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Chris Bruce2011-06-22 16:26:50

The Nurburgring: 25.9km, 250 cars, 24 hours

The Nurburgring: 25.9km, 250 cars, 24 hours

Two weeks ago was the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most prestigious race in sports car racing. This weekend is the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring the biggest sports car race in the world on the longest permanent racecourse in the world. 

Starting Saturday, June 25, 2011, at 3:30pm local time, 250 cars will take to the combined GP and Nordschleife courses for 24 hours to challenge the 25.9km course. Each car is piloted by between two and four drivers. 

The pole-sitting car is a BMW M3 from BMW Motorsport that competed at Le Mans. It will be driven by Jörg Müller, Augusto Farfus, Uwe Alzen and Pedro Lamy. Lamy is a driver to keep your eye on. If he wins this year, he will become the driver with the most wins at the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring. Currently he is tied at five wins with Marcel Tieman. 

Porsche has entered one of its experimental 911 GT3 Hybrid race cars, and it qualified in ninth. 

The entire list of qualifiers can be found in pdf format, if you would like to peruse it to see the massive list of cars that includes Porsches, Audis, Hyundais and Volvos. There is even a class for diesel-powered cars. 

Do not think that you just have to read about the race and follow updates online. The race will be streamed online starting at 3:30pm Saturday and ending 4:30pm Sunday. The race's organizers have not posted a direct link to the stream yet but have announced a link will be available on their homepage when the race begins. The commentary for the race will likely be in German, but in the past the organizers have also made English-language commentary available. 

The race also has an Iphone app available for .99 cents in the US. The app lets users view current race standings and also watch the livestream. 

The 24 Hours of the 'Ring is more than just a race; in a lot of ways it is also a 24 hour party for car fans. Falken Tires has designed an interactive map to allow attendees to share pictures and videos on a per-corner basis. The map and text in German, but the map shows the entire course with each corner labeled. Users can either click on a corner to view media from just that area or scroll down the map's page a little farther and see all of the media that has been uploaded by observers. 

The 24 Hours of the Nurburgring is a very special race. In terms of size there are about five times more cars and the course is over twice as long. However, every year it seems like it could be the race's last. The Green Party in German state government have been threatening to stop funding the Grand Prix at the track and mismanagement has allegedly been causing financial problems. Watching the race is an opportunity to witness something that might not exist for many more years. 





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