Caitlin Wood makes NLS debut as 2022 season gets underway at the Green Hell
At the start of the 2022 NLS season, five women in three different teams were set to kick-off their campaigns at the Nordschleife; while the 'Girls Only' team was hit by bad luck, W Series star Caitlin Wood made a great debut at the Green Hell with a fifth in class, at her return to endurance racing.
The Nürburgring-based NLS championship kicked-off the 2022 racing season at the mighty Nordschleife with the 67. ADAC Westfalenfahrt race and, as per tradition in the german series, several female drivers were supposed to take the start on Saturday: five women in three teams could be found on the entry list of NLS 1, including the all-female project 'Girls Only' by WS Racing. The Giti Tire-sponsored team – which famously won the ADAC 24H race last year in GT4 class – lined up a star-studded trio, with Carrie Schreiner, Christina Nielsen and Fabienne Wohlwend in a brand-new BMW M4 GT4. The team has significantly grown year after year, is expanding its operations to LMP3 racing and targets more class wins in NLS this year, when Carrie, Christina and Fabienne will also be joined by Frenchwoman Célia Martin. Together, they will try to race again at the 24 hours of Nürburgring later in May. Making her endurance racing return was also W Series driver Caitlin Wood, who shared the Adrenalin Motorsport's #501 BMW with Julian Hanses and Alex Toth-Jones in the very competitive VT2 class. "We are happy to announce that we enhance our team again with another fast lady, competing together with pretty fast boys on the #501 in VT2 class" – stated the team, having lined up Fabienne Wohlwend in selected races in 2021. Australian Caitlin Wood moved into single seater territory in 2019 with her debut in W Series, but brought both her formula and GT experience to Adrenalin Motorsport after competing in GT4 Europe, Blancpain GT Series, Lamborghini SuperTrofeo and at the Bathurst 12H race in the past. Another returnee was Sophia Gachot, who entered the V5 class together with Holger Gachot and Finn Albig for MSC Denau e. V. im ADAC. The first turn of events unfortunately occurred on Friday, with a high speed accident ruling out the 'Girls Only' team from the whole weekend. Due to debris on track, Christina Nielsen had a tire blow which resulted in a high speed impact at the fast section of Tiergarten, damaging the car beyond repair. Luckily, Nielsen was unhurt and will hopefully come back with the rest of the team for the next NLS race in two weeks' time. "Unfortunately we are out of this weekend’s race", said the two-time IMSA champion. "I had a tire failure from debris at the end of Tiergarten going 270 km/h and the car is beyond repairable." "Thank you to the team and my teammates for their support and BMW for building a strong car that protected me when I was a passenger sent into the guard rail", she added. The qualifying session wen underway on a very sunny Saturday - as a new track record was set by Axcil Jefferies (Konrad Motorsport) with a 7:50.370 lap in the the #7 Lamborghini Huracan GT3, ahead of the #44 BMW Junior Team (Daniel Harper/ Max Hesse/ Neil Verhagen) and the #16 Scherer Sport Team Phoenix (Jakub Giermaziak/ Kim Luis Schramm/ Ricardo Feller). Caitlin Wood (Adrenalin Motorsport Team Alzner Automotive) qualified fifth in VT2-R+4WD, as well as Sophia Gachot's #445 Porsche Cayman slotted in P5 in her class. Coming from P4 on the grid, Patrick Pilet (#3) had a rocket start and moved into the lead, soon pulling away. But the good start was not enough, as the Falken-Porsche came together with a Porsche Cayman on lap 7, ending the race of both crews. With over an hour left on the clock, Niklas Krütten (#20) was in the lead, ahead of Laurens Vanthoor (#911) and Christopher Mies (#29). Krütten wasn't able to break away and would be later passed by the two pursuing cars. In an action-filled battle for the first place, Mies risked it with a spectacular pass on the grass. After a few position changes, Jusuf Owega and Frederic Makowiecki got behind the wheel of the #29 and the #911 to bring them to the chequered flag - and it would be the latter to cross the finish line for the "Grello" Porsche. The first outing at the Green Hell for Caitlin Wood and her team ended with a solid P5 in the VT2-R+4 WD class – a successful effort in a strong category. Caitlin had a stressful, but sunny stint, marked by several Code 60 phases. The main goal was to bring the car home and she definitely delivered in style. "P5 in class is not a bad way to end a crazy weekend" – she told us after her first race at the Nürburgring. "I absolutely loved the Nordschleife, it was such a crazy race which I enjoyed a lot." "It's nice to be back in the endurance paddock, it's something that I have always enjoyed. We have wanted to do NLS for a while now and finally things just fell into place for it to happen this year." "The main goal is to get the racing laps to qualify for my permit A. I'm just happy to be racing!" Wood has often expressed interest in competing in endurance racing, with the ultimate goal of reaching the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Sophia Gachot and her team started P5 and finished P6 in the V5 class. The second race of the season – the 46th NIMEX DMV 4 hours at the Nürbugring – will take place on 9th April, and hopefully we will have an even bigger field of female entries.