ADAC GT Masters leader René Rast competes in prototype classOliver Gavin, Nicki Thiim and Jeroen Bleekemolen also on the gridFarnbacher Racing supporting Japanese Ferrari team
The ADAC GT Masters went into summer recess at the end of the Red Bull Ring weekend. For championship leader René Rast (27, GER), Red Bull Ring double winner Oliver Gavin (41 GB), Nicki Thiim (25, DK) and Jeroen Bleekemolen (32, NL), however, preparations began immediately for the highlight of the sports car racing calendar, with all four drivers booked to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans (14th/15th June). Now entering its 82nd year, the legendary endurance race in the west of France ranks as the most prestigious sports car challenge in the world. The four ADAC GT Masters drivers will be competing at Le Mans in different vehicles and in different classes. Rast and Thiim are both lining up in the competition for the first time. The ADAC GT Masters championship leader will be driving an open prototype in the LMP2 class powered by a Nissan engine as a team-mate of rally legend Sébastien Loeb. After putting in his first laps on the 13.6km circuit, which consists mainly of cordoned-off public roads, Rast was full of enthusiasm: "First of all, there is a long straight which is nothing special. But then comes the twisty section. All in all, it's an incredible and fantastic track." Rast's ADAC GT Masters co-driver Nicki Thiim will be competing in an Aston Martin entered by the former ADAC GT Masters team Young Driver AMR in the GT class for privateers. "The whole event is just amazing," said the Dane, looking forward to making his debut in this 24-hour classic which the organisers predict will pull in more than 250,000 spectators. Corvette works driver Gavin will be making his 14th appearance at Le Mans, having already triumphed in his class three times in recent years. This year, he comes fresh from having won both races at the ADAC GT Masters weekend in Austria and will be driving the latest incarnation of the Corvette - the C7.R - as a member of the works team. Meanwhile, Bleekemolen will be swapping his customary Corvette for a Porsche 911. The Dutchman is contesting Le Mans for the ninth time and already has a class win to his credit. Farnbacher Racing are also involved in the event: the crew headed by Horst Farnbacher is supporting a Ferrari team from Japan who are entering a 458 Italia with ex-Formula 1 driver Shinji Nakano at the wheel. The 82nd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans starts on Saturday at 3pm CEST. For Rast, Thiim and Bleekemolen, the race is the start of a 48-hour marathon, as the trio are also booked to appear in the ADAC Zurich endurance race at the Nürburgring the following weekend. The ADAC GT Masters goes into the second half of the season on the weekend of 8th - 10th August at the Slovakia Ring in Bratislava.