The Solstice with the Mostest: 10 Sights From the Nürburgring 24

Story and Photography by J.G. Pasterjak

 

ADAC Total 24 Hours Nürburgring

WHERE: Nürburgring, Nürburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

WHEN: June 22–23

 

These days, the sports car event calendar has more twice-around-theclock races than you can shake a stick at, but the 24 Hours Nürburgring remains unique–and not just for its historic venue, which combines the Nürburgring GP circuit and the Nordschleife itself. Sharing the track for this contest are more than 150 factory-supported pro teams and amateur club racers. Time differentials for these cars are measured in minutes per lap around the 26-kilometer circuit.

Apart from the on-track spectacle, the scene around the event must be seen to be believed. While the official number of fans in attendance this year was listed at 230,000, the real number was likely tens of thousands higher simply due to the size and scope of the track, which winds through no fewer than four villages in a single lap. Those numbers make it the largest spectator sporting event in Europe and one of the largest in the world. If you ever make the trip (and we highly suggest you do, because it’s worth it), here’s a bit of what you can expect to see.

1. Hyundai was at the Nürburgring in force, campaigning TCR cars for both the headlining 24-hour contest and the World Touring Car Championship races held Friday and Saturday morning. The manufacturer won the first WTCC race of the weekend, and nearly took the TCR class in the 24 after a ferocious comeback from deep in the field.

2. The Nürburgring is a local industry. The gas station across from the track will happily sell you some Pringles if you're hungry—or a Bell helmet if you're hungry for speed.

3. Painting your plywood splitter before the major international competition is peak race car.

4. Fans begin arriving days—even weeks—before the race to build elaborate camping facilities. Within 24 hours of the race ending, you'd hardly know they were ever there. Kudos to German race fans for cleaning up as thoroughly as they party.

5. American Jim Briody ran his 19th Nürburgring 24-hour enduro, marking the 97th 24-hour race of his career. He expects to compete in his 100th later this fall at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin.

6. One of the highlights of the weekend is the Nürburgring Classic. This 3-hour enduro for historic race cars features intense racing, with post-race teardowns confirming the legality of the top cars.

7. When you're in the right place at the right time, you just might catch the president of Toyota climbing into his company's latest creation. Akio Toyoda was on the driver roster as the brand-new Supra made its international endurance racing debut.

8. Tire management is a huge factor for many teams. Large squads running multiple cars tend to have their own tire maintenance facilities in their paddock, where they prep and preheat tires while cycling takeoffs to the mounting facilities in a flurry of organized chaos.

9. The Giti Tire VW Golf effort—an all-female team of drivers and engineers—ran into oil pressure trouble, requiring an engine replacement. They got it done in time to take the checker.

10. The battle for the race lead was a 24-hour-long game of musical chairs, with many swaps coming not on passes but after the leader suffered incidents, pit mistakes or penalties. The most dramatic was the final major lead change, when the No. 911 Manthey Porsche incurred a 5-plus-minute penalty for speeding in a yellow flag zone, handing the eventual win to the No. 4 Phoenix Performance Audi R8. The Porsche was subsequently disqualified from its second-place spot after failing a post-race dyno test—or, more precisely, after succeeding too hard at a post-race dyno test.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more Hyundai and 24 Hours of Nürburgring articles.
Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
NGTD
NGTD UberDork
12/19/19 2:07 p.m.

Came in looking to see a race-ready Pontiac - I am disappoint

Other cool cars though!!

NorseDave
NorseDave Reader
12/19/19 10:06 p.m.

10. The battle for the race lead was a 24-hour-long game of musical chairs, with many swaps coming not on passes but after the leader suffered incidents, pit mistakes or penalties. The most dramatic was the final major lead change, when the No. 911 Manthey Porsche incurred a 5-plus-minute penalty for speeding in a yellow flag zone, handing the eventual win to the No. 4 Phoenix Performance Audi R8. The Porsche was subsequently disqualified from its second-place spot after failing a post-race dyno test--or, more precisely, after succeeding too hard at a post-race dyno test.

Ok, gonna have to take issue with this.  It may have not been for the final lead change, but without question the most dramatic lead change was Kevin Estra's pass ON THE GRASS at 170mph.  The English commentary during and following that pass was almost as epic and just as memorable.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
12/19/19 11:11 p.m.
NorseDave said:

10. The battle for the race lead was a 24-hour-long game of musical chairs, with many swaps coming not on passes but after the leader suffered incidents, pit mistakes or penalties. The most dramatic was the final major lead change, when the No. 911 Manthey Porsche incurred a 5-plus-minute penalty for speeding in a yellow flag zone, handing the eventual win to the No. 4 Phoenix Performance Audi R8. The Porsche was subsequently disqualified from its second-place spot after failing a post-race dyno test--or, more precisely, after succeeding too hard at a post-race dyno test.

Ok, gonna have to take issue with this.  It may have not been for the final lead change, but without question the most dramatic lead change was Kevin Estra's pass ON THE GRASS at 170mph.  The English commentary during and following that pass was almost as epic and just as memorable.

You're not wrong here, but this kind of shows the danger of having a limited perspective on the ground. I probably wrote this before I had a chance to go back and look through the race highlights for stuff I missed from the coverage when I was away from the press room. The place is just so bloody big that when I go out to shoot photos or troll the pits, it's easy to lose track of what's going on with the race. 

wspohn
wspohn Dork
12/20/19 4:46 p.m.
NGTD said:

Came in looking to see a race-ready Pontiac - I am disappoint

 

Me too.

Our Preferred Partners
CwnkgPP59zkvUGRp6cULpgw9cZo4vcur5CrFhRNmw3EAXZ8PUbxN7cIoYQcJdKom