It must rank as one of the most awesome races in the world. This year was my first visit to the famed 24 Stunden Nürburgring Nordschleife, the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring, and what a baptism it was. Having covered the Le Mans 24 Hours for many years, and numerous other endurance races in the UK and Europe, nothing comes even close to the spectacle, the atmosphere, the vastness, and the sheer excitement of this race.
After the Le Mans 24 Hours this year, for the next leg of our adventure we travelled to the Nürburgring for this epic race, which was held at a later than normal date at the end of June. That said, the end of June in the Eifel Mountains is characterised by high humidity and frequent storms, but none of that mattered as this was going to be a humdinger of a race. Because of the vastness of the Nürburgring, and being my first time there, there was much to learn about the geography of the circuit as regards the best photo spots, but also just learning the layout of the whole complex.
Getting your head around the how the pits work with up to four cars in one pit garage, is one thing, but seeing this arrangement working in real time was quite another. Other top endurance races have just one car to a pit garage, but multiply this by four with regard to personnel, tools and equipment, team and crew, guests, media and all the rest, and you would think everything would descend into chaos everytime a car came in. Not so, because everyone present realises that you just have to work around those challenges, and they all just get on with it. It is amazing, but it works!
Then there is the matter of getting to the best photo spots around the circuit, and here you must be prepared to do a lot of walking. As a photographer, we are usually ferried to drop-off points around most circuits by shuttle buses, as this system works quite well mostly. At the Nürburgring it is all a bit different because of the number of people and cars present at all the spots around the circuit. The media are ferried around by shuttle, but sometimes it was quicker to walk because the shuttle buses just could not make it through the traffic jams to get you to your preferred drop-off zone. But again, you just work around this because the event is the most important thing going, and most spectators are also there to enjoy themselves.
So, what does this have to do with a book review? Well, Gruppe C Motorsport Verlag, have been publishing their annuals for many years on this great event, and all of the above is an attempt to explain just a little of how popular this event is. But the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring is about more than just the main 24-hour race, it includes also the ADAC 24H Classic, WTCR, Nürburgring Challenge, Audi Sport R8 LMS CUP, and of course the main race. A book covering all of these races is going to be quite chunky, so be prepared for this 272-page tome which is also large dimensionally.
Having reviewed several of Gruppe C’s books previously, this one is presented in a similar style, with excellent photography. The book is in dual-language, although it appears that the English sections are slightly shorter than the German text. With the circuit being so spread out, and many of the spectators camping there from the weekend before, there is just so much to see. The photographic opportunities are wide ranging, from racing to pit action, paddock shots, and of course the spectators who quite literally move in lock, stock and barrel…including their own home-made grandstands and Jacuzzi! But this did not present a challenge for the publishers of this great book, because they had photographers all over the circuit, day and night, from well before the action got underway until after the last podium shot.
The book is conveniently broken into sections that describe each of the races mentioned above, Qualifying, the Race, Class divisions with explanations, and the Facts & Results. The reader is left with no doubt that this publisher has been doing this work for a long time, and they have too, but this definitely comes through in the quality of the design, layout and general presentation of the book. 24 Stunden Nürburgring Nordschleife 2019 is a great reminder of an epic race and all the side shows that go on during the race week. At €40.00, this is not a big outlay for what is a top-quality publication, so be sure to get your copy soon, the next race is not far away!
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