In order to increase safety for the 2016 Nürburgring 24-Hour race, organizers will mandate that GT3 race cars be 10-percent less powerful than they were at the 2015 race. The move is a response to an accident in March this year, when Jann Mardenborough went airborne in his Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 during a VLN race. The accident happened at the especially tricky Flugplatz section, killing a spectator when Mardenborough's car ripped through the fencing. That led to organizers slapping three sections of the track with speed limits that topped out at 250 kilometers per hour during the 24-Hour race two months later while they worked on a permanent solution. The speed limits applied outside of races, too, putting future lap records in doubt.

Saying, "Suddenly, we saw that we had reached a certain limit," ex-driver Hans-Joachim Stück headed an investigation by the German motorsport association into the crash and track safety. There are usually around 18 classes in the race, the four top ones - SP9/GT3, SP7, SP-Pro, and SP-X - will face power reductions of 10 percent come next May. This year, organizers permitted teams more downforce to address the speed restrictions, but next year there will be increased aero restrictions and a mandated higher ride height, resulting in less downforce. Stück said, "Manufacturers and most suppliers now understand that they have to do their part in order for the cars to not go faster by several seconds each year."

Tire companies get reined in, too, organizers banning the super-sticky "extreme" and experimental compounds. The companies will also be required to register with the German motorsport association prior to the events they enter. Drivers will have to be happy about not having to monitor their speeds during a race. But we'll have to wait and see what effect ten-percent less power and less aero, plus track roadwork changes, have on the racing.

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The List #0073: Drive the Nurburgring


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