Hello, I am Marcel, I am 36 years old – it is never too late to start something, is it? – today I want to add a chapter to my diary from the motorsport world. Enjoy reading this part of the Diary of a Motorsport Engineer

Welcome back to my motorspot blog. I started to sum up some memories of my 22 visits of the 24h of the Nürburgring. I visit this race since 2001. First as a kid, then as a photographer, and now as an engineer. I also “enjoyed” once watching it from the TV screen at home … 2020 …

Here we go for 2001 to 2005


It was May 25th, one week after my “confirmation”, which was a big deal back in the day with all my family together. I believe in god, yes, god of motorsport.

During this spiritual event I received a ticket for the #24hNBR 2001. 14 years old. It was the 29th edition of that race and I had never been to any racing circuit. I used to say “I want to be a spectator at F1” – (green)Hell I didn’t know what I said.

Early in the morning my parents and me reached the track and literally the first thing which I saw was a car in the gravel. It was still the “old style” “Castrol S” the first corner of the Nürburgring GP track. Sitting on the big grandstand known as “T4” it wasn’t as cold as it was the years after and the cars which were running were the Youngtimer Trophy.

This picture marks my first connection with trackside Motorsport at the most challenging race track in the world. It was great. I couldn’t believe the atmosphere around the track, the paddock and everything. My heart was beating for the track action. I could barely follow the fight in the classes or any of the special structures in this special racing series. It was around 230 cars going into FP1 and 210 in the grid. Lot’s of traffic around. However saw the second win for the Zakspeed Viper over the Phoenix Porsche. What a race!

Getting back to my original motivation, I have not been a spectator so far in a Formula 1 race, well never say never.


It was May 7th 2002 one year after the first race it was clear that we will be trackside again for the 30th edition of #24hNBR.

#GreenHell was calling. I am not sure if you can imagine, but it started to call roughly 51 weeks before.

I took this picture few seconds before the formation lap. This is very special as on some parts of the track the spectators are very close and back in the day they did even „high five“ with the drivers.

Here we have Porsche, Viper, Nissan GT-R, BMW „Eifelblitz“ and even a BMW E30 in the top 10 on the grid. No doubt this car had nothing to do with the originals on sale or in the DTM some further years ago. It was up to or more than 200 cars on the grid. Just this small glimpse already let‘s the heart of every fan beat. Sitting there you wait another roughly 20 minutes until the cars return from their formation lap and then there will be cars all over the track for the next 24 hours.


The 31st edition of #24hNBR in 2003 saw some non typical track layout compared to today. Today we would say they ran the VLN variant with Mercedes Arena and without Müllenbachschleife. The Dunlop-Corner was filled with the paddock of the historic 24h cars. Nowadays their paddock is in the Mercedes Arena and after the Yokohama S the cars go directly down to the Dunlop hairpin.

On the picture you see a V8 Star silhouette touring car lapping an Opel almost series like car.

From 2000 onwards there were some new racing series invented, like GT Masters or V8 Star. The V8 Star cars were kind of a german interpretation of a NASCAR without looking like NASCAR. The thing in common to a certain exteng were the engine sounds. Developed by Jack Roush they had a very strong and characteristic V8 sound.

Whenever a new series came up, I, as a spectator, was somehow hoping that the teams had the idea to run those cars on the Nordschleife.

With my technical knowledge from today I am pretty sure that the V8 Star, as driven in the sprint races, was not able to compete in a 24h race. I believe they had to adjust the suspension, possibly make sure the drivers don‘t overheat, change brake system and improve engine and gearbox so that they could run 30 hours or more in one cycle.

So bringing a car to a track into a racing format where it was not built for and racing it for the „golden pineapple“ (this is a German thing, because there is no Championship and no price money) knowing that you cannot win the race and maybe not even your class, requires a certain invest and is definitely not only built on fans engagement, but on a pile of money.


In 2004 we celebrated the 32nd edition of #24hNBR. 24 hours in a Seat Ibiza already sounds like a challenge. Add the Nordschleife – green hell – on to it and you have something almost impossible, combined with drivers who only do this race and without much Nordschleife experience – this was still possible in 2004 – it is a real lottery.

Then and today the Nürburgring attracts a lot of different nationalities. Fans, teams, manufacturers, drivers, media, marshals, sponsors, everyone wants to participate in this race.

No matter if you race in a Porsche 911, a Seat Ibiza, stand trackside as a marshal or photographer or climb out of your tent early in the morning after the biggest motorsport party in the world. Everyone is a winner! Because this race is one of ths most special motorsport events in this world on the toughest and longest permanent race track.


2005, this year I turned 18 meaning I’d soon be able to at least drive TO the Nürburgring on my own. There is literally no way to get there without a car. It was about the time that we started to also watch the VLN or – as it was called then – BFGoodrich Endurance Series. It is a series of up to 10 races with 4h and 6h parts. Exclusively held on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Up to 200 cars. So very much like a lot of small events of the big one.

It is interesting to see that the BMW works squad Jörg Müller, Patrick Huisman, Andy Priaulx shared a „small“ BMW and not a GT car to fight for overall win.

If I remember correctly those WTCC cars were equipped with diesel engines. So they could go the maximum driving time – 2,5 hours – without a pit stop. Also the handling of a diesel engined car is a bit better. If it comes to „Eifelwetter“ with a partially wet and dry track, the diesel is usually easier to handle. Not to forget the reliability of a diesel engine. So it was still possible, slowed down by some regulations, to get into too 20 or even top 10.

Back to the original topic. So with up to 10 VLN races and the 24h race the waiting time was much smaller and more convenient. Getting the dose 💉 of motorsport more frequently. At VLN – today called NLS – you can walk around the track, meet nice people and everyone is focused on the race. While during the 24h race the focus sometimes goes away from racing to more genuine habits 🍻🔥🍗⛺️

Fun fact before the finish of this post, this picture marked about the starting point of looking for interesting perspectives. So I stood in front of the BMW and saw the reflection of the car in the water. I love it. This is something which eventually – 18 years later – brought me to working in the pinnacle of motorsport, the 24h of Le Mans.

Thank you for reading my story from the motorsport world! Did you enjoy it?
Do you have a suggestion for the next topic? Or a question to this one? Leave a comment via my contact form or send me an email: CLICK

You want to read another story? Checkout about my passion for motorsport photography and my engagement in the 24h of LeMans: LINK or about moments before and after a race weekend: LINK

See you trackside!

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