This year the ADAC TOTAL 24h Race has been sold out – measured against Corona conditions. At the start of the long-distance classic, the 10,000 approved seats were all occupied on Saturday. For the return of the visitors, the operators of the Nürburgring had successfully solved a number of questions in advance and were able to draw a positive conclusion in the end. Also thanks to the visitors who willingly followed the rules.
“It was a great feeling to look at the stands at the start and experience the great atmosphere”, explains Nürburgring Managing Director Mirco Markfort. “Happy visitors are the real reward for our work. The fact that all of this worked out is a team success in which everyone contributed.” The first event with spectators in 2021 meant intensive preparation for the Nürburgring, because for the first time only vaccinated, recovered and negatively tested people were allowed to sit on the stands. The verification of valid tests and certificates had to be harmonized with the online booking system and with the access controls. This task was solved with programming work by the Nürburgring IT department and in collaboration with the ticketing partner.
Visitors were able to upload their negative Corona tests in advance via a specially programmed website and were thus able to enter in time. On site, it was possible to upload the test using a QR code or to visit one of the fan counters in the stands. In the background, a motivated Nürburgring team worked to ensure that tickets were released around the clock. Vaccinated and recovered people had a contact point in the ring°carré with their certificates. Here, the German Red Cross maintained a counter to ensure the authenticity of the documents.
“Our developed concept was put into practice for the first time on the 24h weekend”, says Ingo Böder, Head of Events & Operations at the Nürburgring. “Despite intensive preparations, it is quite normal that minor adjustments still have to be made during live operation and that there are sometimes short waiting times. All in all, everything worked out really well. ” According to Böder, this assessment also applies to the seating concept. Here the visitors sat in groups of two for the first time. In addition, masks were required throughout the entire Nürburgring area – including on the seat. A total of 350 stewards were used to comply with all rules. They controlled the proceeding on the stands, in the paddock and around the Nordschleife. “The big thanks go to all those who helped to make this happen. Especially the fans who willingly followed the rules. Only occasionally spectators had to be made aware of the obligation to wear masks”, says Böder.
Scientific accompaniment to enable further conclusionsSince the Nürburgring in Rheinland-Pfalz is a model project for events with spectators outdoors, the whole process is also scientifically supported. From online booking, to the arrival and departure, to the actual stay in the grandstands. That is why the scientists of the Hygiene Institute of the University Hospital Bonn were on site at the weekend. They tested a possible spread of aerosols on the stands. “With the help of a particle emitting device, which was placed on a seat, we brought water particles into the air. We measured the distribution of the particles with a special counter in the environment. From the evaluations, we can draw conclusions about the spread of aerosols outdoors”, explains Dr. Jürgen Gebel, from the Hygiene Institute. His colleague Dr. Britt Hornei adds: “By carrying out PCR tests in the ventilation systems of the VIP lounges, we also want to investigate a possible viral load in indoor spaces. However, due to the protective measures taken, such as the mandatory use of masks, we expect that there will be no introduction of viruses into the ventilation systems.”
24h race as spectator prelude to further eventsThe experiences of the weekend are now to be incorporated into the planning for the upcoming event weekends and to enable spectators here as well, as Managing Director Markfort explains: “The 24h weekend was an important start for the Nürburgring. As an event location, we are affected by severe restrictions from the beginning of the pandemic. Our aim has always been to make events with spectators possible again with proven partners and good concepts. We succeeded in doing so at the right time this year, because there are many other big events to follow, for which we now have justified hopes to have spectators in the stands again. This is vital for the Nürburgring, for the organisers and for the region.”
In June and July, the races of the Nürburgring Endurance Series, the ADAC Truck Grand Prix, Rad am Ring and the eagerly awaited premiere of the FIA World Rallycross Championship await. All information about the events can be found at www. nuerburgring. de/events.