Two .@SCG003C built by Manifattura Automobili Torino, to take on the Nurburgring 24 Hours with the Lightspeed Racing Team
Two SCG003C, built by Manifattura Automobili Torino, to take on the Nurburgring 24 Hours with the Lightspeed Racing Team
Two SCG003Cs are ready to take on the mighty ‘Green Hell’ in the Nurburgring 24 Hour race this weekend, built by Italian firm MAT – Manifattura Automobili Torino – and entered by the Lightspeed Racing Team with Swiss motorsport specialist Traum Motorsport running the cars: Macchinadue (702) and Macchinaquattro (704). Behind the wheel of 702 will be Thomas Mutsch, Andrea Piccini, Felipe Laser and Franck Mailleux, while racing 704 will be Jeff Westphal and Andreas Simonsen, backed up by Laser and Mailleux (who will be in both cars).
MAT is a bespoke constructor based near Turin headed up by well-known engineer Paolo Garella, who has been responsible for some of the world’s most desirable one-off cars in the past. Thanks to the company’s renowned technological expertise, the SCG003C has already claimed several class victories at the Nurburgring and is now targeting overall victory.
“This is a highly ambitious target given the strength and resources of our rivals, but we believe that we have the capabilities to aim for that,” said Garella. “The SCG003C has been designed specifically for the Nurburgring using state-of-the-art technology, resulting in a GT style car but with LMP levels of downforce. This is what makes it unique, and these attributes will also be translated into our road car: launched at the Geneva Motor Show and available later this year. It truly takes all the lessons learned from the track and puts them onto the road. Before then, we face a phenomenal but thrilling challenge this weekend at the top level of GT Racing.”
The Nurburgring 24 Hours is the biggest test for the team this year and follows some incredible work at the qualifying race where 702 was leading right up until the last 30 minutes before retiring due to brake failure. The SCG003C was ahead of some of the world’s best-known manufacturers – including Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche – who all have the might of top factory programmes behind them, unlike SCG. So now the goal this weekend is to make history and become the first completely private entry to win at the Nurburgring. The team has been working flat-out to ensure both cars are prepared for what many call the most gruelling race in the world, at a legendary venue.
Chris Ruud, the owner of Lightspeed Racing Team, said: “We have worked really hard behind the scenes to rectify the issue from qualifying and the car is ready to take on the 24-hour challenge. It’s been a long journey to this point and I can’t thank the whole team enough for the effort they have put in to creating this amazing car. I can’t wait to see what we can do over the weekend.”
The drivers are equally ready to face this monumental challenge, which involves not only a race distance of around 4,000 kilometres but upwards of 200 cars on track and 800 individual competitors. Each driver is allowed to drive for a maximum of 150 minutes in one stint.
Jeff Westphal, who will be behind the wheel of 704, said: “Preparing for the Nurburgring 24 Hours is no small task. The driver, team and machine need to be fresh and ready at the start of the event for any hope of success as we are up against such a deep field of competitors, so I have been working extra hard to ensure I am as fit as possible to help SCG achieve history. It will be a team effort, but the SCG003C has great pace and is strong, so I am very optimistic of our chances."
The experienced Andrea Piccini, who joined the team this season and will be driving 702, said: “It's great to be back at the Nordschleife for one of the most challenging races in motorsport. I drove the car for a test day and at VLN1 and it feels like it has a great potential. My team mates did a fantastic job in the qualifying race and showed very good pace so I'm sure we can be competitive and fight at the front. As always in this race, it will be matter of reliability, consistency, staying away from trouble, and a bit of luck as well. Let's hope that the weather will help us through the race because the whole team is very motivated and has been working hard to prepare for this race so they would deserve a proper result.”
Andreas Simonsen, another driver in 704, added: “After the last race I think we showed the other teams that we are contenders for the 24-hour race. We had good pace throughout the whole weekend and we completed perfect pit stops. The team really has come together now in all aspects so we going to go for it at the 24 Hours.”
Two drivers will be driving both cars: Franck Mailleux and Felipe Laser. For Laser, it will be a particularly significant outing, as he will be out for revenge after being deprived of taking the flag to win the qualifying race a few weeks ago, following an amazing team performance.
He said: “Of course that was disappointing, but what’s more important is the fact that we showed we have to take what it takes to win. The Nurburgring 24 Hours is the toughest and most unpredictable race in the world, no question, but all the ingredients are now in place.”
Despite the massive competition that is a hallmark of the race, the biggest opposition as always is the track itself. With its unique 25-kilometre layout that combines the grand prix circuit and the Nordschleife, it features around 150 mostly blind corners (depending on how you define them). The weather is incredibly unpredictable – last year’s event was interrupted by the beginnings of a snowstorm – while fog and rain are also a strong possibility at some point.
Free practice for the Nurburgring 24 Hours takes place today (Thursday 25 May) at 15.50, followed by qualifying one at 20.05. Qualifying two is on Friday 26 May at 09.30, with the top 30 qualifying taking place at 19.50. The warm up is on Saturday 27 May at 08.15 with the 24-hour race starting at 15.30.
Credit: Hide Ishiura