Wednesday, June 18, 2014

ADAC Zurich 24-Hour Race: The 24 Hours of Nurburgring Viewers Guide

    First ran in 1970, the 24 hour race at the Nurburgring is one of most famous auto racing events in the world.  This fame comes from not only the location, the infamously long and notoriously dangerous track but also from the party atmosphere and impromptu camp ground/village that forms along the track.  Because of the extreme length of the track and it's meandering path through woods and villages, it's extremely assessable to the average race fan.  There is no requirement to purchase expensive tickets to sit near the track (like in F1), for the Nurburgring, one can simply walk through the woods and stand at the fencing a few feet from the edge of the track.  Of course, this accessibility has backfired during the past ten years as more and more spectators fill the edges of the track and stake their claim.

  This year, the homemade grand stands, tents and elevated platforms were popping up more than ten days before the start of the race.  As the crowds grown in size, the competition for prime viewing areas increases.  It is still entirely possible to show up on the day of the race and catch the action and the majority of the spectators are accommodating and accepting of others, a visit must be prepared for the large crowds and traffic.  During the tourist days and even the VLN races, it's fairly simple to park along one of the roads or parking lots and find a spot along the track, during the 24 hour race it's a completely different scenario.

  In addition to the spectator areas being jammed pack, the track will be completely full as well.  More than 200 hundred cars will take to the 26 kilometer course at almost the same time.  The speed differences between the classes of cars varies greatly and the tight track leads to some rubbing and crashing.  Only the best drivers are able to keep their car running at full speed and on the track when it's empty, add hundreds of other cars trying to do the same and it's guaranteed chaos.

  In addition to staking a claim track side, tickets are available to enter the F1 Grand Prix circuit section of the course.  These relatively inexpensive tickets give you access to the grand stand seating area and also the in-field viewing area.  This year, BMW is a major sponsor of the race and have arranged multiple activities and displays centered around their M Series cars.  The in-field area will also be completely packed with the drivers, support teams and their vehicles along with various food and merchandising vendors.

  If you are unable to travel to Germany to watch the race firsthand, there are a few online viewing options available. will be broadcasting the race and there are numerous other websites and video streaming services to catch the action.  Unfortunately there are no televised broadcast coverage of the race stateside. 

 The only European racing available on TV in the US will be the F1 Austrian Grand Prix which will be a great race, just not as epic as the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. Live streaming of the race, in English This is the official Facebook page for the race, in German but between Facebook's translate option and Google translate, you can decipher the posts