The Nürburgring 24 Hours is already an event you need to attend. Like Le Mans mixed with a music festival (with a splash of stag or hen do thrown in), it’s as fun and festival-like as motorsport gets.
This year’s proved even more unmissable, with Porsche wheeling out two quite special cars for a parade lap of the Nordschleife. Namely the 919 Hybrid Evo, which recently beat an F1 car around Spa, and a 956 C just like the one that still holds the outright lap record for the Ring’s north loop, a startling 6m 11.13s that may never be beaten.
While not the exact same car that Stefan Bellof made history in back in 1983, it was a representative car raced by Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass a year later. It took to the Nordschleife just before the flag fell to mark the start of the N24, alongside the 919 Hybrid Evo that recently set its own record. The 919 was driven by Timo Bernhard, the 956 piloted by racing legend Hans Stuck.
“Christmas came kind of early today,” Stuck said on Saturday, after the run. “It was fun for the fans and fun for us. The barbecues are lit and smoking, it is absolutely unique what the fans set up around the track here. Of course you can have a close look at that when you go so slow as us today. But I have to admit the right foot was really itching. The 956 stills runs like a clockwork.”
Yep, it really was a slow lap, allowing spectators to take in the wonderful sight of these kindred spirits together. But the Evo is arguably a car that could have a go at taking the 956 C’s record, and perhaps even dip under the six-minute barrier. Perhaps this was Porsche hiding in plain sight, getting a feel for how the Evo handles the bumps and crests of the Nordschleife, ready for a record attempt in the near future.
But… would you want it to? Is the romance of Bellof’s time - set during a race weekend, don’t forget - too sacred to be beaten by the highly scientific 919 Evo and it’s no-doubt forensic preparation for a full-pelt lap? Or should the ‘Ring record be much younger than its 35 years?