- Nurburg, Germany
- 16 miles (GP and Nordschleife circuits)
- 98 turns
- 930′ of elevation change
- 24 hours
- Start time: 3:30pm (Nurburg local time)
Begun as a public works project in 1925, and completed in 1927, the Nurburgring is synonymous in the motorsports pantheon as one of the elite circuits in the world. Mentioning its name instantly conjures in the mind of any enthusiast the ultimate test of a driver’s skill and car. Jochen Rindt described the circuit once as “Difficult to drive, easy to die”. Endurance racing takes a challenging circuit that takes total commitment and focus of man and machine to complete a perfect lap, then asking them to repeat that feat of perfection for 24 hours. Simple, no? Like Le Mans, the ADAC Total 24H race welcomed no fans for this year’s installment, moved from the traditional May-June timetable to September, and only allowed a limited numbers of journalists to witness the field of 102 cars* made up of 20 classes compete.
The circuit itself is one challenge for the teams to master, the location in the Eifel mountains brings another they can’t, the weather. At this circuit it can be raining on one section, and dry on another. With the elevation changes and corners moisture can collect on one side of the track yet not the other. Fog and rain are the biggest threats to man and machine after driver error, and mechanical failure. Almost every race I’ve watched has involved either fog or rain or a combination of both that have either reduced speed on the course or brought out red flags temporarily suspending racing until the weather improved. Read my post on Le Mans if you want more specific challenges faced in endurance racing. Jalopnik did a nice writeup of life in the pit lane during the 2018 race HERE.
My personal favorite going into the race would be Manthey-Racing running Porsche 911’s. They are a Porsche tuner and parts manufacturer. They’ve won the event 6 times, and as recently as 2018. As fate would have it they were forced to withdraw which opened up opportunities for other teams. In the end the red flag halted racing for several hours after 10 pm local time, and would not resume until 8am the next morning. After racing resumed Rowe Racing’s BMW M6 GT3 would cross the line first when time expired. The Audi R8 LMS’s which had been leading for stretches of the race managed to finish 2nd, with another BMW M6 rounding out the podium for 3rd.
Some interesting facts over the course of 24 hours
- Laps completed: 87**
- Distance traveled: 1,392 miles
- Tires changed: 15 sets of tires***
- Fuel consumed: 435 gallons***
*2 teams withdrew before the start of the race.
**Normally race conditions provide up to 150-160 laps
***stats besides # of laps completed are estimated for the winning car