EVENTS – 24 Hours of Racing, 36 Hours of Fun! – PT2.

It’s early Saturday morning. My body feels like a wreck and I get out of the Renault Clio, my hotel for this weekend. Next to the Renault a door opens and an evenly blurry sight crosses my view. This is your 7TUNE N24 team reporting for duty. But HEY, it’s race day and both Allard van Grafhorst and myself are looking forward to the long day ahead.

While leaving the Falken paddock, everybody was busy getting the cars ready for two days of demonstrations and drifting guests around a small forrest stage. More on this in Allard’s next write up of his N24 adventures.

After breakfast and watching the high speed battles of the German Porsche Carrera Cup in the media center it was time to check out the pit area. Here is a shot of the Porsche’s in their Parc fermé after the race.

As the start gets nearer and nearer, the pit area is getting more hectic by the second. As of 13:30hr the teams are getting the cars out on their grid positions. Teams, fans, media, everybody is allowed on to the grid. With the afternoon’s beautiful weather a lot of people came out to see the cars from up close nearly causing the pitlane to overflow. Here is one of the Hankook Heico SLS AMG’s making it’s way through the masses.

The Falken guys had another trick up their sleeve. It might have been around for a while but this is the first time I noticed this portable wheelgun. I love it when a backpack comes to work!

In total there were four FT86′ entered in this years N24 race. Besides Gazoo Racing, the Toyota Swiss Racing Team also entered two brand new FT86 race cars.

And then it is off to the last countdown. There are only a few minutes left before everybody has to leave the grid and the warm up lap gets underway.

Some minutes later I was standing next to the Veedol chicane watching the pacecar lead the pack. It does not matter how many times I have experienced this moment but it still gives me a big smile and plenty of goose bumps when all these amazing machines approach on their way to the start.

The race started and the clock began ticking. With a loud thunder the cars passed by the start line and within moments they were back in front of my lens. Who would make it to the end?

For both Allard and me our own endurance had started as well. Our aim was to see as much of the track and sleep as little as possible. First up was T13. This is the first corner of the Nordschleife when you come of the GP track. The bend it is named after the grandstand that overlooks this area of the Ring.

Before the steep lefthand drop into T13 the cars come over a crest passing the old pit complex. Here is the Gemballa Racing McLaren MP4 12C in the afternoon sun.

Meanwhile the frontrunners did not give in. More and more cars got involved in various battles as the field stretched out over the track. Here is a pack of GT3’s charging hard through the heat.

On the way to Flugplatz we passed by the Hatzenbach section. I just love the atmosphere during the N24 race. It’s a nonstop festival all around the Nordschleife. It also has it’s downsides as many people camp so close to the track it is sometimes very hard for other visitors to see anything of the race.

This is just one of the many D.I.Y. grandstands. Maybe 7TUNE should build one of these next year as a hangout during the race!

Last year I came to Flugplatz in the closing stages of the race. As the teams are preserving their cars to make it to the finish, the pace drops and the cars will not jump as high. I promised myself to come back here this year and to see if I could shoot a car being airborn over the crest. Here is my revenge for missing the shot last year. The Rowe Racing SLS with three wheels in the air.

24 Hours seems like an awful long time, especially when your racing but when walking and shooting trackside it’s gone in no time. Allard and I began our trip back to the GP track at around 19:00hrs. Hungry and eager to find out who was in the lead of the race. While walking down the hill at Flugplatz you get several amazing views over the Ring. Here is one of them.

By the time we reached the paddock the sun was well on it’s way down and slowly the teams got ready for the night ahead.

It is getting dark really quick at the Nurburgring. While the darkness moves in and most spectators are getting dinner the race moves on. The Aston Martin AMR Vantage of Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke blasts full speed towards the Mercedes Arena.

Besides the two FT86′ Gazoo Racing entered one of their LFA’s with a dream team of drivers. Takayuki Kinoshita, Akira Iida and Juichi Wakisaka.

By 22:00hr my stomach really started a riot inside for some proper food. With the media center on the other side of the straight it was time to meet up with Allard.
We set off for a nice dinner in the city of Adenau to get ready for the long night ahead. But more on that in Part 3! – The Ultimate JDM Experience Since 2005

Words & Photo’s – Mathieu Van Den Oever

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