24h Nürburgring – Olaf Manthey: “The biggest mistake on the ring is…”
Olaf Manthey, what are your goals for the anniversary race this weekend?
Olaf Manthey (67): As with every start, there is only one goal, and that is to fight for the top step of the podium. Anything else would just be wasting money.
You are officially retired. What role do you currently play in the team?
As a shareholder, I make sure that the coal is right and I still look after some of our long-standing customers. Of course, I am informed about all processes in the team and am happy to offer advice. In fact, I get asked for advice from time to time (laughs).
And how do you follow the race?
Very relaxed from our lounge. I no longer let myself be seen in the box.
Who are your favorites overall?
There are at least two handfuls of winning teams. And then there are the ones that you don’t necessarily think of immediately, but which are always good for a surprise. Naming a clear favorite is impossible.
What are the keys to success on the ring?
Four things: a perfectly prepared car; having the best possible technical partners at your side; a top driver team that focuses on the success of the team without personal ego; and a bit of luck. The biggest mistake would be to think you have everything under control.
Why is the Eifelmarathon so special?
Mainly because of the incomparable race track. I’ve raced here for 30 years and every single one has been a challenge. One must never lose respect for the course. Then there is the unique atmosphere with the thousands of fans along the route and the capricious weather typical of the Eifel, which can occur at any time.
The eternal point of discussion is that difference in speed between the cars. Your opinion?
Speed isn’t the issue. There are also cars in the classes of near-series vehicles that we can only overtake with a GT3 racing car slowed down by BOP with difficulty. The quality of the drivers is more important. A lot of people ride in the middle of the track because they don’t think they can do anything wrong. The driver of a faster vehicle then does not know whether to overtake on the left or on the right. This leads to misunderstandings and accidents.
How has the 24-hour race changed from 1970 to today?
In the past, the drivers had to be much more considerate of the material, so sometimes put in a few calm laps in order to cover the distance without technical problems. Nevertheless, it was physically much more strenuous for the drivers without electronic driving aids. Today the pilots are sitting in fast-paced pinball machines.
On the other hand, the race is mentally much more strenuous because it consists of a series of qualifying laps for 24 hours. And with enormous pressure to succeed. Every driver has to accept that with such a high level of performance, even a small mistake can lead to falling back significantly and losing the race.
Personal details: Olaf Manthey
After a successful driver’s career, he founded his team in 1996. With seven wins (2006-2009, 2011, 2018, 2021), the team is the record winner of the Ring Classic and the defending champion
Nitro is planning a new world record for live broadcasting and will be entered in the Guinness Book of World Records!
Friday, May 27, 6:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.: Top qualifying
Saturday, May 28, 1:15 p.m. to Sunday, May 29, 4:40 p.m.: Live races
Live stream: youtube.com/24hNBR