Nurburgring 24 Hour Recap - DRIVE CENTRAL

Uploaded by drive on 03.01.2012


MIKE SPINELLI: Hey, I'm Mike Spinelli from Jalopnik, and
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So every week, that'll be what's going on, so subscribe.
Anyway, yesterday you saw Drive's first special,
"Shakedown at the Nurburgring 24." Today on Drive Central,
we're going behind the scenes with the host of Shakedown,
Leo Parente, on what makes the Nurburgring 24 such an amazing
motorsports event, and what went into making that
particular piece of film.
But first, you know his work from UK's EVO Magazine and
soon on
He's Drive's own British person and sideways driver,
Chris Harris.
Chris is premiering a new car review show
on Drive next week.
Let's check out this clip from one of Chris's upcoming shows
costarring a Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Coupe.
That's Chris Harris' new show, premiering on Drive Wednesday,
January 11.
Now, you may know Alex Roy from his transcontinental
driving record, his Grand-Am racing team, his recent run in
Baja 1,000, or his helmet-like pate.
Alex's new road trip show, Live and Let Drive, premieres
next week with a search for Area 51, where the government
tests its secret black helicopters.
Here's a clip.
ALEX ROY: I was told a car show requires three things.
I think it requires about 20 things--
friendship, chicken wings, muscle cars, sports cars,
aliens, whorehouses, Nevada, desert, dunes, friends, more
friends, fighting, friends who betray you, cars, chicken
wings, whorehouses, I can't remember.
This is my show.
This is that show.

MIKE SPINELLI: Live and Let Drive premieres on Tuesday,
January 10 on
So you saw the first Drive special on the 24 Hours of
Nurburgring, and if you haven't, check it out now.
Here to talk about the first Drive special, we have with us
Leo Parente, host of Drive's motorsports show, Shakedown,
and producer JF Musial to talk about stuff related to that
particular show.
So, 24 Hours of Nurburgring, what makes that such an entry
in the bucket list of car fans?
LEO PARENTE: I think you've got three things that really
distinguish it.
One, the danger.
It's clearly a factor of making that race so exciting.
Number two, the traffic.
200 cars, a lap time differential, the pole was, at
one time, 8 minutes, 32.
Six minutes later, the slowest cars were running-- you've got
200 cars with that disparity.
And then I think the last thing is it's
the technical diversity.
It's so antispec.
The cars are all different.
The track is not a sanitized F1 track.
It's all so intense.
That's what made it different.
JF MUSIAL: You're looking at runoff areas of four to five
feet in some places.
There's no margin for error.
And if you look at how many cars, it's incredible.
There's so much passing going on everywhere on the track.
MIKE SPINELLI: Well, that's the thing.
LEO PARENTE: And in the woods, isn't the track only 30
meters, or 30 feet wide?
JF MUSIAL: You can barely fit two cars through.
LEO PARENTE: It's amazing.
MIKE SPINELLI: Well, you know, from watching this, I didn't
realize like, thinking about the closing speeds, you have
cars hitting 200, and you have other cars
that max out at 125.
How do they keep from--
LEO PARENTE: Well, the running joke that we didn't put it in
the video was IndyCar can't get 25 cars through turn one,
and here's 200 guys and girls running for 24 hours, and it
really was that respectful element of danger.
I mean, the fast cars had the blue lights so you knew you
had to respect them.
But even the wheel-to-wheel traffic, if you effed up,
you're all going in the fence, what's the point?
And there was that type of acknowledgement.
JF MUSIAL: You know, when you look at the drivers, there's
one shot we had in the film of the SLS AMG Gullwing.
And there's one shot where the driver hits the curb, and he
swerves back in, and then he comes back out.
It's like they're wheeling these cars
every minute they get.
They're right on the edge, because as the drivers said,
they don't really know the track perfectly.
MIKE SPINELLI: Well, that's what I was going to say.
I mean, how often does the average racer get to--
I mean, I guess in Germany, you can just pay and drive the
But how do you--
I mean, there aren't that many training laps
that these guys do.
JF MUSIAL: Well, I think they're only doing like six or
seven laps, right?
And not only that, there's not a lot of practice.
And a commenter already made the thing that said, oh, Leo,
you're wrong.
700 people must know it.
You've got top level pros, Le Mans winners, SF1--
JF MUSIAL: F1 drivers.
LEO PARENTE: --and you've got amateurs.
All I'll say is, some of the pros looked me in the eye and
said you know what?
I'm still learning track.
When I made the comment about catching the car through the
whole thing, it was because a pro told me, you know what?
I don't know this whole thing.
I'm just wheeling it.
JF MUSIAL: And I'm sure learning the track is much
more than knowing where the turns are, but knowing the
different surfaces.
You know, there's concrete patches, different things.
The curbs there are maybe five inches off the tarmac in
certain places, so it's not just normal curbing.
You have to know every piece of the track.
LEO PARENTE: Different weather, different conditions,
different time of day, everything factors into
literally catching the car as you run through this place.
MIKE SPINELLI: So I mean, what about managing
200 cars on the track?
I mean, how do they know when to pit?
I mean, that must be a nightmare, pitting.
JF MUSIAL: Actually, one of the drivers actually said
their radios actually go out of service after a certain
point, so they actually carry cell phones in
the car with them.
So if something happens, they're calling on a cell
phone to get back to the pits and say, I don't know
what's going on.
MIKE SPINELLI: So they're driving the Nurburgring and
they're calling-- so they're texting while driving?
See now, that's--
LEO PARENTE: I've got to tell you, I was constantly amazed
how this whole thing worked from the people that are
running the race, organizing everyone to get to the grid
and get to the start to the teams kind of managing fuel
loads, skimp changes, the mechanics of it.
JF MUSIAL: The pits.
The pits are the craziest part of this whole equation because
there's 200 cars.
There are not 200 pits, so you've got four or five cars
sharing one pit stop.
By the end of the race, that may be down to two cars.
But at the beginning, they're managing-- like look at the
opening shots just see how many cars there are.

