The 2023 Nuburgring 24hr

The Nurburgring 24hr is an annual GT and Touring car race using the famous Nordschleife circuit combined with the modern Nurburgring F1 circuit.

This race achieved a target I had set myself to cover it as media at least once, I set this way back when I was a spectator shooting from the sidelines through the fences. Lets go way back and look at where my journey to this race began!

I have always been fascinated by cars and growing up I became interested in endurance racing, the Nuburgring 24hr is one of around 10 major races that I have been trying to attend at least once in my life. Back in 2013 I attended the race with my dad and brother, spending the weekend absorbing everything about the race, from the action on track to the atmosphere around it.

Back then I was only capturing photographs of the races I attended primarily for my own memories but I used to share them on a popular forum. They were seen by a photographer that was accredited to shoot the 24hr race that year and he gave me some positive feedback that resulted in me taking this hobby a bit more seriously. From that point I was hooked on races at the Nurburgring and aimed to get back there as much as possible.

Unfortunately it would be 2018 before I got a chance to get back over to the Green Hell with the first VLN race of the year being my next chance to shoot this wonderful circuit.

It was only another race that I shot as a spectator through the fences but seeing the improvement from the previous visit gave me motivation to make this happen sometime with media accreditation. It would be another few years before I returned but late in 2022 I made another trip over to the circuit for NLS7, still as a spectator but this time I had a plan to explore in more detail a couple of sections of the circuit and each time I returned try out another area.

2023 was the year! I made my first trip over in March for the first round of the NLS series, I headed to a few new places during the race day, some were great, others not so much! Better to learn now that when I’m working for someone and wasting time through right?

Four weeks later I was back! 2023 NLS3 was the first time I had media access! I was busy working for a team, shooting both photos and video so I was really happy that I had scouted the track multiple times before so that I knew where I could go to get some great shots for them. It’s such a hard circuit to cover as some sections can be quite a hike into the woods and with only four hours of racing to do it all in.

If you miss the shot it could be 9 or 10 minutes until they come back around again so at best in the four hours you get 24 attempts to capture their race if you are lucky and nothing goes wrong! The positive side is that could be 9 or 10 minutes to capture some photos of the other cars in the race.

That brings me to the big one, the 2023 Nurburgring 24hr! I was out there shooting for the same team as the previous race, this time with a whole lot more track time to be able to capture their race weekend. The timetable also featured a few support races, I didn’t have time to capture any of them but I did get a look around the paddock at a few of the cars.

The practice sessions kick off on Wednesday for the 24hr, I arrived Thursday and used the day to capture a lot of the team in and around the paddock / pits, along with the GP circuit.

Thursday evening also has a practice session that runs through into the darkness before Friday qualifying. Once that is all over there is a driver signing, giving the fans a chance to get up close with all of the drivers in pit lane, then its off to bed early before the main event on Saturday. Saturday morning is an early start to shoot the team getting prepared for the race even though it doesn’t start until mid-afternoon.

As the race starts I have already been awake for 9 hours, working for 7 of them and it has only just begun! I shot the race start on video for the team from the grandstands that run alongside the start straight before quickly moving down to the section of circuit between the Carousel and Brunchen. This section has so many opportunities to shoot the cars although some of them feel a bit sketchy at times as the cars are so close as they fly past, sometimes hopping a kerb with all four wheels in the air.

Darkness falls over the circuit a couple of hours after the start of the race so I headed back to the GP section of the circuit to get a few night shots along with a night time pit stop.

As the sun rose over the circuit I was in place waiting for the car on the run down the hill to Adeneau, unfortunately I wouldn’t get a chance to see the car again, mechanical issues had forced a retirement. I was gutted for the team as finishing this race would be such a huge achievement for the drivers and the team but it will have to wait for another year.

SI headed back to my accomodation, tried to get some sleep after being awake for 24 hours already, the adrenalin of chasing the race hadn’t worn off so I packed up the apartment, loaded the car and hit the road. I am so happy that I got this opportunity and appreciate the chance to cover this race but I feel 14 hours isn’t enough, I need to do this one again! Here are a few more of the photos I captured across the weekend.

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