How to Win on Two Wheels at Le Mans, and on Four at the Nurburgring 24
Jeremy Hart's latest documentary follows two of the world's premier endurance races.
Be it on tarmac or dirt, endurance races remain the toughest challenges in motorsport. And while shorter contests are best watched live, there's something about all the storylines rising and falling in a 24-hour race that lends itself to a stellar cinematic recap. Created by the same folks who gave us this great short film about the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, 2+4=24 is an ambitious documentary following two warriors into their respective battles: double 24 Hours of Le Mans motorcycle race champion Joshua Hook on his Honda CBR, and double 24 Hours of Nürburgring class winner Tiago Monteiro in his Honda Civic Type R TCR.
Two worlds, two legendary tracks, one goal. And you can watch it right here.
With a track length of 15.7 miles, the Nürburgring isn't just the longest stretch of bumpy tarmac suitable for GT3 racing. Since 1970, it's also the only circuit in the world that holds 24-hour endurance races that are somehow open to hundreds of teams across a wild variety of classes, ranging from old Opel Mantas through almost stock modern hatchbacks, as well as GT4 cars and the latest evolutions of works GT3 monsters from all major manufacturers. Then, there's even the wildcards like Glickhenhaus with America's Chevy-powered 004C.
Having missed the 2020 race won by BMW, in October I wrote about how the N24 is the best race, regardless of how the pandemic and extreme weather affected its 50th running this year. What a nine-hour rain stop couldn't delay was Honda's second consecutive class victory, thanks partly to Portuguese ace Tiago Monteiro, who's been in Formula 1, CART, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and various other series before winning the N24 twice with the Type R.
At the Nürburgring, a lot is down to how blinding your competitors' headlights are before dawn, what happens in the wet behind the Venturi stream of a GT3 car, how big of a miracle your mechanics can pull after a collision, and with the overall tight fencing of the Nordschleife, the drivers' ability to handle the mental pressure for up to 2.5-hours per stint as the pulse reader keeps ticking at 160.
Even compared to that, on two wheels at Le Mans for 24 hours, it's a whole new ballgame.
Australia's Joshua Hook won the race with the French Honda team in 2018 and 2020. In the movie, he walk us through the importance of the first lap started on a full tank that lasts for an hour, with 64 bikes on the grid and not much grip until the sun goes down. It's then 8-9 stints per rider with two hours off before ten minutes of preparation for that ten-second pit stop replacing tires and pumping 6.34-gallons of racing fuel under the crotch area.
On bikes, endurance racing is just much more physical, while no such mistakes are allowed as on four wheels. Physiotherapy is crucial, being blind through the night is normal, and after the sixth stint out there, one would imagine you really wished two plus four would land the day at its 24th hour.
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