doing nut and bolt checks, Bleeding brakes, changing brakes, checking electronics, downloading data. Everything which belongs to the shifts of mechanics and engineers once the track action is suspended and the engines stay calm for the night.

#RACEDAY1 NLS1 – Saturday marks usually the NLS Qualifying. Cars can leave the pits from 8:22 for an inspection lap and then the regular timekeeping for the stating grid starts at 8:30 and finishes at 10:00. Then at 11:10 the cars can go out to the grid. This means there is about an hour to clean, check and if necessary repair. At 11:30 the pit exit is red, the fans walk on the grid and the drivers are almost about to enter the cars again to start the formation lap at 11:40 and the race starts at 12:00.

This is my favorite moment of every race. The minutes from the start of the formation lap until the start. Depending on the track it is from few to several moments to calm down and relax. Being the race strategist I also sometimes exchange the final strategy agreements with the drivers and remind e.g. of weather conditions, cold brakes etc.

The Porsche 992 Cup class is very competitive, so it felt good on the final result to have a P2, P9 and P11. Also P2 in class was a tremendous P10 overall. After four hours of competitive racing. So at 16:00 plus the parc ferme time we started all over again with the post free practice cleaning, checking, etc.

#RACEDAY2 NLS2 – Sunday, after coming home Saturday and also analyzing improvements for Sunday, the same timetable applied. Practice 8:30, start 12:00. The result improved a slightly bit on. The fight to the flag for P1 and P2 ended up in P2 for us and a remarkable P3 double podium with the third car being on P10 amongst the top ten runners of the class.

Weekend two: NLS 3+4 / 24h Qualifiers

This is what I was a bit afraid of. Honestly, the NLS rules are easy having about 8 events every year. The 24h Qualifiers though is organised by ADAC which means the rules of the 24h race apply. Also driving into the night means we had to prepare the cars with the additional lights and with light panels for the door numbers. On top of this, buildup was not planned for Thursday but friday through the day while scrutineering was scheduled.

Everything was different compared to the week before:

  • Regulations
  • Timetable
    • no sessions on Friday
    • Exclusive taxi drives Saturday morning
    • Driving into the night on Saturday
    • Early start into qualy on Sunday
    • one hour later start into the race on Sunday
  • Places to get the necessary stickers (e.g. weight, scruiteneering, video)

#RACEDAY3: In short, once the night fell, the track turned into a very dangerous place. There were a lot of incidents and Code 60 areas. The combination of an NLS race together with the 24h race preparation made the track very busy, With P3, P4 and P11 we came out of this race without much trouble.

#RACEDAY4: With P2, P8 and a DNF we concluded the back to back NLS race weekends. Unbelieveable that the first half of the season was already done in two weekends. It is a similar model to the Asian Le Mans Series which happened some years ago in few double header weekends. Now for the team it is up to the preparation for the 24h of the Nürburgring.

Weekend three: Prototype Cup Germany

The “PCG” weekend is a completely different level of racing. It is created to enter the world of Le Mans Prototype racing on an affordable level. Motorsport is still expensive and the creating the next generation of Le Mans winners and prototype gentleman drivers requires some sort of investment. As mentioned above, first race weekend of the year in a championship here as well. This is another different experience and after some time everyone is back to working hand in hand.

After it started snowing on Saturday morning and due to the fact that there is no tire warmers permitted in this series, the second qualifying and both races were cancelled. This meant to break down everything, bring it back to the workshop and have a day off on Sunday for most of the team.

Sometimes bad things can turn into good things. After two and a half weekends of back to back racing and working on a lot of different topics during the week it is good for me to enjoy this weekend neither at a track nor in a workshop. However, in the background I am preparing some nice things and try to contribute as good as I can to future race programs with some customer acquisition.

Thank you for reading my story from the motorsport world! Did you enjoy it?
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You want to read another story? Checkout about my passion for motorsport photography and my engagement in the 24h of LeMans: LINK or about moments before and after a race weekend: LINK

See you trackside!

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Categories: MOTORSPORT