Intro

The highlight of the Nurburgring race calendar is the 24 Hours Nurburgring. This year’s event is due to take place this weekend. First introduced in 1970 by the ADAC, the 24 Hours Nurburgring is now in its 44th year and with a grid of more than 200 cars and over 700 drivers, it is one of the world’s best endurance races.

We will be bringing you live updates on an hourly basis so be sure to keep checking for fresh highlights from the 2016 Nurburgring 24 Hours.

The race is run on a 15.7-mile version of the infamous Nordschleife with a portion of the modern GP loop worked into the lap to for good measure. 38 top class GT3-spec cars are in action including

We will be catching up with a variety of teams over the weekend. The best place to catch our exclusive reports is this live blog. We’ll be following Falken Motorsport with their brand new Porsche 911 GT3 R, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus who have three entries in this year’s race and Mercedes-AMG who hope to do well with the AMG GT3 cars that are also making their Nurburgring 24 Hour races this year.

In terms of scheduling, the race starts at 3.30pm on Saturday and finishes 3.30pm Sunday. Qualifying 1 and 2 has been completed but the Top 30 shootout for pole will take place tonight from 19:50 – 20:30.

Live Streams

The 2016 Nurburgring 24 Hours will have a variety of live streams that includes on-board cameras from different cars for your own viewing pleasure.

The official live stream can be accessed from YouTube, and is provided by Vodafone Germany.On board cameras are provided by Falken Porsche, Audi Team WRT, Audi Team Phoenix, HTP Mercedes-AMG, Team Manthey Porsche and GetSpeed Porsche among others. All those streams can be found here.

Live Blog

Update: 15:13 CET – Qualifying 2 Highlights

We kick off our #N24H live blog with highlights from Qualifying 2 which took place this morning. Mercedes-AMG dominated the top three with different teams; Haribo Racing Team topped the timesheet with the #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 after clocking a time of 8:16.311 minutes. The car is being piloted by a set of experienced Nurburgring drivers comprising of Maximilian Götz, Uwe Alzen, Lance David Arnold and Jan Seyffarth.

Haribo Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT3
Haribo Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT3

Second place went to another Mercedes-AMG GT3, the #29 car of HTP Motorsport driven by DTM star Christian Vietoris, Marco Seefried, Christian Hohenadel – all from Germany – and Dutchman Renger van der Zande. The team crossed the finish line 0.180 seconds after the session winners. The #14 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG made it a 1-2-3 for Mercedes in Q2 after finishing third.

We now wait for the Top 30 Qualifying shootout which kicks off tonight at 19:50 hours local time. A pit-walk will follow shortly ahead of the Falken Drift Show – all that we be covered here, so stay with us!

Update: 23:00 CET – Top 30 Shootout and Falken Drift Show

What a whirlwind afternoon! Unfortunately our Falken Porsche 911 GT3 R did not make it into the top 30 shootout for one reason or another. A debrief between us journalists indicates that that isn’t necessarily a bad thing given the weather report and the very nature of 24 hour endurance racing. Instead, the grid for the Top 30 shootout is filled with Audi R8 and Mercedes-AMG GT models; the two main competitors. Add to that the BMW M6 and a Lamborghini Huracan and the final qualifying laps had massive potential.

As it turned out, it was the Mercedes-AMG GT which had the pace. Black Falcon Mercedes driver Maro Engel set an 8m14.515 time, 1.6 seconds clear of Augusto Farfus in the Schubert Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. The front rows of the grid are dominated by Mercedes-AMG GT cars, however, it remains to be seen if they have the race pace.

We saw a few interruptions with cars hitting the barriers in several places, although final qualifying was largely trouble-free. The grid looks like this:

1 Maro Engel (Mercedes #9) 8m 14.515s
2 Augusto Farfus (BMW #18) 8m 16.146s
3 Maximilian Götz (Mercedes #88) 8m 18.380s
4 Uwe Alzen (Mercedes #8) 8m 18.530s
5 Frank Stippler (Audi #5) 8m 19.138s
6 Christian Krognes (BMW #999) 8m 19.390s
7 Nicki Catsburg (BMW #22) 8m 19.862s
8 Nicki Thiim (Aston Martin #7) 8m 20.332s
9 Christian Hohenadel (Mercedes #29) 8m 20.514s
10 Robin Frijns (Audi #2) 8m 20.662s

Once the GT3 cars had cleared the track, Falken wheeled out their drift car display, laying some fresh rubber for the fans to enjoy. We’re planning to ride with the Falken drift cars tomorrow at 6pm so we’ll have more of that to share tomorrow as part of our next updates.

