On a normal day, the Nürburgring is heaven for car dorks. This weekend, over 200,000 racing fans—including me—will descend upon the ‘Ring to watch 151 utterly insane teams try to race for an entire day on the full 12.9-mile Nordscheleife course, and I can’t wait. My mind is slowly exploding from the awesomeness that awaits me at the Nürburgring 24 Hours race.
[Full disclosure: Porsche wanted us to check out the 43 Porsches it will have in the race and some other fun stuff it is bringing along so badly, it flew me out to the Nürburgring. I’ll probably use the airline miles to go back to the Nürburgring, if we’re honest. Because Nürburgring.]
Doing one lap of the Nürburgring’s infamously long, twisty Nordschleife course is enough for most people. It’s a true bucket-list item if there ever was one—a space for car people to drive as balls-out as they want to without fear of getting arrested in the appreciative company of like-minded hoons.
But it’s not just any old race track—it’s full of tall trees, fast straights and tight, sometimes blind turns, which makes the thought of just one 12.9-mile lap a bit intimidating for your everyday car nut.
Now try driving that in the dark, with occasionally unpredictable weather. While I found that one open “touristenfahrten” lap wasn’t all that bad given that most traffic was polite and it was easy to spot the yabos who weren’t, the thought of driving hours upon end out there breaks my brain a little bit in the absolute best way.
So, it’s not just the race I’m excited about. From rare cars and exotics to cars we don’t get in America to utter crapcans that get flogged within a millimeter of their mechanical tolerances, you see every conceivable form of vehicle on earth show up at the Nürburgring. It is a true cornucopia of wonderful mechanical things.
The campgrounds—some of which are more like full day-long parties—will probably be as interesting as the action on track. The fans manning those campgrounds are solidly our people. True Jalops, even if they don’t read this website. People who are passionate about cars, teams and the whole party related to those things.
And let’s not forget how rad the on-track action is. This isn’t a big-budget pro race like Le Mans or Daytona—it’s an extension of the grassroots VLN series that runs the ‘Ring all year. You get everything from big-budget GT3 efforts to an older, foxtail-wearing Opel Manta and numerous souped-up ‘Ring specials.
Competition for the top overall finish is incredibly close among those ultra-fast GT3 cars, and they’re out there with teams of fairly regular dudes. Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus even built their own car to dominate this race. At the other end, you’ve got Cup-spec Toyota 86s not too far off from the one I raced in the World Racing League race in Houston.
This is—conceivably—something you, a regular person, could even attempt if you hoarded money away for it, and it would be worth multiple months of eating ramen and leftover catered sandwiches at the track to say “I did that insane ‘Ring race.”
Out of everywhere I’ve ever been, the Nürburgring is the where I’m most likely to move if I win the lottery and/or strike oil in Mom’s yard. Ask me for romantic honeymoon suggestions, and I’ll probably tell you to go run the ‘Ring until you both barf. It’s an exceedingly difficult race track nestled among scenic rolling hills, which means it’s perhaps the most perfect place on earth. I’m off to see Germany’s premier grassroots-to-GT3-level race on it, and I couldn’t fathom of a better way to spend a weekend.
It’s my first time at this race weekend, which I’ve heard is so wild that the cars almost disappear in the crowd for the grid walk before the race. Where should I go? What should I see? And most importantly, what would you like to see from the ‘Ring this weekend?
Watch this space and our Instagram for a deluge of vehicular win this weekend.