This weekend, thousands of teams will go head to head at the Green Hell for a day. Here’s a guide to the iRacing Nurburgring 24 Hours.
The Nürburgring 24 Hours is a staple on the endurance racing calendar. For over fifty years, it has provided the ultimate challenge to countless top racing teams. Thanks to its narrow track, enormous grid sizes and challenging weather conditions, the N24 is an infamous beast.
It is the jewel in the crown of the NLS endurance series, held solely on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. But in reality, most see it as a standalone event that every manufacturer in Germany desperately wants to win.
Thanks to its fame, the race made it on to iRacing‘s Special Events calendar a number of years ago. Unlike other license-bound races such as Le Mans and the Indy 500, the iRacing N24 has remains strong on the calendar. Much like its real-world counterpart, it is certainly one of the most challenging events in iRacing and provides a great challenge for all those that compete.
The iRacing running of the race takes place this weekend. Whether it’s your first time taking part or simply want to know more about the event, here’s a brief guide explaining everything you need to know.
The Green Hell
Most simracers will know that the Nürburgring Nordschleife bares a unique nickname. Dubbed the Green Hell in 1968 by Sir Jackie Stewart, it is one of the most challenging courses to race on.
During the N24, racers will use both the traditional Nordschleife layout as well as the Grand Prix circuit. The combination of both tracks makes the 26km Gesamstrecke, a true challenge for drivers and engineers alike.
In fact, with around ten minutes between each pass of the pits, ensuring you have enough fuel to cover the next lap is crucial. You may still have a heavy load of fuel onboard. But if you can’t make it round, that’s the end of your race.
For drivers, the challenge comes from the two different mindsets one must have around the course. On the GP loop, one has to push just as much as the rest of the grid. Drive conservatively and you will drop buckets of time. However, the Nordschleife is the total opposite. One must treat the Green Hell with care and respect. Make a small mistake and your race won’t be going much further.
iRacing N24 Classes
The real world Nürburgring 24 Hours is known for its many classes and the iRacing edition is no different. A total of five separate classes will do battle at the Green Hell and with a maximum field size of 55 cars, that leaves plenty of class competition.
First on the grid will be the GT3 category. To allow for iRacing‘s maximum of eight different car models per race, just three cars are available. Players looking to join the GT3 ranks will have to choose between the BMW M4 GT3, the Porsche 911 GT3 R and Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo. An all-German line-up, this reflects the most popular choices in machinery for the real race.
The fastest of the single-make classes will be the Porsche Cup class. As one would imagine, this category sees a dozen Porsche 992 911 GT3 Cup cars race around the Gesamtstrecke 24h layout. Lacking ABS and traction control, this is a difficult beast to tame on even the easiest circuits, so beware of the Cup car on the Nordschleife.
Whilst running in separate classes, GT4 and TC always seem to run at a similar pace. In the iRacing Nurburgring 24 Hours, the GT4 field will be made up of the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 and Porsche Cayman GT4. Meanwhile, the TC class becomes a single-make category in 2023, only utilising the Audi RS3 LMS.
Making up the rear end of the grid this year is the Toyota GR86 Cup in the Spec category. This new model released earlier this year replaces the Mazda MX-5 Cup car’s traditional spot in the race. A relatively easy to drive car, expect retirements from this category to come from major accidents and race craft mistakes rather than driver error.
Competing at the Nürburgring 24
If you’re planning on taking part in this year’s running of the iRacing N24, you may want information on session times and conditions. Here’s the gist of everything going on this weekend.
Racers will be competing on the weekend of 13-14 May. But sessions will set the simulator to the date of the real-world event. In-game, the race will start at 3:13 pm on 20 May.
Upon entering their event, players will get a 20-minute warm-up session before 25 minutes of qualifying. This is a team event, so a minimum of two drivers is required to compete. However, you would do best to team up with a quartet of racers to ensure fatigue doesn’t bite you on this 26km circuit.
Throughout the 24-hour event, teams can receive up to 100 incident points before getting a Stop and Go penalty. After the 100-point mark, a penalty will be given for every 20 incident points a team racks up.
As with all iRacing Special Events, racers have the choice of four sessions to compete in, all beginning at different times. The first timeslot caters to the Australian crowd, kicking off on Friday at 10:00 pm GMT. Three further timeslots get going throughout Saturday. Players can join the 7:00 am GMT, 12:00 pm GMT or 4:00 pm GMT events.
The majority of racers will be gunning to compete in the midday session. This is the race that features full live stream coverage on Racespot TV. In fact, teams lucky enough to enter the top split event will show off their cars to simracers all around the world.
How to Watch the Race
In fact, the main race will feature a full, official broadcast of its top split. This will run for the full 24-hour period. Let’s hope controversies from Special Events earlier in the year don’t continue into this day-long event.
If POV live streams are more your style, countless sim racing influencers and personalities are set to stream their cars’ runs. The likes of Jimmy Broadbent and Basic Ollie are sure to provide entertainment throughout the weekend as they tackle the Green Hell.
Elsewhere, a community-favourite is also sure to put their spin on Special Event broadcasting. It is always worth tuning in to Bottom Split on Twitch during races such as these. This group of friends spectates the lower splits and shines a spotlight on why Safety Rating is an important part of the simulator.
Whether you plan on competing in the iRacing N24 or simply watching from the sidelines, you are sure to have plenty of fun this weekend.
Are you taking part in the iRacing Nurburgring 24 Hours? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!