A few years ago an era ended. The traditional Historic Marathon held on the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring was an important part of the Oldtimer Grand Prix. The Friday belonged to the green hell. For the cars, for the drivers, for the spectators but also for the photographers.
So, I had to pack my backpack on Friday with my cameras, going to the most famous places of the Nordschleife like the Brünnchen, Hohe Acht, Hatzenbach, Quiddelbacher Höhe, Schwalbenschwanz, Eschbach and a few more.
Nordschleife – The green hell
Watching the cars driving the Nordschleife was one of the most exciting moments of the Oldtimer Grand Prix in these days. Cars like the Porsche 904, Ford GT40, Shelby Cobra, Bizzarrini GT, Porsche 911, BMW 2002 TI, Ford Escort, Austin Mini Cooper, Alfa Romeo, Ford Mustang, Jaguar E-Type, Lotus Cortina, NSU Prinz TT and a lot more were seen there in a battle against the clock, against the green hell – competing to each other.
Sometimes there was hard and heavy rain, typical Eifel – weather, sometimes it was very hot, but it was always a pleasure to watch. And from my photographic point of view it was absolutely fantastic to shoot these GT’s, GTS’s and Touring cars at the most famous and most dangerous track in the world. And most of the drivers took this race very seriously. I remember Walter Röhrl driving there with a Porsche 911. In every corner he was sliding – very spectacular but I am not quit sure if this was the most fastest way to drive, but to watch him was always a pleasure.
Of course it was hard work walking around the Nordschleife with the heavy photographic equipment, but it was worth every physical effort. The pictures are great, in my opinion, showing motor racing in its best way. I am quiet happy that I had these opportunities of being part of this special event for a lot of years and having such great pictures in my archive.
The Historic Marathon was a three hour race, historic GT, GTS and Touring cars could take part. And in the best times of this race more than 150 cars were participating. But over the years the people , who would take this risk to drive the Nordschleife decreased. The costs for being part of the grid were rising and when there were less drivers to pay for this race, the AvD should made the decision to cancel this fabulous race from the schedule of the Oldtimer Grand Prix. The costs for using the long Nordschleife were too high and they were not able to get an entry fee from the spectators. So in 2015 it was the last time the AvD Historic Marathon took place.
And so another great historic race event is gone and with this the opportunity to shoot tremendous race cars on the most impressing motor racing track in the world.
Maybe in the future there will be a comeback of the Historic Marathon, they have tried it in 2019 but it didn’t work, so maybe it is too difficult and too expansive , but we can take a look at the old pictures and being grateful to witness this for a few years. Find out more about our photographer Ralph Lüker.