There are races and then there are races. The 24 Hours of Nurburgring is the latter. And that’s even selling it short. The ‘Ring is unlike any track, any atmosphere and any tradition in the world. A track cut through the forested hills of picturesque western Germany, the Nurburgring is a 14.2 mile track that feels otherworldly in its layout and location. But the track is just part of the story. We’ve always heard its the atmosphere that truly defines this place. So we wanted to see for ourselves what it was like at the ultimate race a the ‘Ring – the annual 24 Hours of the Nurburgring.
This race being a major bucket list item for me, I wanted to experience as much as I could. However unlike most races, the best place to watch the race isn’t the stands but in the forests the track runs through. While the MINI camp that we stayed at was excellent, we wanted to get out into the wilds of the ‘Ring. So I grabbed some hiking shoes and a GoPro and headed out. This is what I found.
Never have we experience a race like the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. This is as much a race as a festival dedicated to cars, culture and the insanity of German race fans. We’ve been waiting to make it here for 25 years and if anything it blew away our expectations. The paddock and the cars were impressive but seeing the crowd and the culture that has built up around this race was unlike anything in the world.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been to the ‘Ring. If you’re a long time MF reader you’ll remember when we took a R56 Cooper S to the ‘Ring for an epic day 15 years ago. But to see a race of this magnitude and fans this crazy was unlike any other race we’ve ever experienced. The German fans creativity with camp sites was something we had heard about but still were shocked by. The engineering that went into some of the buildouts were wild and the experience was electric – especially into the night. It was all made even better by how welcoming the entire crowd was.
If you’re at all interested in going our strong recommendation is to just do it. Coming from overseas a fair amount of planning will be in order but it’s very doable and ultimately very worth it.