It goes without saying that my entire 2022 Nürburgring 24 Hour experience was unforgettable, but as with any trip there are highlights that stood above the rest.
For this post, I’m going to share with you 10 of the most memorable moments I caught on camera.
1. Audi R8 LMS Triple Threat At The Karousell – 4:30am
Whilst the Mercedes-AMG GT3s had the most presence on track in terms sound and appearance, nothing will top this trio of Audi R8s in maximum attack mode, following each other through the infamous banking at turn, headlights cutting sharply through the darkness, illuminating one another for my benefit. Incredible. I was in awe.
2. Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Sudden Fire – 3:30pm
A surprisingly large number of cars dove into the pits for changes or repairs in the last 45 minutes of the race. This 718 GT4 made one of those last-minute pit stops, and to their credit the team was quick. However, just as the driver received the all clear to go, plumes of smoke began to billow out of the back of the Porsche.
A moment of bewilderment was followed by the pit crew running to push the car back into the pit garage and put out any potential fire…
3. BMW M4 GT3 Sudden Fire – 3:34pm
…Only for me to hear a now-familiar M4 GT3 straight-six thundering down the pits to my right. In this case, surrounded by a cloud of smoke coming from the front-left corner of the car. The driver jumped out of the smoke-filled cockpit with haste as a mechanic brought out a leaf blower. It was the beginning of a brake fire, and the mechanic was desperately blowing air into the M4’s brake duct next to the headlight to cool the mammoth stopper.
Just like that, two teams suffered heartbreak a few minutes apart after 23 hours of racing.
4. Surprise Renault Clio Race Car In The Car Park
Maybe not totally related to the race, but imagine my delight when we returned to our Land Rover to find a Renault Clio RS Cup car parked just a few metres away. I bought a Clio RS a couple of months ago for track day fun, so to see one in race trim was a great surprise. I can’t find details of that front lip though. Anyone?
5. Till Being the Good Soul That He Is
All teams go into N24 with the knowledge they might not finish the race. With that many corners, racing day and night, on a twisty and unforgiving circuit it’s a given there will be some degree of mechanical failure or driver error. On our final pit walk, a pair of mechanics were struggling to move a heavily-damaged Cayman GT4 on dollies. Till, the lovely person that he is, immediately proceeded to ruin my shot by jumping in to help them push. The result is a photo with real emotion in it, so thank you Till for making it even better.
6. Team Subaru N24-ing Like It’s 2005
I couldn’t cover N24 without channeling my inner Mark Riccioni and snapping some photos of the Subaru team at night. Unfortunately, they had to retire their WRX STI racer, so how to unwind when your race is over? Cigarettes. Lots of them, and made better by the gentleman texting on a flip phone, perhaps updating his higher ups of the team’s misfortune.
7. Renault Megane Driving Through Bubbles
At one of the vantage points I had thanks to our mobile shooting platform on the Defender, there was a nice angle looking down into a series of chicanes. While there was a moment where a Seat Leon TCR kicked up a load of dust in battle, my highlight was a spectator going a bit overboard with a foam cannon. Said foam proceeded to take flight and make its way slowly across the track, into the path of oncoming traffic. I wonder what the Megane RS driver was thinking?
8. The Might Dacia Finishing The Race
Although the N24 fan-favourite Opel Manta did not take part in this year’s race, the little fighter that is the Dacia Sandero did. Everyone loves an underdog, and it was great to see the Dacia make it to the end of the race and cross the finish line. Honestly, the cheers for it were louder and more passionate than the cheers for the race-winning Audi R8!
9. Retired KTM X-Bow
Till and I left the pit lane in the small hours of Sunday morning just in time to catch a battered KTM X-Bow being wheeled away after a serious shunt. You’d expect care to be taken, yet one of the mechanics was sweeping gravel off the car with a broom and another was curb-stomping the the front splitter down off of the tow strap. Maybe it was pragmatism or maybe it was frustration – all I know is it was a sad sight to see.
10. Father & Son Selfie
I’ll round my 10 off with a simple, nice moment. During the celebrations in the pit lane, I spotted a father taking a selfie with his young son in his arms. I hope that the boy grows up to love motorsport like his dad, as there seem to be less young enthusiasts getting into cars and racing as time progresses.
P.S. If you’re reading this, I’m sorry for photobombing your picture…