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  • Writer's pictureTereza Černá

Romanticizing the 24H of Nürburgring


Nürburgring is a track with magical atmosphere, especially during the iconic 24 hours race that hundred thousands fans of endurance racing and GT visit every year.

 

Set in the Eifel mountains close to the French borders, the ‘Green Hell’ as the Nordschleife is sometimes referred to is regarded as the most dangerous circuit in the world. It’s full of history. History, that every motorsport fan is aware of to some extent or less. From Niki Lauda’s near deathly crash in F1, Porsche setting records with their prototypes to the introduction of one of the most powerful female role models in motorsport - Sabine Schmitz.


Attending the iconic 24 hour race at this breathtakingly beautiful circuit was on my bucket list for a very long time - so with this, I would like to officially thank Sharky Racing for inviting me. It was truly a dream come true. Additionally, I’m really sorry about the weekend not going as planned with the cars.


The 24 hours of Nürburgring is one of the biggest races held in Germany - now that F1 doesn’t race there anymore, probably the biggest. Around 130 cars lineup on the start; GT3s, GT4s, TCRs but also the Dacia Logan and Opel Manta - who have a significant culture surrounding them. (RIP our beloved Dacia Logan).


After some snooping around in the shops at the Boulevard, I went to the paddock for the first time, while DTM classic was on track for one of their support races. It’s important to mention that I arrived on Friday late at night, my first day at the event was Saturday, so all the practice sessions and qualifyings were already determined.


The paddock had an atmosphere like no other - everybody had access to it, including general admission. Fans could walk up to their favorite drivers and cars and nobody questioned it, which is something I have learned to love. Different teams had set up their fan spaces, with the biggest one being Mercedes. Not only did Mercedes have special car liveries (most notably the GetSpeed of Juncadella, Gounon, and Engel) but they also had limited edition fan merch, signing wall, the F1 safety car and the F1 W13 car. Mentioning Mercedes, their limited edition 24h NBR hoodie is keeping me warm as I am writing this piece.


One of the most frequent questions asked on my instagram stories when I was doing the #24hNBR debriefing was the sleeping situation. As someone with sleeping problems ever since starting highschool, it was tough. I was very lucky, we were camping just 10 minutes away from the paddock, which made everything so much easier. I slept from 1:30 am to 4 am. Not a lot, but my aim was to experience the sunset, sunrise and pitchblack on this circuit. The lack of sleep was managable. I got to experience 2 out of those. Unfortunately in classic Nürburgring style the morning fog was thick and strong and no sunrise could be seen. But the sunset and pitchblack came to be the most valuable moments of the weekend for me.


When the sun started to set, Sophie Hofmann, a talented young female who raced in the DTM trophy for the past 3 seasons, wanted to go on the ferris wheel. I was skeptical at first, but once I saw that it cost only 6 euros, I was happy I said yes. The view was beautiful, you could see the entire track and Sophie and I shared a wonderful conversation. The sunset from up there was just magical.


Another highlight is from the pitchblack middle of the night. Nürburgring is known for not having trackside lights, which makes everything all so more interesting and enahnces the dangerous atmosphere of the circuit. Around 11PM I, Sophie Hofmann, and Jiří Košta went up to Pflanzgarten to enjoy some racing on the ‘Schleife’ in the middle of the night. And again, I was speechless. This moment alone is my top experience in motorsport, ever. With a beer in hand we enjoyed the roaring of the engines while only a pair of headlights could be seen as each car passed. I wish every motorsport fan to experience this at least ones in their life.


I could talk for hours about this experience. Breathtaking, beautiful, memorable - and so much more. So thank you Sharky Racing for making one of my dreams come true, I truly appreciate it. To Nürburgring, see you next year at the 24 hours.


PS. Over time I have learned that F1 and single seater fans have a hard time adding GT or prototypes to their list of favored series. Unfortunately I still don’t know why, as most people find it more exciting and competitive. Let me list out a few positives about the 24h NBR.

  • you have access everywhere with your general admission 70 euro ticket (including the pre-grid before the race)

  • 24 hours of racing along a 24 km track with parties pretty much everywhere

  • amateurs racing iconic cars like the Opel Manta but also professionals in factory supported cars

  • action in every single lap, on the most dangerous circuit in the world

  • a lot of drivers have had a career in single seaters before GT



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