Nürburgring 24 Hours: The race
The Nürburgring 24 hours is one of the most difficult endurance races in the world. Given the track’s unique layout, this race offers some incredible features that tyre manufacturer Michelin gave us the chance to experience from the inside.
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The race, held on 19th – 20th May 2012, combines the legendary Nordschleife with the short version of the modern F1 track. This configuration provides a track length of 25.378 kilometres. A world record.
The extremely long track is not the reason behind the myth of the Nürburgring. The myth is based on the fact that Nürburgring is widely considered as being the most dangerous and demanding circuit in the world as former world Jackie Stewart confirms when asked to share his opinion. “If a driver tells you that he’s not scared on the Ring, there are 2 possibilities: He’s either lying or not driving fast enough to understand the Ring!”
Today, the Nurburgring 24 Hours is the last race that still uses the Nordschleife. It is therefore highly symbolic for all motorsport enthusiasts and targets hard-core drivers looking for a unique mechanical and team challenge.
This special race groups a wide variety of budgets and levels on the track from the top private teams to driving enthusiasts with much smaller racing cars. In total, around 240 teams tackled the Green Hell.
This 40th edition saw most German manufacturers on the starting line with the Audi R8 out in force but also Porsche notably through the undisputed race preparation specialist Manthey Racing, not forgetting the Mercedes SLS AMG, and the BMW Z4 GT3.
If the Audi R8 LMS claimed victory, we will remember the excellent 4th place taken by the Z4 from Marc VDS Racing, an impressive result for its first race here. But also the great performance put in by Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of the Gran Turismo series, and his team who finished 30th and first in their class.
Over and above these results, it is the genuine involvement of drivers and the selflessness of teams offering logistic support and the strict control and use of consumables that commands respect. With more than 160 corners raced through in 24 hours, tyres must be managed efficiently to maintain a steady pace. Any weather changes also require some sound management. Indeed, drivers may pay a high price for any trajectory change since they can’t move out of the way in the very fast parts of the track. Although there were many accidents, no-one was physically injured.
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