the 24 hours of the Nürburgring 2017
( for Pictures: Scroll to the Bottom of the Text)
What a weekend. The Weather was perfect, the mood in the Paddock was great.
This year instead of going solo and work independantly, we tried an approach where we had 3 photographers for a Variety of Clients working together.
Kind of like the Big Group C photo-agency that have almost 25 People working at the Track. Of course they are our freinds and we all have only one goal in our mind: bringing the best Pictures and Images to our clients, be it Magazines, Newspapers or Teams.
New challenges for me personally as I haven't done a full 24hours on the Nürburgring as photographer yet, plenty of times on the Pitwall ( 14 times) and in various other positions, but it was the first time I have had the time so focus on the camera part.
Interesting.. yet scary. Because it is a important investment of time and money i was quite nervous the days before the event because of various reasons. i want to deliver my best and the self-inflicted pressure prevented me from sleeping the days before going to the Green Hell on wednesday.
But all that changed when i was on track , in the Sun, the Canon 1DXII at the Ready and the Cars were roaring.
Gorgeous.. the 4,5 day event was just breathtaking.. especially the Thursday evening Night qualifying where the Spectators were not yet completely roasted by the Sun.
This is because you have all the Cars competing and while the Air during the Day-qualifying was hot, the Night qualifying has cooler Air ( filled with Bratwurst und Kotelett Flavors) and more Oxygen. The combination with a still dry and warm tarmac made up for some fabulous times. You see all the Classes competing, which in the True spirit of the Nürburgring 24 hours makes up for a better "ambience" than the Top 29 qualifying on Friday.
Thursday night should be on everybodys Agenda for next year.
the Day before the Start is a preparation day. You see most Teams breaking in Brake Pads, Brake Discs, repairing eventual damaged Parts and Bodywork. It would be a pretty dull Friday if it were not for the 24hours Classic. Filled with Competitors from the Youngtimer Trophy and the FHR it shows what the 24hours once looked like.. from the 1960 to late 80ies, precious english Motorvehicles to epic BMW 4 cylinder S14 Sound.
3 hours on the Nordschleife are quite demanding for the seasoned Cars, and finally the M1 of AH Racing had the stamina to go the distance and win. What an achievement.. especially as the Car was given no quarter and the Bavarian Procar was 25 seconds faster than the Group5 Porsche that followed. What a Beast ! When you follow the site you know that I am a huge 80ies BMW fan and I am so happy for the Team that lives just 10 Minutes from my home.
Then back to the serious... Positions.
While there were much less Photographers outside on the Nordschleife than within the Walking distance of the Paddock, you still had to be early to get the good shot. I gambled a bit with the Light and opted for Hatzenbach and while I might not be 100% it worked out fine. The Top 29 Shoot-out is a Firework of the fastest SP9 and SPX Cars ( GT3 and similar.. SP9-LG are the Bentleys-- for Last Generation.. SPX were the Glickenhausers) which in the End.. had the SCG003 win their own Trophy ! Kudos to Jim.. he is now a true part of the Nürburgring, the 24 hours, the family in the eifel. I was so happy as i knew all the Startphotos would show the SCG turning into the Mercedes Arena first. Totally deserved that !
Somehow the almost 20 hours between the End of the Top 29 qualifying and the Start of the Race seem like 1. We had to do some Team pictures, had a couple of lucky shots in between ( ehem.. the M4 GT4 Picture is such a lucky shot.. just seconds before 60 people walked back into the Picture) and prepared the Pre-Race Press Release Pictures.
Green Green Green
The Car Controller Brain of myself wanted to shout the Moment of the Start into a Microphone.. because of the Armarda of GT3's the SP7 of Black Falcon with Alex Toril was a bit further behind.. but hey.. no Microphone.. no info.. sorry Alexito
Now for the Race itself there are Livestreams, Re-Live Youtube Channels, Best-of and Highlight Reels. Obviously also the usual Crash-only Videos, which i personally loathe as they tend to make our Sport look bad.
For the other, the feeling as if you are there, i tend to think that a Photograph just does it better. Let's hope you enjoy some of my work and of all the other Photographers out there
Yes I did sleep... oh my god what a change from being on the Pitwall .. I slept almost 3 hours. It was soo good.. and a Shower to attack the Sunday.
Basically I waited for the Sunrise on the Döttinger Höhe Bridge for 30 Minutes and once the Sun was done with the Magic Light.. I went straight to Bed.. what a difference. I don't think i will ever want to do a 24hours without sleeping ever again. I was actually fresh and relaxed on Sunday, something that I haven't experience in forever ( you can't sleep if you are doing the Pitwall)
On this occasion i have to mention Markus Schall form Super Good Food.. his Tips on how to fuel my Body for a 24hours worked. No refined Sugars, Coffein only when you're really really tired and lots of Water . I remember Junk food, Red Bull and chocolate 24hours and this just puts you out.
When you are on Track and shooting Pictures you usually don't know exactly who is leading or on what Strategy the Teams are running, but thanks to the new Position-indicating LED's it was quite easy... and Impressive as the Land Audi was so dominant. What a Car.. I was truely impressed by the ability to run for hours and hours on end on the #1 Position. As you have seen Last year, the only time the #1 Place is important is in the last lap.. so running a Race from the Front is unusual in todays times. But they did it and I must say they deserved it due to their performance throughout the Race. I doubt there is anyone that seriously thought about contesting that win.
Although i would have loved to see Rowe change to the Michelin Wets with the lower Blocks at their Pitstop for the Gamble of a Deluge ( which we had). Tough call to do.. but this is the Eifel.. The "beared old man in the sky" is looking down and likes to spice things up. I am sure someone thought about it..I am also sure this person sits at home and wondered what could have happened.
I for one had a Blast and seeing Pictures of me in the wochenspiegel already on Saturday .. cool beans . *tipps hat to Georg Weiss*
Now I am already preparing for the Blancpain in Zolder next Weekend