F1 » 2 May 2011
Blundell, Herbert for Nurburgring 24 Hours
Former F1 racers Mark Blundell and Johnny Herbert have joined VW's assault on the Nurburgring 24 Hours alongside a host of the marque's 'factory' drivers.
When the Volkswagen Golf returns to the legendary 24-hour race on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife from 23–26 June, a number of well-known Volkswagen drivers will be joined on the grid by former F1 racers Johnny Herbert and Mark Blundell.
The British pair, who have dabbled in various motorsport arenas since retiring from the top flight, will share the #235 Golf24 with VW protégés Edoardo Mortara, who won the 2010 F3 Euroseries before moving to the DTM, and Franck Mailleux, who has established himself as a sportscar racer at the Le Mans 24 Hours since giving up on his single-seater ambitions. The spectacular 440PS four-wheel drive Golf24 will be making its racing debut at the 'Green Hell', but VW motorsport director Kris Nissen believes he has the crew to succeed.
"We've managed to put together a very strong driver line-up for the 24-hour race," he says, "With Johnny Herbert and Mark Blundell joining our ranks, we have two experienced racers competing for us whose track records include victories in F1 and at the Le Mans 24 Hours. Both also contested the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup as 'Legends' in 2010, so it's fitting that, on the Golf GTI's 35th anniversary, they compete on the Nordschleife which, like the GTI itself, is truly a legend.
Volkswagen will field three Golf24 cars in June, with the #35 being driven by Porsche Supercup champion René Rast, former 24-hour racewinner Nicki Thiim and former DTM/WTCC driver Peter Terting, and the sister #135 in the hands of Swedish DTM ace Fredrik Ekblom and German co-drivers Thomas Mutsch and Patrick Simon, who are both thoroughly familiar with the Nordschleife.
"With our other driver line-up, we're perfectly set," Nissen concluded, "All of our drivers have plenty of experience on the world's toughest race track and will give everything to make a strong showing at the eagerly-awaited 24-hour race.'
Returning to the Nurburgring will be a happy 'homecoming' for Herbert, who claimed the last of his three F1 wins on the adjoining 'new' circuit with Stewart GP.
"The 24-hour race on the Nordschleife is a big thing, and I'm very much looking forward to it," the Briton admitted, "I clinched my last F1 victory on the Grand Prix circuit of the Nürburgring in 1999, so I always like coming back to the Eifel track. The Nürburgring has a very special meaning for me."
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