The race is part of M's 50th-anniversary celebrations.
The Nurburgring 24 Hours is a big race. In many ways, it's just as- if not more- demanding than the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans. It takes place on a combination of the Ring's GP circuit and the Nordschleife, and its scale cannot be overstated. Because the loop spans over 15 miles of track, over 200 cars often participate across different classes.
It's a great way for manufacturers to go racing outside of F1, and now the Nurburgring 24's most successful manufacturer is back. Just before the race, BMW will hold a sort of "race of champions" using its BMW M2 race cars. The catch? Every driver in the race must be over 50 years old.
BMW has some pretty clear reasons for the requirement. You die-hard BMW fans may know that this year is M's 50th anniversary- hence the age requirement, as well as the reason for the race itself. The twelve drivers will race the Nurburgring's GP circuit just before the race on May 28. There are some pretty serious names going as well. 75-year-old ex-F1 driver Jochen Mass will be there, as will the 78-year-old Prince Leopold of Bavaria.
The latter actually has quite the history in racing despite his royal blood, winning the North American touring car championship with Porsche in 1972. Mass, of course, is a very well-known name among F1 fans. He's also raced at Le Mans a shocking 12 times, winning there with Sauber-Mercedes in 1991.
The experienced competitors will be driving BMW's M2 racer. Specs on that car are somewhat wishy-washy. BMW offers several power levels for its M2 racer, ranging from 280 to 450 hp. Regardless, the car still uses BMW's original M2 motor, which is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that drives the rear wheels. It's also got some incredibly cool air jacks (like the Le Mans car), and a stripped-out interior. Given the driver's skill level, BMW has said power levels will be set at 365 hp for all cars, with a special 1970s throwback livery. However, BMW hasn't said what that'll look like.
Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M said: "This year we will be celebrating a huge anniversary party on the weekend of the 24-hour race at the Nurburgring to mark the 50th anniversary of BMW Motorsport and BMW M GmbH." Ahead of the new M2's debut this year, a race comprised of some motorsport heavy-hitters in the last car before its refresh should be something special.
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