Space Drive Racing Team ready to ride twice around the clock through the Green Hell after training day
Nürburg: The first day of the 2020 ADAC TOTAL 24h Race was very successful for the #58 Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 with the Steer-by-Wire system from Schaeffler Paravan. The drivers Tim Scheerbarth, Niklas Steinhaus, Marvin Dienst and Kai Riemer mastered the two qualifying sessions with flying colours. Thus, the dress rehearsal for the 24h race with the Space Drive System, which does without a mechanical connection between the steering unit and the steering gear, was a success.
"We came here to drive through the 24h race to test the system in continuous use under the toughest test conditions on the Nordschleife," says Roland Arnold, CEO of Schaeffler Paravan GmbH & Co.KG and Managing Director of PARAVAN GmbH, where the system was developed as a driving and steering system for handicapped people. "The findings from this application bring us a significant step closer to our goal of further developing a system that can one day shape the entire vehicle industry."
The Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 as test carrier for Steer-by-Wire is supported by W&S Motorsport. The team around Patrick Wagner and Daniel Schellhaas prepared the racer perfectly, which was confirmed during the first qualifying session on Thursday afternoon from 12:30 pm. It was the first outing of the four drivers with the Space Drive System on the legendary and formidable Nürburgring Nordschleife. The experienced drivers coped excellently with the challenges of the track right from the start. In the field of about 100 race cars, of which almost 30 were GT3 cars, they finished in 55th place at 2 p.m. with a lap time of 9:18.793 minutes for the 25.378-kilometre 24h circuit variant, although lap times are not the focus of the test project and over the distance.
Qualifying two, which was held from 8.30pm to 11.30pm in the autumnal darkness of the Eifel forests and with rain setting in - thus making conditions more difficult - had also been mastered without any problems. Niklas Steinhaus took a soft touch with a BMW M6 GT3, but was able to continue his stint. After the car was checked as a precaution, it was only superficial scratches. The night session was then ended prematurely by the red flag half an hour earlier than planned due to an accident.
The first kilometres on the Nordschleife have been driven. Despite adverse weather conditions, we got through the first two qualifying sessions well and qualified directly. Space Drive has passed its first test on the Nordschleife.
"The first kilometres on the Nordschleife have been driven. Despite adverse weather conditions, we got through the first two qualifying sessions well and qualified directly. Space Drive has passed its first acid test on the Nordschleife," says Axel Randolph, Head of Racing at Schaeffler Paravan Technologie.
"I am surprised how well the steering works. I had a GT 4 in front of me in qualifying, so it's a nice reference. Our car can be driven in exactly the same way as with conventional steering and the turn-in points can be controlled accordingly," reported Nordschleife rookie Kai Riemer after the night qualifying.
"We made a few fine adjustments here and there and are now very confident for the race. Even in the dark we completed our compulsory programme without any problems," said Tim Scheerbarth. At the end of the post-qualification, rain set in and Marvin Dienst was the first to start in these conditions. He described afterwards: "Even in the rain everything worked well, too wet for slicks - it was actually still too dry for rain tyres. The rain tyres were then quickly at their limit, I'm looking forward to the race. The Cayman works very well in the rain, which gives me a lot of confidence. Survive the night and see where we end up at the end of the day. The full race distance is the first goal."
Impressions from the first day of testing
The top grid positions will then be determined in the top qualifying between 17:50 and 20:10. The start of the ADAC TOTAL 24h Race Nürburgring 2020 will then be on Saturday 26 September at 15:30. The entire race will be broadcast as a livestream with live timing until after the finish on Sunday 27 September at 3:30 pm on https://www.24h-rennen.de/im-netz-verfolgen/.