The #3 Manthey car was a front runner for most of the race.
Another R8 LMS Panzer.
The Hankook Ferrari at speed.
An LMS Z4.
|A pack of fast LMS cars duke it out near nightfall.|
Manthey #1 in the lead followed by the factory Hybrid.
Manthey #1 in the world famous Karussell turn.
An LFA near dusk.
The Hybrid gets airborne. Cars get airborne several times a lap on the ring, one of the reasons why the track is so demanding on cars.
The track is narrow with many blind turns and a lot of elevation change making it one of the most technical and difficult to pass on tracks in the world.
The BMW M3 LMS entry. It is idential to the ALMS cars we featured last month.
A privateer BMW leads out a privateer RSR.
Since our buddy Antonio at MotorMavens loves the AE86, I had to shoot this picture for him. The Nurburgring is famous for its track graffiti. Fans graffiti the track up with a divers array of images from tributes to their favorite car makers to pictures of giant phallus!
While Jay drinks a Bitburger from a trackside stand I partake in a Coke light. They don’t have diet coke in Germany and they don’t put ice in anything. Germans consider ingesting drinks that are too cold unhealthy. I was Jonesing for a diet coke on ice all week. Coke light is like regular coke but with reduced sugar. It was actually pretty good and I don’t think it has artificial sweeteners.
We had to walk miles to get to certain parts of the track to get pictures. The Nurburgring is so huge and winds through the woods so far, its hard work to cover the race. We were scared because this area reminded us of the Blair Witch.
Stands serving beer and sausages were all over and thousands of enthusiastic camping fans were ready to share their alcohol. No one goes hungry or thirsty on the ring. Yes those are guys dressed like chickens.
There were thousands of outhouses and water stations all over the place. All needed to accommodate 250,000 fans drinking beer.
The 24 hour race is a cultural event besides being a race. It is racing with a bit of Woodstock and Burning man mixed in. Hundred of thousands of fans erect tent cities in the huge infield carving mud cites into the lush woods. Whole temporary villages spring up with makeshift bars, spas, night clubs, raves and performing arts shows happening. Some fans try to outdo others with more and more elaborate camps. Many camp and build their site for a week before the race. The air is festive and don’t be surprised if the fans invite you in to share beer, shots of jagermeister, bratwurst or all three.
I only had our pocket camera, which I couldn’t figure out how to work too well in the low light so I didn’t get any shots of the festivity parts of the race as its best shot at night to show the neon and other lighting effects well. I only shot a few things earlier in the week while slogging through the woods scoping things out. Saturday night is the night when the cool stuff happens.
One of the many viewing stations that fans assemble around the track. Some like this one are simple, others feature hot tubs, laser lights, neon, DJ booths and other amazing things.
| This camp had a big screen, couches, a lighted track map and furniture!|
A sofa made of Bitburger cases.
One of many tent cities. I didn’t make it to any of the notorious party sites around the track. Instead I sent Jeff, a big mistake. I sent Jeff out to investigate the nightlife and party aspect of the race, forgetting his two major vices mentioned before. I particularly wanted night shots showing the vivid night scene with the lighting and other non racing aspects. Instead I got the following…
I am not sure if these guys like or hate VW. Note that the blow up doll has something for everyone!
Did you ever see the movie Apocalypse Now? Do you remember the scene when the surfer guy Lance takes acid and is carried away by Colonel Kurtz’s Rebel natives and later becomes one of them. Well 15 minutes into his assignment to cover non-race activities I think that happened to Jeff. He snapped a shot of this camp’s weekend work in an effort to start conversation and suceeded. You can imagine what happens next.
It’s easy to get lost on the Nordschleiffe if you’ve never been, you don’t speak German and you’re under the influence! Fortunately, someone left a clue!
In examining the contents of his flash card later, I found this picture of one of Jeff’s new friends… I’m not sure what that thing is in his mouth or what he plans to do with it, all I know is that it’s not appropriate for this site!
Mien Eyes! You need beer goggles here!
One of Jeff’s last shots. It is probably best that we don’t know what happened next….
We found this shot on the internet. The rest of the story is unknown, Jeff didn’t return for hours and didn’t get any shots. When last seen, the other journalists said Jeff had consumed a large glass full of Jagermeister and was urinating in a large homemade open-air urinal.
So on to my lame pocket camera shots. Like I said, I didn’t get to the craziest sections so I don’t have any cool stuff. This trailer thing had turntables and lights strobing. Jeff said in addition to reflecting the sunlight into his eyes, the kids on the roof were aiming this mirror at oncoming racecars likely of brands they didn’t like. Not too cool but hardcore fan shit nonetheless!
This guy was cooking with a flamethrower!
Our friends the chicken guys. They were making weird noises and squatting. Maybe German onomonopia for American clucking? Maybe they had to take a dump?
More blow up dolls! Must be a German thing?
The flamethrower cooked food looked ok and the guy gave me a beer.
The town of Nurburg welcomes thousands of race fans. The race probably contributes to more than half of the town’s economy. The track winds around and through the town. The town is very beautiful but if you don’t like noise, it’s probably best that you don’t live here.
There were hundreds of fires built all over the place, so much wood is burned that once the race had to be red flagged because the smoke from all the fires made visibility zero.