The 2021 Nürburgring 24-hour race is close to the chopping block, that’s according to sources talking to Motorsport-Total.com. The German-language website claims that a postponement of the race to September, as in 2020, simply isn’t possible, and that a decision whether to continue will be reached by ADAC Nordrhein before the end of this week.
The news story isn’t a total surprise, though I’d be shocked if the N24 didn’t go ahead. As the story suggests, this is a high-stakes poker game being played by all interested parties. Entry fees paid by the teams only bring a little over €1.5m, the rest of the budget is supplied by spectators and advertisers. As the corporate world tightens its purse-strings, and the spectators aren’t allowed to attend, where does the other half of the funding come from?
Nürburgring circuit owners have already been playing “shuffle” with hundreds of organisers and clients, relentlessly pushing back bookings and trying to balance the books while watching future revenue evaporate. Motorsport-Total.com confirms, what we’d already heard, that in 2020 the Nürburgring themselves put budget into making sure the N24H went ahead.
Last year the major manufacturers were asked for extra budget to help the event run, and even Scuderia Glickenhaus, the smallest factory-level squad you could imagine, made a sizeable donation to the marshalling budget in 2020.
While the viability of the ’21 event might be in doubt, I’m still hopeful that a solution will still be found. Online spectator numbers promise to be through the roof, and in a world full of cancellations and virtual events, some real racing action will help manufacturers connect with audiences around the globe.
Good luck everybody, and keep your fingers crossed!
PLUS: this year there will be a Dacia entering the race, so the Top Gear fans have a lot of emotional investment on the line…