3/24/2020

24-hour races: our common issue. The race tracks: each has a separate issue.

24 hours. Time that often flies by. Or in which every second can feel like an eternity. In long-distance racing, it is often the latter. Especially in the world’s two most demanding long-distance races – the 24h of Le Mans and 24h of Nürburgring. Although these are equally tough, they pose very different challenges. Which is particularly noticeable when they take place in rapid succession. Like this June. During our weeks of endurance.

The first test is Le Mans. Held at the Circuit de la Sarthe. One of the world’s oldest and most historic race tracks. With 38 bends over 13,629 kilometres per lap, it is also one of the longest. What is special about it is that the course mainly consists of public roads that merge seamlessly into the race track. Which not only involves rapidly changing grip levels, but also difficulties that it is impossible to experience on race tracks alone: such as deep ruts, for example, created as a result of the roads being used all year long. Which at speeds of almost 300km/h, as achieved by our GT cars, can make the vehicle unstable. This requires the maximum concentration of all drivers, especially at night.

Just five days after the chequered flag comes down at Le Mans, the Nürburgring race will begin. The next nerve-racking 24 hours. During which their similarities will become clear. Or in the words of Porsche GT works driver and two-time Le Mans winner, Laurens Vanthoor: “Le Mans has history and prestige, but Nürburgring is like heaven and hell on earth. There is nothing in between.” At 25.4km, this enchanting circuit amidst the fog-shrouded Eifel forest is the world’s longest 24-hour race track. And at over eight minutes per lap, this often means changing conditions, sometimes from lap to lap. Added to this are the 200 cars simultaneously competing on the circuit. Often at very different speeds, depending on the class. You have to repeatedly overtake at the absolute limit for the entire 24 hours. In the rain, hail or fog, including in middle of the night. Or –as is typical of Eifel – when these all occur together.

As #TeamPorsche, it is good that we can count on unconditional cooperation. Especially as we already know that the weeks of endurance will demand our all.

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