Shift Up Now Athlete Pippa Mann, along with teammates Celia Martin and Carrie Schreiner, won in the SP8T GT4 class – and finished 4th overall out of the 14 GT4 cars entered – on Saturday, April 1, 2023 at the Nurburgring.
The trio, along with their all-female team of mechanics, engineers and crew, brought home the first win of the season in the Giti Tires “Girls Only” BMW M4 GT4.
The race was the second round of the German NLS series, which takes place on the Nurburgring Nordschleife race track, on a slightly shorter loop than the ADAC Total 24 Hour race. The four-hour endurance race on the 24.4km course featured 132 cars entered across various classes. These included GT3 cars, Porsche Cup cars, touring cars and 14 GT4 cars split across the two GT4 classes that run at the Nurburgring for the NLS events, and the ADAC Total 24 Hour race.
Practice for the event on Friday featured the region’s notorious “Eifel Weather,” a mix of fog and rain that gives the Nordschleife it’s nickname, “The Green Hell.”
During those conditions on Friday, Mann, Martin and Schreiner focused on turning as many laps as possible and getting comfortable in the team’s new BMW M4 GT4 on the wet racetrack.
Mann was second in the car, turning three laps on the Giti Tires wet-weather tire. She then returned for another run later in the session as the track started to dry. Mann made it through two third of a lap on the Nordschleife before heavy rain aborted the run.
Qualifying on Saturday morning featured similar conditions as all three drivers took to the track. Martin was the last driver in the car, setting the fast time and qualifying the team in the middle of the GT4 field.
As the noon race start time drew near, the forecasted heavy rain never came and the track continued to dry. Martin was the starting driver, and made the brave, but ultimately correct decision to start the race on “cut slick tires” instead of wet-weather tires. As the green flag dropped, she took the car to P1 in the class. During the first stint of the race, she was P2 overall of the GT4 cars.
Outside of the racing line, the racetrack was greasy and slippery. Several accidents caused various areas of the race track to be under speed-limited conditions. In these areas, drivers were not to exceed specific kph and were not allowed to overtake another vehicle. A mistake in one of these zones cost the team some time when they were forced to serve a 45-second penalty.
Mann was the final driver in the Giti Tires BMW M4 GT4, running the 90 minutes to the end of the race. The entire field stayed on slick tires throughout, despite several small showers on parts of the race track, and occasional sleet. Mann set the second fastest lap of the race for the team, and brought the car home with the first win of the season.
“I’m so thankful to WS Racing and Giti Tire for allowing me to come over for this race as a warm-up for the 24 Hour Race this May,” said Mann. “I also want to thank Bell Techlogix for their support of Shift Up Now, which helps pay for my travel for these events.
“The mixed conditions this weekend threw a lot at me, but I’m so much better prepared for the 24 Hour Race now, having gotten to compete this weekend in NLS2. The new BMW M4 GT4 is by far my favorite GT4 car I’ve ever driven, and I’m pretty pleased with getting below the nine-minute mark on this layout in the race today. I can’t wait to come back and do this again in May.”
Qualifying for this year’s ADAC Total 24 Hour Race will take place on May 18-19, 2023, followed by the race on the 25.3km track layout on May 20-21, 2023.