Practice for the Nürburgring 24h is underway

We’ll be keeping a close eye on the Nürburgring 24h race this coming weekend, with Pistonspy photographer Tony Dewhurst providing us with trackside images as the event unfolds.

Since our interview with Dr Mario Theissen back in early February, through to joining the BMW Rahal Letterman team at the Sebring 12Hrs last month, we’ve been keen to witness the return of BMW to top-end endurance racing, with Nürburgring and Le Mans being the two major targets that we know Dr Theissen is eager to achieve success at.

BMW will be contesting their first Nürburgring 24h race since the all-conquering E46 M3 GTR was banned

Meanwhile there are other cars and teams where interesting stories are also unfolding. We have Lexus returning to the ‘ring with the LFA for the first time since it was released as a production car. The Gazoo team are back with a wide-bodied LFA that looks and sounds awesome. The cars will be driven by a mix of Japanese and German drivers, including Toyota master test driver Hiromu Naruse, Akira Ida, Takayuki Kinoshita, Juichi Wakisaka, Armin Hahne, Jochen Krumbach and Andre Lotterer. You can see a few images below, whilst there are plenty more images from today’s free practice on the Pistonspy website.

The Gazoo team return with their awesome Lexus LFA

Aston Martin return to the event for the fifth consecutive year in 2010, but the real interest this time is on their entry of the 4-door Rapide driven by Aston CEO Dr Ulrich Bez, Wolfgang Schuhbauer, Mathew Marsh and Aston’s development engineer Chris Porritt. More photos are available to view on Pistonspy of all the Aston’s taking part in the N24 this year.

Aston Martin have entered the 4-door Rapide which will be driven by CEO Dr Ulrich Bez

Other cars worth keeping an eye out for include the Porsche AG entries, firstly with it’s near-stock 911 GT3 RS driven by former World Rally Champion Walter Röhrl, but also Porsche’s 911 GT3 R Hybrid will be making it’s race debut under the wings of Team Manthey.

Walter Röhrl will be contesting his first N24 since 1993, unfortunately Williams F1 driver Nico Hülkenberg won't be driving but the GT3 R Hybrid will be making its race debut

There is a sizeable contingent of Audi R8s taking part (9 cars when last I counted), led by the factory supported team of Team Abt Sportsline, plus no fewer than 3 BMW Z4 GT3s and a mass of privateer entries making up the 250-car entry list.

There’s even a Ford Focus RS driven by last weekend’s WRC winner Jari-Matti Latvala, so you’re bound to find a car somewhere amongst the grid to support.

You can follow the race with live-timing available from the ADAC’s website, plus of course their streaming video channel and there will be many people twittering from the race including SkiddMark regular Kevin Mc Glone who you can follow at @GenevaAuto.