As dusk falls, the Manthey cars are firmly in control of the race.
The Manthey RS Haribo bear car as night falls.
The track takes a unique beauty of its own in the dark. Jeff finally finds his way back to the media center after walking close to 5 miles and starts to take pictures again. As night falls there are more crashes and drama to keep the crews busy. One major crash took out the Manthey #1 Porsche RSR and effectively ended Manthey’s 4 year straight winning streak.
The transporter area of the pits behind the grandstands. Major time consuming repairs to the cars usually takes place in the team transporters.
Some repairs that are too extensive for the hot pit lane are handled in the pits right under the grandstands. This is a grand prix track type setup where there are garages right next to the hot pit lane. I wish our tracks were like this.
A team changes tires and brake pads on an Audi TT. One of the drivers of this car is the Jurgen Wohlfarth, brother of Klaus Wohlfarth (the “K.W.” of KW)!
One of the Audi factory entries gets a driver change during the service.
The Haribo car gets a major service down. Part of the Manthey race strategy is to do extensive planned PM stops. Seem excessive but the Ring is very hard on cars and Manthey is the winningest team here.
Most of the teams have telemetry carts where they can track the cars condition. The carts are located across the hot pit lane by the other protective wall.
The Manthey hot pit.
Real time monitoring of timing and scoring.
There is a lot of drama in the hot pits at night.
The factory BMW gets serviced and a driver change. The BMW team went on to win.
A driver debriefs with a crew member.
A thoughtful crew dude offers Jeff a grape.
The Lexus team naps in between stops.
The race takes its toll on us as well. Calvin Kim of Road & Track is running out of steam around 2 am.
Mike Ferrara falls asleep while waiting for the super slow internet connection to finish uploading.
The end of the race, the cars cross the line!
As the final minutes tick away, many teams have their cars slow down and sometimes stop right before the finish line to avoid having to do another grueling lap!
Another Nurburgring tradition. At the end of the race all of the crew members climb the crash fence to cheer their cars as they finish.
This would never be allowed in the USA!
The Hankook Ferrari crosses the line in second place.
TV crews swarm around the pits of the winners of each class.
An Audi R8 was in third.
The crowd mobs the hot pits right after the race is over.
Crowd heads toward the awards ceremony.
The top finishing cars on display.
During the awards ceremony, Mike Ferrara’s camera got doused in champagne killing it. It was an expensive Nikon. I think he managed to fix it though to salvage the rest of the trip.
After the race we get on the road again to the KW Suspension plant. We throw up the KW gang sign.
Oliver pilots the Ubervan at 120 mph down the Autobahn. You can go places so much faster at these speeds.
Oliver says no problem to high speeds. It’s hard to read the speedometer but we’re approaching 190km/hr!
Who says that Germans don’t have a sense of humor? At GP races they have safety cars which are usually highly modified AMG Mercedes sedans. During the 24 hour races the safety cars are sometimes faster than the racers! These cars are the first responders to an accident. Here is something funny we saw as we were leaving the track.
Typical beautiful German countryside. Being from California, we found it to be very scenic.
Having no sleep wears on us.
Jeff takes yet another lame picture of me.
Sorry Sarah and Annie, we thought that finding a woman checking her air was unusual. You can’t mess around on the Autobahn. German gas stations have a lot of different services.
High tech toilets had UV sterilization and played music when you pissed in them!
Lots of interesting devices were available as well.
Thus ends our 24 hour of Nurburgring adventure coverage. We universally felt that this was the coolest automotive adventure of all time and can’t wait to do it again. If you are into cars and motorsports, the 24 hour is like a trip to Mecca. Next we travel to visit the KW factory and will look at their development and manufacturing technology. Stay Tuned!