Currently reading: Nurburging 24: motorsport’s most hardcore fan festival in pictures
A tour around the 'Ring's craziest fan hotspots during its biggest race of the year

The Nürburgring 24hr endurance race, held this weekend at the infamous German motorsport mecca, may be the world’s most outrageous racing event.

It’s made unique by the punishing 15.5-mile circuit it’s contested on; by the 200-strong, borderline dangerously varied field of cars entered; by the incredible bravery and skill of the drivers who tackle it; and not least by the hedonistic commitment of the fans who descend on that particular corner of the Eifel mountains in their hundreds of thousands every Whitsun bank holiday weekend.

Last year's race was won by the Land Motorsport Team's Audi R8 LMS driven by Connor De Phillippi, Christopher Mies, Markus Winkelhock and Kelvin van der Linde. 109 cars finished the race, among them VW Golfs, Renault Clios, Porsche Caymans and Opel Astras as well as the Mercedes-AMG GTs, BMW M6s, Porsche 911s and others.

If you’ve been to ‘N24’, you’ll know about the race’s many vast camping areas and the hardcore festival atmosphere that overtakes them during race week. The most densely populated are the ones adjacent to the most popular spectating areas of the Nordschleife – at Karussell, Brunnchen, Metzgesfeld and Adenau – where the fans arrive early to build multi-storey edifices out of wood, steel, scaffold – and sometimes tractors – and to dedicate them to drinking, partying and watching the racing that’s unfolding just a few metres away. When you hear N24 drivers talk about the smell of bonfires and barbeques filtering into their helmets during a long night stint, it’s these fans they’re talking about.

Ahead of this year's race, we look back at the time we took an impromptu tour of the camping areas at Brunnchen and Pflanzgarten to bring you some photographic flavour of what it’s like to be a super-fan at N24. The images we captured were taken at last year's race, at around 9am on Sunday morning, 18 hours into the racing action, after a long night of bingeing on the race’s overdose of motorsport party fever.

Click through the gallery above to see them all.

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Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

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