Friday, May 31, 2013

24 Hours of Nürburgring Photo Gallery

So far this year, Spring in Germany has been a season filled with cold and rain. Perfect weather for a 24 hour endurance race around the Nordschleife's hundreds of turns. I rolled in on Monday afternoon to catch the final hours of the race and snap some pictures. What I found was a bunch of AMG SLS's and BMW Z4's trying to run down the leading Aston which they eventually did. Also on hand were another seventy or so race cars, huge piles of empty beer bottles, and thousands of weary Germans neatly tidying camp sites and taking down home made viewing platforms as the race ground down to the final minutes. Lots of pictures after the jump.

I really wanted to discuss the Nürburgring without referring to Jackie Stewart's "Green Hell" remark but it's difficult to describe just how green this place is. Weeks of rain have fed vegetation of every variety and once the track leaves the area around the Grand Prix course, it basically just winds through miles of forest. It's a narrow strip of asphalt ringed with Aramco through the woods.

Cars are divided into three or four classes, of which the fastest and slowest are easily identified. At the top are essentially GT3 cars mostly consisting of AMG SLS's, BMW Z4's, Audi R8's, Porsche 911 and the lone Aston Martin. Most classes follow a similar trend with heaps of German cars and a few foreigners in the mix. Carrying the American flag on track were a C6R Corvette, second generation Viper, and Jeep XJ support vehicle. Aston Martin had the best showing of the British and also had a Rapide and several touring cars on track. A lone TVR also represented her Majesty.

Rounding out the field are several dozen Porsche 911, scores of BMW 3 series, and a few Seat's, Renault's, Peugeot's, Toyota's and Nissan's. My personal favorites were the Opel Manta and Benz 190E 2.5-16 EVOII. I hope each one has been through this a few times and will be back for more. Also of note, was an exquisite Benz Unimog camp vehicle with viewing platform. At least one guy is making it out of that muddy campsite.

So I've been in Germany five months and I finally made it to the Nordshleife. I think I understand why everyone makes such a big deal out of this place. Sure it's a long race track, but it's a long interesting race track. I don't know when, but I'll be back. Hat tip to Dushyant for showing me around and cheering for the Aston.

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