If asked what the best motorsport event in the world is, your initial thoughts will most likely jump to the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans or perhaps even the Indy 500. These events are popular for good reason with history, gravitas and great racing placing them high up on any motorsport fan's wish list.
However, I’m here to tell you why the Nurburgring 24 hour is the race weekend you should be spending you hard earned cash on.
I’ll admit, before experiencing the N24 first hand, 24 hours of racing didn’t seem like the most appealing prospect because a two hour Formula One race can be a bit taxing, but the racing at the N24 is just one element of what is basically, a petrolhead's dirty weekend.
So read on, and I'll tell you why you need to start planning next year's time off around the world's most fun motoring event.
Before I've even smelled even the smallest whiff of motorsport, Falken Tyres asked if I was interested in a little drift show on the Friday before the Saturday race start. Let me tell you now, if you are ever invited to a drift show that includes a 7.4-litre V8 Silvia S13 pick-up truck tandem drifting with a 7.4-litre V8 BMW E30, don't you dare turn that down.
Drifting into a sunset.. Who said my filming skills are crap
This wasn't your ordinary drift show with a perfect drift line repeated 20 times in various cars. No, this had an eclectic mix of drifting machines all throwing their cars into the corner without a care in the world, other than to please an eager crowd.
The biggest cheer of the night went to the slightly underpowered Silvia S14 who couldn't get his car sideways after eight or nine attempts. Then finally, as the sun disappeared behind the tyre barriers, he chucked it into the corner with such ferocity that the rear tyres nearly flew off their wheels just so he could hear the sweet sound of a sarcastic cheer from the sunburnt and somewhat inebriated crowd.
What a way to start the weekend.
As a regular paying punter at an Formula One race, you stand almost zero chance of getting access to the teams. You may have a chance post-race to quickly see the cars as the teams pack up their things and move onto the next location, but it's hardly a welcoming event.
Jump to the Nürburgring and you can walk around all the teams in the paddock and really get amongst the action.
The teams are eager to get new fans on board with loads of free merchandise as you walk around, rather than a £95 keyring from Force India.
With the N24 race being so long, the 200,000 fans soon find ways to entertain themselves as the sun sets on the first few hours of racing.
I know this clip isn't the highest of quality, but I feel it demonstrates the festival atmosphere quite well.
As I walked deep into the forest the sights, smells and experiences got weirder and weirder. The video above is a good example of how close the party is to the action. It is hard to see, but there is a very drunk German man standing on a podium dancing along to AC/DC's 'Thunderstruck' with the cars racing at over 150mph behind my back.
The thing that struck me as typically German was the level of efficiency and preparation the fans had all the way along the 25km circuit. The scaffolding was something out of a Mad Max film as I was forced to walk through family living rooms that blocked the way. Every single group in the huge shanty town that crops up around the track for the N24 seemed to have a generator that powered a TV or a sound system that wouldn't be out of place in Ibiza.
The atmosphere was always jovial with a slight edge to it that always kept me on my toes... in a good way. There is nothing that gets you into the spirit of a festival like mild peril.
Finally… the racing itself
Even if the N24 didn't have the festival atmosphere, it would still be the best for getting close the action. In a race that covers such a long distance over such a long time, the variety in racing conditions makes the action constantly engaging.
The race started in warm sunny conditions but as the race descended into night, the Nürburgring lived up to its name of 'the green hell.' At around 3am, lightning filled the sky as torrential rain made racing conditions very sketchy indeed for the 147 cars.
Before the race, I spoke with Falken Tyres racer Peter Dumbreck ab out one of the main challenges he encounters on this track: the back markers. This proved the case as throughout the night there were various crashes where a GT3 racer has attempted to lap one of the classic cars and misjudged the situation.
There are always going to be complications where the level of performance among the 147 cars varies so much, but this adds so much more to the action. Seeing a BMW M6 GT3 overtaking an '80s Opel Manta while struggling for vision in heavy fog and torrential rain was something to behold.
If you add all of the elements together, the N24 has it all. In-your-face racing, a festival atmosphere, drift Friday and a hell of a lot of German techno. What more could you want?
Thanks again to Falken Tyres for looking after me and keeping me safe in those scary forests.
Have you been to the N24? If not, what do you think the best race weekend is? Let me know in the comments.