The UPS-Porsche Juniors Martin Ragginger (Austria) and Marco Holzer (Germany) tackle the German Motorsport Association’s 250 mile race on the Nürburgring on 11th October. For 20-year-old Holzer, this marks his debut in a racing sports car on the legendary Nordschleife.
Special challenges of this sort have long been a part of the UPS-Porsche Junior team training programme. Martin Ragginger, now in his second year of the UPS and Porsche junior advancement programme, contested his maiden race in the American Le Mans Series at the end of August, where he raced a Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR on the Belle Isle Street Circuit in Detroit. Sharing driving duties with Lonnie Pechnik (USA), Ragginger secured fourth and celebrated a successful debut in the race series with the world’s fastest sports cars. At his first Nürburgring 24 hour race in May, Ragginger claimed fifth overall at the wheel of a Porsche GT3 Cup.
After joining the UPS-Porsche Junior team at the beginning of the year, it is now Marco Holzer’s turn to face greater demands. With his team mate, the 20-year-old tackles the so-called ‘green hell‘. On the 24.433 kilometre circuit in Germany’s Eifel region, the pair contests the four-hour race on Saturday in a 2007-spec Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – at the seventh round of the BFGoodrich Long Distance Championship Nürburgring (VLN). In the Cup-class (3B) they face around 20 other thoroughbred racing sports cars.
The long distance championship has been run since 1977. With a wide range of vehicles from standard cars to thoroughbred racers, drivers compete in various classes. The races run over four to six hours on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife and a short version of the Grand Prix circuit. On average, around 200 vehicles per weekend line up on the grid.
Marco Holzer: ‘This will be my first race on the Nordschleife and I’m really looking forward to it. Driving here is one of the greatest experiences for a race driver. I’m particularly looking forward to joining forces with Martin. He has a lot of race experience here so I’ll certainly be able to pick up some tips from him. The circuit is extremely long and you need a lot of time to familiarise yourself. I’m honoured that Olaf Manthey lets me race on the Nordschleife in my first year at Porsche. I’ll do my very best to repay his trust with a good result.’
Martin Ragginger: ‘This will be my third VLN Championship race. I contested the first two with Porsche works driver Richard Westbrook. We won our class in the first race, and led the second for quite some time before retiring with a technical problem. Marco and I have set our sights firmly on class victory. Olaf Manthey knows how to prepare a Porsche to be fast on the Nürburgring. He’s already shown this with three victories at 24 hour races. It’s fantastic that Olaf has taken us on for this race. It’s certainly not something we take for granted. I find it especially great that Marco and I share a car. I think he’ll learn fast and I hope that in the future we’ll enjoy many successful races on the Nürburgring.’
The seventh of nine rounds of the BFGoodrich Long Distance Championship Nürburgring takes off on 11th October at 12.00 hours.