The Nurburgring 24-hour experience – strap yourself in, it’s one Green Hell of a ride.


There are many in the racing community – from drivers to fans – who believe Le Mans is the Holy Grail. It is the prize every racer wants.

But is it better than the Nurburgring? Is it tougher than the battle in the German forests?


The two events are 24-hour endurance tests of human and machine. They are spectacles in their own right.

But Le Mans sees itself as the blue riband event it is. It is like the grown-up child who knows it has to earn a living and be responsible.

Nurburgring is the wild child refusing to grow up. It, unashamedly, pushes the boundaries.

Hordes of fans descend on the town days in advance of the race. They set up huge camps. They spread out into forest and set up their huge barbecues and music stations. The heavy metal party has started.

Some leave painted messages on the track. Some build gigantic – and often artistic – towers of beer cans. They have stripped furniture shops for comfy seats and set up TV screens. They have scaffolding and timber to create huge viewing platforms.

It is a seven-day party where no one sleeps.

The town is a throbbing mass of race fans and food stalls. And that is all before you see the track, the cars and the racing.


The Nordschleife – dubbed 'the Green Hell' by the likes of Sir Jackie Stewart when Formula One cars dared to challenge it – is almost 13 miles of stunning track through rolling countryside, up and down steep Rhineland hills and weaving its way around Nurburg in the Eifel mountains.

Like Le Mans, this is a pilgrimage. It is a rite of passage for motorsport fans who dare you to party from minute one until the end.


Race weekend sees firework parties, light parties and the air is filled with the smoke and smells of German sausage and steaks. But make sure you get involved with the traditional Currywurst.

And the background to it all is the roar of the engines as the cars race past, tackling more than 170 corners on each lap.

The entry list takes ages to read. There are so many cars with vastly different performance figures – from Porsches, Aston Martins, Ferraris, BMWs down to Citroen Saxos and Renault Clios.


Part of the skill is knowing how to deal with the differing speeds as well as the variety of meteorological challenges. I have seen heavy rain and dense fog stop the race. One year, I saw giant hailstones cause a red flag because the cars were sliding back down hilly sections.

There are, of course, incidents. Nurburgring has its own way of dealing with them – including speed limit zones in the middle of the night.


Even the paddock is different – garages housing three to four teams and, whisper it quietly, but you will see team members by the garage door having a crafty cigarette.

But it all comes down to the race. Survival of the fittest. Can you hang in there long enough to make the final couple of hours?


Then the intensity starts. For the winning team it is the pinnacle. A victory hard-earned and well-deserved.

Just ask Earl Bamber, Nicky Catsburg, David Pittard and Felipe Fernandez in the Frikadelli Ferrari after their dominant performance last weekend.

If you love motorsport, then put Nurburgrimg 24hrs on your bucket list.


Get out there and party.


Just make sure you have booked the following week off as well – you’ll need the sleep!


Jon Doran - The Fast Pod co-host