Sometimes the cars are big and scary, and one has to hide behind the armco!


It is very easy to focus on the big scary cars at the front of the grid when looking at, and writing about the VLN race series - as battles tend to be hard fought there, and with the current level of manufacturer backing, a lot of the promotional activities direct attention toward this.

However, further down the grid, there are the "Specials" - highly modified cars, which have to conform to some fairly relaxed standards, with different categories based on engine size, and whether or not the car has a turbo, and then the "Production" or V classes, where modification is very limited, and again they're subdivided based on engine size, to provide a rough balance of performance.

A Production class VW Scirocco R heading down to Eschbach


In the V classes, no aerodynamic modifications are allowed, the engine must remain standard, and one is limited on the modifications which can be made to brakes, and suspension.

The upshot of this, is whilst the cars are slower - with the quickest 'V' car being over a minute off the pace of the quickest "Special", the intra-class racing becomes less about how big a budget the team has, and more on driver skill.

Of course budgetary influences do continue to make a difference - for example through the numbers of tyres used, how fresh components are and other such things, but there is a possibility for competency  to outweigh cash.

Black Falcon Z4 3.0, racing in the V5 Class at Hocheichen

Additionally, as the overall VLN championship is based on class wins, and the size of ones class, it is possible to win that with a V car - and indeed this happens regularly, due to the large classes, and the competitiveness of the racing.

Furthermore it would be foolish to consider these cars slow - with the quickest ones completing the VLN lap (which is 25km, as includes the GP sprint circuit, plus the Nordschleife ) in about 9 mins 30, this equates to under sub 8 minute full lap of the Nordschliefe, which is still a very quick time.

BMW 325i racing in V4 jumping the kerb at Wipperman


So if you're thinking of taking part, do consider renting a seat in a V car, it will be a lot of fun, and whilst  the changes for this year (removing the sub 2 litre cars) have upset some, it has at least reduced the closing speeds, to the fastest cars, thus making it a slightly less scary experience!