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.

Read more

Fastest-ever Nürburging lap times

Aston Martin DB11 AMR launched with 630bhp

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen’s ever-sensible supermini gets even more grown-up as the Polo hits its fifth decade, but can it take top honours?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Ford Ka+ Active 2018 first drive review hero front
    First Drive
    22 June 2018
    This SUV-inspired makeover for Ford’s city-friendly small car will find its fans, but the Ka+ Active doesn’t set any new benchmarks for the class
  • Suzuki Swift Sport 2018 long-term review hero front
    First Drive
    22 June 2018
    The Japanese hot hatch is all grown up in terms of character, technology and price, but is it still a fun-loving kid at heart? Let’s find out
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Shogun Sport 4
    First Drive
    21 June 2018
    Shogun Sport name returns to the UK, attached to a seven-seat 4x4 that, Mitsubishi hopes, deftly combines practicality, comfort and toughness
  • Ford Fiesta ST-Line 2018 long-term review hero front
    First Drive
    21 June 2018
    Does this version of Britain’s top-selling car have the substance to match its style?
  • Audi Q8 2018 first drive review hero front
    First Drive
    20 June 2018
    Range-topping SUV is short on the styling and performance pizzazz needed to make it a Range Rover Sport-toppling style icon, although it’s an accomplished luxury car