The man that jumped from the edge of space will soon face the Green Hell.
Felix Baumgartner, whose 24-mile space dive as part of the 2012 Red Bull Stratos project made him a worldwide celebrity, was scheduled to take part in the 2013 Race of Champions in Bangkok before the event was ultimately cancelled due to political unrest.
But the Austrian will soon have another challenge ahead of him: The Nurburgring 24 Hours.
Baumgartner will be taking part as a “gentleman driver,” but he’ll have some steady veterans to help him. His team’s co-drivers, Frank Biela, Marco Werner and Pierre Kaffer, have nine 24 Hours of Le Mans victories between them.
Additionally, Baumgartner’s hoping that his past experience in rallying can work in his favor as well as he navigates the treacherous course.
“I think that experience will count for a lot at the Nürburgring, because I think the Nordschleife is a little bit like rally driving,” he says in a story on Red Bull’s official site. “It’s not like a normal race track: it goes up and down, there’s a lot of hills, a lot of corners and conditions that can change swiftly. So, if you come from a rally background, it really helps.”
Baumgartner’s enlisted a former World Rally Championship competitor, Sepp Haider, to serve as his mentor for this adventure. He says the relationship between him and Haider is “pretty much the same” as the one he had with Joe Kittinger, the retired U.S. Air Force colonel who guided him on “Stratos.”
He knows that not many people are giving him much of a chance to do well at the Nurburgring next month. But then again, there probably weren’t that many who though he could break the speed of sound in his dive from space – and we know how that turned out.
“People criticise my decision. They say that with no race experience you cannot compete at the Nürburgring 24 Hours,” he said. “But the Audi Driving Experience and myself have come up with the perfect game plan – and we have the opportunity to prove to everyone our plan works.”