In terms of proceedings tomorrow. We’ll be heading out to the track at around 9am, hoping to catch up with Falken Motorsport drivers as well as select Mercedes-AMG, BMW and Scuderia Glickenhaus drivers. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments box below and we’ll try to get them answered. The racing begins at 3.30pm and we will be bringing you plenty more in the lead up to the main event so stay tuned for more!

Update: 00:00 CET – More Photos!

Photographer Philipp Ruperecht has uploaded an extra set of behind the scenes shots from today’s racing action. Enjoy the gallery and we will pick up tomorrow morning!

Update: 10:00 CET – D-Day!

We’ve arrived at the circuit this morning to glorious sunshine! We’re not expecting it to hold out for long, and the N24 action does not truly begin until 15:30 CET. Our team are currently speaking with BMW about their race plan and we’re also waiting to hear from the Falken Motorsports team for a de-brief ahead of the race.

Out on track, the action is focused upon a stunning grid of Audi TT racers, from our viewpoint over the start finish straight we can see a tightly packed grid. There has been plenty of contact between the racers although no major catastrophe’s – yet. Sheldon van der Linde is currently in the number 31 car.

Out in the paddock, the GT3 cars are currently being scrutinised, we spotted a Haribo liveried Mercedes-AMG GT popping into the garage just now. We also took a look at the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo concept car which stands alongside the new Bentayga!

Stay tuned for more.

Update: 11:00 CET – Falken Press Conference

Some select quotes from the Falken press conference just now:

What is the plan? which driver drives which laps and who is the night specialist?

Stephen Cimbal: “We have 4 drivers, they are specialised in everything so usually the plan is that we start with one driver, then do 1-2-3 and then 1-2-3 again. At the moment, the plan is that Martin [Rattinger] will start. The stint is supposed to be 9 laps, it depends if it rains, it might be 10 laps, it depends on the fuel consumption but we have to see that time by time. A normal stint is supposed to be 9 laps because of the fuel we carry on the car and its not like other tracks here, there is no way to say, one more lap like we would do on a 4 or 5 kilometre track.”

Nurburgring 24 Hour 2016 Falken Press Conference

I understand the car has a slightly longer wheelbase this year how does that affect it around the Nordschleife?

Peter Dumbreck: “I think in general, the car is a big step forward from the 997 and it is a lot more stable, better on the brakes and the cornering speeds are higher. What we have lost out on is a bit of grunt, the balance of performance has come down on us with quite a small air restrictor compared to the old car and we’re carrying some weight on the car as well so we have taken a step with the car but then we’ve taken a step back with our actual speed on the straights and out of the corners to drive the car, it is really stable in the corners, we’ve done a fair bit of testing away from here in Portimao, the car felt good there but it only really matters around here at the end of the day, its like taking a car out onto a road in the Welsh mountains, its completely different from any other race track. It can be really good around the Grand Prix circuit but then not so good around the Nordschleife. Got to try and find a happy balance.”

Update: 11:34 CET – WTCC Race

Just watched the WTCC race, high adrenalin action of the Nordschleife with a couple of accidents. Lopez eventually took the chequered flag continuing his run of pace from yesterday’s sessions. Another convincing win for the Citreon!

WTCC Lopez

Update: 16:03 CET – The Race begins, a Bugatti appears and we hover over the Ring!

The race is underway and the sun is still shining. The next 24 hours promise to be full of excitement with the weather forecast predicting savage storms in about an hours time. At present the Mercedes AMG GT3 cars make the bulk of the leading pack with the BMW M6s also looking strong. We will be back with more updates and pics in the coming hours. Until then be sure to check out the gallery with images of the gorgeous brown carbon Bugatti Chiron just before it hit the track for the parade lap. A few hours back I jumped into a helicopter to watch the final WTCC race. The view of the circuit was breathtaking. The scale and vast reach of the green hell is just spectacular, as were the humongous campsites. The N24 fans are out in force! #GTspiritZaid

Update: 16:33 CET – Red flag and our lap of the circuit.

As I predicted, I hate to say I told you so…but I did, the storm that was brewing burst at the seams. The race commentators described it as a scene from the move ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, it really was apocalyptic. Huge ice balls pelted the tarmac (and #GTspiritLawrence’s poor cranium). A number of cars sailed off the circuit into barriers and gravel traps bringing out the horrible sight of the red flag. All the cars that survived are back in the pits and the race has been put on hold till 18:00 at the earliest. Whilst we all wait for the fun to restart check out the story and images of a unique experience #GTspiritPhilipp got to experience while I was buzzing above in the helicopter! #GTspiritZaid

I was blessed with the opportunity to join the pre-race parade in the awesome Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S which means I got to see all the campsites around the track and people cheering on the cars. Driving the worlds most legendary track in N24h guise is a mindblowing experience. In Interviews with the BMW drivers this morning we were told that they can literally smell the BBQ from the camps around the track in the cabin. After todays lap I can only confirm that. #GTspiritPhilipp

Update: 18:11 CET – Hailstones at the world’s biggest campsite!

