My first 24-hour race at the Nürburgring? That was in 1995 as a spectator. I can still remember well. We arrived in the Eifel on Saturday evening. Campfires burned all around the route, the smell of bratwurst was in the air. And another smell mixed in with it. Sweet. Biting times. In between, the flashes of light from the racing cars on the track. On Sunday morning, the sun showed the first shades of blue in the sky, the smoldering grill fire mixed with the fog of the Eifel. In between the flashes of light, white and red, the roar of the racing cars.
At the planting garden, I saw red-hot brake discs for the first time, red-hot catalysts under the vehicles. The screeching of the brakes, the patter of pebbles. Above all was the fascination of pure, honest motorsport.
The winner in 1995? Ravaglia, Duez and Burgstaller on a Bigazzi 320i. In 1996 the trip to the Eifel was repeated. Also in 1997 and 1998. And so on.
In 1998 a diesel vehicle won for the first time. A STW-BMW, converted with the then brand new 2.0 liter turbodiesel. Steering? Among other things, a Hans-Joachim Stuck. Today is Hans-Joachim Stuck, whom I also knew and admired from the “old DTM” and behind the wheel of the Audi V8 - the President of the DMSB.
DMSB - German
Engine Marketing Sport Bund
Motorsport is dangerous and yet motorsport is fascinating. Or because of that? And there are prominent voices that demand simple acceptance of the danger. Jürgen Alzen for example. In his Facebook Post Jürgen Alzen writes for example:
After reading the latest regulations on "Increasing safety on the Nordschleife" on the VLN site, everyone, but really every fun and interest in "RACES" on the Nordschleife has passed. Our family is already in the 2nd generation of motorsport, out of passion and not out of greed.
It was as if I had flipped the switch from ON to OFF ...
He's right about that. A lot is getting out of hand at the ring. And by that I don't just mean the concrete catacombs and motorsport coffins on the Ring, but popular sport itself. However, he shoots completely over the target with this statement:
Let us not fool ourselves: there is and will never be absolutely safe motor sport, because drivers and vehicles move at the physical LIMIT!
Moving to the limit and the associated risk also applies to all other sports.
That's what gives us fun and joy! The thrill.
Here is the task of a racing event as described in the announcement: circle the course as quickly as possible!
As hard as it sounds, injuries and occasionally dead people are part of the image of sport and not just that of motorsport.
Accept or leave!
Good. Then we leave it. Because dead people belong NOT to motorsport.
We haven't come to the gladiatorial battles of ancient Rome, have we? Sure, the buildings in the Eifel could form the right framework for a “Circus Maximus” - but dead people are not part of the “Bread + Games for the People”. Ben Hur method chariot races? No. Jürgen Alzen also accepts the rules of motorsport and I think the first rule should be: “Unnecessary risk” is excluded, dead and injured among drivers and spectators are not our goal!
How sarcastic and hardened do you have to be to risk the lives of others? This is about sport. Competitive sports. Competitions. But we are not in Rome during Caesar's time and we clap our heads with tools.
Motorsport in the Eifel - grassroots sport - long distance sport
In 1998, 153 teams competed in the 24-hour race in the Eifel. Without a GT3 - and thus without the manufacturers' very big puppet theater. Without paid “Conchita Wurst” and “Stratospheric Jumpers”. Yes, with gentleman drivers, they have always been part of it. But with a completely different risk situation for the audience.
Last year we already held our breath in the qualifying round of the Dörr McLaren. And last year, too, many vehicles at the “airfield” (where does this name come from?) Had massive under-air conditions.
Wilhelm Hahne writes that an experienced Nordschleife pilot lifts up there so as not to fly off later. Well - you don't like to contradict Wilhelm Hahne - but I say: A real racer doesn't pull out. A real racer only wants one thing, like Jürgen Alzen to find the physical limit.
The tragic death of a spectator over a week ago, at the first VLN run of the 2015 season, was not the driver's fault. It wasn't the viewer's fault either. It wasn't even the fault of the manufacturer and the team. It was pure tragedy. It was a chain of logical steps.
GT3 vehicles are currently the rough weapons for the Nordschleife. An overall victory? Hardly possible without GT3. The driver, a young talent, an excellent driver. Of course, it's his job to find the limit. Shimmy along it. To be faster than your competitors, faster than your teammates.
Was it the Nordschleife? On the security precautions? Perhaps.
The only solution is to ban the GT3 on the Nordschleife
In yesterday's conference the DMSB decided on an “immediate package” of measures, because one thing is clear - even if the GT3s have become too fast for the Nordschleife, like Group C, even if the relatives of a spectator are now sitting at the grave - the works have to be kept going, the show has to go on.
And so that the show takes place, but at the same time one fulfills the moral obligations - because we are not here in the Circus Maximus - a speed limit is introduced, among other things.
Jürgen Alzen also finds clear words here:
So far, I've always been a bit proud when we did a good job at the end of the race on the Nordschleife, perhaps the most difficult track ever.
From now on, they want to tell me what risk I am willing to take.
No, I'm not a Conchita Bockwurst!
Think of me as you want, but the nonsense started with code 60 and GPS monitoring.
Here, too, financial interests, the "user" of this system, prevailed against accidental damage (in the millions) of teams and drivers.
This is just the "first" sequel to a power and money roulette, wait and see what happens ...
I think he's basically right. The speed limit now issued and the general show behavior of the DMSB are ridiculous. Only he draws the wrong conclusions from it.
Yes, the DMSB decision is nonsense. But accepting dead and injured as a given.
A simple ban on the GT3 class would be correct. It's right.
And what do the top drivers do on the ring? What does a Jürgen Alzen do, what do the real Nordschleife cracks do if you simply take away the vehicle class?
Either they stand by their word and are not looking for the physical limit at Sub8, but at Sub9.
Cultural assets, motorsport extremes - in the end, the search for the limit must be subject to a few thoughts on safety. For the drivers, for the spectators.
But without the financially motivated solution to put racers under a speed limit, just so that the factories stay with them.
Werke, you want GT3 customer sport?
Then buy the Nordschleife. Invest heavily in security. The cultural property is manipulated until it goes to the synthetic Mickey Mouse Arena.
Customer sport on the Nordschleife can do without a GT3. Opel Astra OPC Cup, Toyota GT86 Cup, BMW M235i Cup. All series with a lot of excitement. Motorsport in its purest form. Driver against driver.
The massive money burning in the GT3 was never the right solution for popular sports. Not for the VLN, not for the N24h.