LEO PARENTE: So JF mentioned pit lane.
It was amazing.
It's not like a US racing thing.
There were fans.
There were camera people.
There were press.
It was just packed with people, and yet no one was
getting run over.
Everyone was, once again, respecting, I think, the
danger of this whole experience.
It was absolutely amazing.
JF MUSIAL: There were people that had VIP guests, and
everyone knew to look out for those people, because they
don't know what they're doing.
They're doing pit walks during the race.
And actually, the press guide mentioned that if you check
with the corner marshal--
JF MUSIAL: The photographers.
LEO PARENTE: Photographers can cross the
track during the race.
So screw worrying about hitting 200 cars.
Now I've got to dodge the photographer?
JF MUSIAL: Actually, we noticed, actually, this is
something that did not make it into the film.
We had footage of it.
There was a photographer during the qualifying that
actually got hit by debris in the carousel.
The car popped--
I think it was an M3.
It popped into the carousel, popped out, hit the wall, and
there was a photographer right there that got hit.
He got stretchered out and everything, it was pretty bad.
JF MUSIAL: So there is an element of danger for both
sides of the equation, spectators and also--
MIKE SPINELLI: Well, it's interesting.
So drivers are kind of out there on their own in a lot--
because that's a huge track.
So they're out there.
It's not like, come on back in.
What if you blow a tire in the middle of the--
JF MUSIAL: There are two elements of this.
So some people--
I saw cars actually on the normal roads because the track
is so expansive, three towns.
If you blow a tire at turn four out of 100, or whatever
it may be, some of them will just get off the track and
drive on the normal roads back to the pits.
LEO PARENTE: Vettel cuts to chicane--
these guys go on interstate.
JF MUSIAL: Most certainly.
And then there's also stories of certain teams hiding spare
parts in the woods so that they don't have to make it
back to the pits, the driver can make the change.
MIKE SPINELLI: So a driver theoretically breaks down in
the middle of the--
JF MUSIAL: Well, a tire.
A tire goes out.
MIKE SPINELLI: Runs into the woods and gets a tool kit and
changes the tire.
LEO PARENTE: We won't name names, but it's not
It's true.
JF MUSIAL: It has happened.
LEO PARENTE: There are teams putting parts in the woods.
MIKE SPINELLI: That's cool.
That's very cool.
JF MUSIAL: It's pretty cool.
And then you've got the craziness of the--
MIKE SPINELLI: Well, speaking of the woods,
I mean, look at--
I mean, this is like--
you mentioned that it was like Coachella meets
Burning Man for cars.
I mean, look at that beer tower.
LEO PARENTE: OK, so I kind of misled here because I said
we're only like three hours into the race.
What JF discovered-- he got there early.
These people have been here for over a week.
I was there a week before they actually shot most of this,
and these people were setting up the Monday before the race.
MIKE SPINELLI: Well, it's like a lot like--
I mean, like Sebring in America, they do this kind of
stuff and--
LEO PARENTE: On steroids, on steroids.
I mean, we talked to people at our hotel in the area, and
this is an annual pilgrimage.
They all get ready to go here.
Now, I thought we'd find a combination of real race fans
and just, hey, we're here to party like Long Beach.
Unfortunately, every time we talked to someone, they knew
the goddamn racing.
It was amazing.
I mean, they're into it.
So they actually following it.
It's not like they're wasted, and they don't know what
they're doing up there.
JF MUSIAL: They don't.
And they know the drivers.
They have their fans.
It's pretty cool.
MIKE SPINELLI: So one last thing.
If someone wants to go-- a fan wants to go to the 24 Hours of
Nurburgring, should they expect-- should they just pack
their tent and show up there?
JF MUSIAL: There are a lot of people on a lot of car forums
that have gone to this event.
I would scour those forums first and foremost before you
purchase any tickets.
And I have to tell you, hotel situations, you have to book
at least six, seven months in advance.
you have to.
MIKE SPINELLI: And it's when?
JF MUSIAL: It's in June, I think, June this year.
And they try to make sure it doesn't mess with any other
racing schedules or any other visitors.
MIKE SPINELLI: So it's late now, but if you--
JF MUSIAL: It's a bucket list item you have to go to.
It's in the middle of the summer, though, and again, in
the film, it's only seven hours of darkness, so don't
expect to sleep too much.
LEO PARENTE: It was awesome.
MIKE SPINELLI: And what's next for you guys?
What's the next show you guys are going to be working on?
JF MUSIAL: You want to know something?
We're going to be doing these specials, I guess, every few
weeks up to every quarter.
I think the question really remains, what does the
audience want to see, because we can really do anything that
is really demanded of us.
We have ideas, but we want to know what you guys think.
Where should we go?
And don't say, to go to hell.
MIKE SPINELLI: Something like 24 hours
of Lemons, for example.
I just threw that out there.
JF MUSIAL: And there are awesome car events out there.
I wish we could have done Dakar, but
Dakar is already done.
MIKE SPINELLI: That's a tough one.
Maybe next year.
JF MUSIAL: Who knows?
Who knows?
JF MUSIAL: So bucket list.
MIKE SPINELLI: JF Musial, producer of Drive, and Leo
Parente, host of Shakedown, the Drive
show which is on when?
LEO PARENTE: Monday and Friday.
MIKE SPINELLI: So before the races and after the races.
LEO PARENTE: Pretty much.
There you go.
So that's all for Drive Central this week.
If there's something that you want to see, like these guys
said, let us know.
And we'll see you next week later.