I took a trip out past Hatzenbach to watch the first lap of the race. The weather actually held steady for a sustained period of time and we got some fantastic views of the racing through the tree lined first sector. The AMG GT’s appeared to be setting a very quick pace, so much so that some of the GT3 pack ended up almost 2:30 mins behind the lead car.

The most unique part of the Nurburgring 24 Hours experience are the people though. The Norschliefe has literally become the world’s largest campsite. Every inch of spare space is taken up with a tent or caravan, motorhome and even decking! The Germans create a small city for the weekend. One minute you are walking through a techno dance floor, 50 metres down the road, death metal blares from terrace. It has to be seen to be believed.

Then the red flag came out. Slightly confused (at this point there was only the threat of rain), we huddled around an iPhone which picked up the N24 television stream. It soon became clear that the other side of the track was experiencing weather akin to a tropical storm. It would then start to hail with balls of ice the size of small golf balls. The trees provided some shelter, although eventually, we gave in to the weather and headed back to the GP track

Earlier we caught up with two Aston Martin Vulcan’s which were due to take part in the parade lap. Forced to move very quickly, the second of the two cars ran out of petrol on the Dohttinger Hohe. We sailed past alongside a rogue WTCC car. As I write, its no longer raining, although the marshals appear to have committed to a 6pm start time so nothing is out on track. Further updates to come #GTspiritLawrence

Update: 20:00 CET – It’s back on!

After 2 hours in the pits, the cars took to the track for several formation laps. A few issues became clear, principally the standing water but also cloud cover. The visibility is pretty poor in places. As the cars went past our box, the wall off water was incredible.

The race finally got underway with plenty of action heading into the first few corners. Braking points appear to be one clear issue with some cars squirrelling side by side. Here’s to hoping we get a lot more time on track before the next safety car period. It is scheduled to rain consistently through the night so we are expecting all manner of issues over the next 19 hours. #GTspiritLawrence

Update: 23:00 CET – What’s happening? Where am I?

I’ve just returned from Brunchen corner. I’ve seen some crazy things. A tin can dog, a lady wearing plastic bags over her feat and another techno dance floor. Some shapes were cut in the process, by the time I was finished we’d lost the light so my latest photo upload is probably the last for tonight!

In terms of the race, its anyones guess so far. I’m told that the leading BMW M6 spilt its guts over the track, leaving a slippery trail for the rest of the competition. At the moment, the number 88 car, the Haribo Mercedes-AMG GT3 leads by 1:10:490, 24 laps in. The Mercedes looked as though they were struggling to get the power down in the wet and rain is predicted soon. It remains to be seen whether they can keep up the pace.

Second is the number 4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 ahead of the number 30 Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the number 9 Mercedes-AMG GT3. It’s beginning to look a little like a Formula 1 race… Manthey Racing are fifth though with the new Porsche 911 GT3 R fending off yet another Mercedes-AMG GT3 and a BMW M6 GT3.

Falken Motorsport are running a respectable 19th, 1 lap down on the leader. Glickenhaus have cars in 9th and 24th place too. Things are going well so far.

Update 09:55 CET A new dawn – The fight carries on into the light with 5hrs on the clock.

We were up all night absorbing the mystical transition from light to dark then back to light again – another challenge for the drivers. The track dried significantly and all the cars are now wearing slicks. There was fear of rain to hit the circuit very hard at 05:00 but the forecasters were not correct, that being said another heavy storm is predicted to mix things up again.

The racing is still tight with just 11 seconds splitting the top two AMG cars of Vietoris-Seefried-Hohenadel-Van der Zande and Haupt-Buurman-Engel-Müller. Following the two leaders are yet another two AMG cars with a Porsche 991 GT3 R and M6 GT3 close behind. The big story was the crash of the one BMW M6 GT3 cars just before the 18 hour mark having been hit by Dale Lomas. The car was heavily damaged but the driver is safe and well.

Through the night #GTspiritPhilipp took some great shots (they are really really impressive!) from the pit lane as we watched sunrise. The gallery is below, we will leave you to enjoy them as we get back to the action. We will report back soon! #GTspiritZaid

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