Shooting for Top 40 at Nürburgring
Yet another thrilling session at the Nürburgring. This morning’s second qualifying session started off under variable weather conditions. The track gathered quite a lot of water during the early morning rain. We didn’t expect too much on track action as a result. But, as the track dried up, more and more cars left the pits to try and improve their first session lap times. More after the break.
Akira Iida – driving the GAZOO Racing Lexus LFA – popped in a lap time of 08:34.850. That’s 8 seconds faster than was achieved last night. This put the LFA up to 28th position overall, and cementing a Top 40 position. Most importantly, this means that the LFA will take part in the final Top 40 qualifying shoot out (I’ll explain how the format works later on).
GAZOO Racing Toyota GT86 #165 was our other car that ventured out into the changing conditions. It beat last night’s lap time by some 1.5 second as the track conditions came back towards the cars and drivers.
Both Toyota Swiss Racing Team’s cars decided to sit the session out but maintained their P1 and P2 qualifying positions in the V3 production cars class.
Top 40 shoot out explained
So, how does this Top 40 shoot out work? Well, the 10 fastest cars in the practice sessions of the three VLN rounds leading up to the 24-hour race automatically qualified to take part. The other 30 positions are then decided based on yesterday’s and today’s two qualifying sessions.
Once the Top 40 is decided on track, the drivers take part in a lottery to decide the starting positions for the shoot out. News from the paddock is that Iida-san was just confirmed to start from 26th position on the grid for the standing start.
Each car is split by 10 seconds during the warm-up lap before starting the 2-lap flyers which will then determine their starting positions for tomorrow’s race. All Top 40 drivers will also have to use slick, non-qualifying specific tyres. So, in effect, the Top 40 teams will take some form of penalty starting on used tyres.
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Oh, and I grabbed this clip while passing through the garage while the team prepared the GAZOO Racing cars for the off. It’s short, but it rings the beautiful sound of the Lexus LFA V10 engine revving in close quarters.
Final Qualifying Results (updated 22:30 CET)
|Lexus LFA||#83||1st (SP8)||32nd||08:36.190|
|Toyota GT86||#165||6th (SP3)||139th||10:29.832|
|Toyota GT86||#166||3rd (SP3)||117th||10:13.870|
Toyota Swiss Racing
|Toyota GT86||#200||1st (V3)||155th||10:55.128|
|Toyota GT86||#201||2nd (V3)||157th||10:56.024|
Update 18:30 CET: Top 40 shoot out begins