One spectator killed, others injured, at VLN Endurance event in Germany

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Officials at the VLN Endurance Championship in Germany have confirmed that one spectator has died and others have been injured after an incident at the Nurburgring today.

Following an incident involving the No. 23 Nissan GT-R being raced by British driver Jann Mardenborough at the time, the race was red flagged.

Pictures from the scene show Mardenborough’s car upside down on the spectator side of the catch fencing at Flugplatz corner, which is part of the Nordschleife circuit.

The event organizers have issued the following statement:

“In the opening round of the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring, an accident happened on Saturday in which several spectators were injured.

“One of them died despite immediately initiated rescue operations in the Medical Center of the circuit. The other injured spectators were taken for further medical care to the hospital. The race was stopped to allow quick access to the scene of the rescue services and not restarted.

“At Flugplatz, a racing vehicle drove off for a yet unknown reason from the track and came to a halt behind the safety features of the circuit.

“The VLN and the organizer of the race are deeply saddened, and our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims.”

Nissan has also issued a statement:

During today’s ‘VLN 1’ race at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, a serious incident occurred involving the No.23 Nissan.

The car is reported to have left the track at the ‘Flugplatz’ section and vaulted the catch fencing, landing on its roof in a spectator area.

Several spectators were injured in the incident and despite immediate efforts one of them succumbed to their injuries. The others have been taken immediately to hospital for care.

The driver, Jann Mardenborough got out of the car and, after initial checks in the circuit Medical Centre, has been taken to hospital for further routine checks.

Today’s events have been a tragedy. We are all deeply shocked and saddened by these events and our immediate thoughts go to the deceased, those injured and their families and friends.

The team is fully co-operating with the race organisers to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into this incident.

This story will be updated upon further information from VLN.

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.