Sussex racer Will Hunt lands podium on Nürburgring race debut
Will Hunt achieved a podium result on his Nürburgring Langstrecken-Serie debut (16-17 June), ranking third in the #501 Adrenalin Motorsport BMW 330i he shared with fellow Motorsport UK Academy graduate Toby Goodman and Germany’s Klaus Fassbender.
In the week leading up to the race, Adrenalin Motorsport promoted Hunt and teammate Goodman from a BMW 325i to a more powerful BMW 33Oi production touring car, placing them up against a much larger and more competitive field in the VT2 R+4WD class.
Preparations began with testing on the shorter Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit on Friday (16 June) and, while drivers were given access to the full 15-mile Nordschleife later in the day, each of Hunt’s stints on both configurations were compromised by Code 60s or protracted red-flag stoppages.
For Hunt, the priorities were to get fully acquainted with ‘The Ring’ and adapt his driving style to the BMW, which, in contrast to the ‘aero cars’ he’s accustomed to in the Radical SR1 Cup, relies solely on the mechanical grip provided by its tyres.
Exceptionally detailed information, feedback and guidance from his Adrenalin Motorsport team went some way to compensating for the loss of track-time and helped him achieve his objectives over the course of Friday testing and Free Practice the following morning (Saturday 17 June).
As a consequence, Hunt felt race-ready for NLS 4 – Round 4 of the 2023 Nürburgring Langstrecken-Serie – which commenced at midday on Saturday.
Goodman took the #501 BMW away from sixth in the VT2 R+4WD starting order, swiftly dispatching the #514 machine to hold P5 in class at the completion of the opening lap.
A technical issue for a rival then elevated Goodman up into the top four on the second tour of ‘The Green Hell’ and, while the podium runners edged away, the young Brit also dropped the chasing pack to consolidate fourth position.
Sussex-domiciled Hunt was plugged in for the middle stint after six laps and approximately one hour of racing, and the early phase of his maiden NLS outing was affected by multiple Code 60s and double waved yellows that cost anywhere between one and four minutes in lap time.
The gaps subsequently ebbed and flowed, but Hunt made net gains and breached the podium places at the expense of the #505 entry when the 240-minute race reached half-distance, despite suffering with a distinct lack of grip on heavily degraded tyres.
Hunt completed a demanding double stint that was a true test of his physical and mental strength just after the two-hour mark, passing the reins of the Sussex Autos-liveried #501 machine back to Goodman, who rounded-out his second race run in fourth.
It was Fassbender who had the responsibility of bringing the car home to the chequered flag, and the Nürburgring stalwart produced a solid drive to ascend back up to P3 in the final throes, securing a deserved class podium for himself, Goodman and NLS debutant Hunt.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to come away from my very first Nürburgring Langstrecken-Serie race with a podium,” said Hunt. “It’s exciting just to be here at such an iconic and infamous racetrack, and to finish third in class tops off an amazing experience that I’m pleased to have shared with Adrenalin Motorsport, my good friend Toby (Goodman) and Klaus (Fassbender).
“Looking at my own race performance, I’m really pleased with how it went. It’s satisfying to have brought my crew up into the podium fight during my double stint in the middle phase of the race, especially as there were plenty of Code 60s and double waved yellows to deal with.”
Hunt continued: “The tyres were well and truly past their best towards the end of my stint, so just keeping the car on the track was a challenge; there were some lurid moments, including one very big save when I asked far too much of the rears! It was definitely what you would call a ‘Code Brown’ moment on a track where there’s no room for error! It was also my first time racing a closed-cockpit car and it got really hot in there, but my training means I was fit enough to handle the conditions and maintain focus.
“In spite of all the challenges, I made progress and I’m more than happy with my overall showing. I’m also proud to have represented Sussex Autos at ‘The Ring’, and I’m delighted to bring home a podium finish for them. I’m so thankful for their support, which enabled me to take up this incredible opportunity. It’s a great way to start our partnership.”