What can be harder than the Nürburgring 24 Hours? WTCR racer Monteiro reckons he has the answer
When, as planned, the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife hosts the season-opening WTCR Race of Germany from June 3-5, Tiago Monteiro can lay claim to being one of the most experienced drivers on the grid.
Aside from the knowledge he’s gained racing on the 25.378-kilmometre track in the FIA World Touring Car Championship and, more recently, the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup, Monteiro has made the venue’s ADAC TOTAL 24h-Rennen event a regular fixture in a Honda Civic Type R TCR.
After claiming a second class win in succession last September alongside fellow Honda-powered WTCR racer Esteban Guerrieri, plus Dominik Fugel and Markus Oestreich, Monteiro has since underlined the level of challenge that the twice-round-the-clock event presents.
“The Nürburgring 24 Hours is probably the most difficult race on earth,” the Portuguese ace said. “It’s the biggest human challenge that you will see face-to-face because of the difficulty, the tiredness, the stress, the fear sometimes.
“It’s a 25-kilometre racetrack, but 2.5 kilometres are straight and flat out, and during that time you can kind of stretch and relax your arms, because you spend the next eight minutes really gripping the steering wheel with no time to breathe at all.”
Despite the difficulties faced racing for 24 hours on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, Monteiro concedes it must be even harder for his Honda-powered colleagues who race in the Le Mans 24 Hours Motos, which is scheduled to take place behind closed doors from April 15-18 as a round of the FIM Endurance World Championship from WTCR promoter Eurosport Events.
“For us the [Nürburgring 24 Hours] feels like the hardest race we do, but if you compare to racing 24 hours on a bike, without the safety and surrounding of a car, they have a very different approach to risk and danger and effort.”
A documentary following Team Castrol Honda Racing competing on the Nordschleife and F.C.C. TSR Honda France racing at Le Mans is available at this link. Going behind-the-scenes at both events, 2+4=24 discovers what it takes to tackle, and win, a gruelling 24-hour test of endurance.