Former F1 driver Tiago Monteiro has raced at the famed Le Mans 24 Hours but nothing compares with dicing for a full day around the old Nürburgring Nordschleife – a daunting, 15.8-mile circuit in the Eifel Mountains of Germany dubbed by Jackie Stewart as the Green Hell.
“It is so far from the pits we carry cash for a cab, a rain jacket and an extra mobile phone if we need to summon help,” says the Portuguese, whose highlight in motor racing’s premier series was a podium for Jordan at the United States Grand Prix back in 2005.
“It is probably the most challenging, the most difficult race on earth,” says the Honda driver. “Twenty-four hours are always tough, no matter where you do it. But when you add changing weather, a crazy long twenty-five kilometres race track, with bumps, twenty-something blind corners… it is really the most demanding.
“Maybe not as famous [as the Le Mans 24 Hours] in terms of public knowledge, but in the motorsports world this is the race that you have to finish and try to win.”
If Monteiro and the four-wheeled gladiators who take on each other around the Green Hell seem tough, meet Australian Josh Hook. He is a 24-hour racer, too. Except he races on two wheels.
In this year of Covid, the only major 24-hour bike race was at Le Mans in August (run on the 2.6-mile Bugatti Circuit rather than the 8.5-mile full La Sarthe circuit used by the cars). Hook, 27, entered despite having two broken bones in his right foot – sustained in a crash less than a day before the race began.
To pitch Hook and Monteiro against each other in reality is impossible. They both race near-road spec machines (Honda Civic Type R and Honda Fireblade respectively) but there the similarity ends.
But in the virtual world of film comparisons are possible. I have just finished a documentary called 2+4=24. It follows Hook and Monteiro to the edges of hell and back in the two toughest 24 Hour races of 2020.
Taxi for M. Monteiro? Watch and find out…
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