The Fascination of the Racetrack.

Photographic artist Michael von Hassel captures the fascination of the Nürburgring course. 

Driving precision. The limits of technological and personal optimization. The powerful sound of roaring engines. The thrill of danger – a driving error that steals seconds, a crash, a chicane approached too fast. With his images.

Motor racing is captivating, inspiring, and addictive.

Including for artists – such as the photographer Michael von Hassel, from Munich. He knows how to draw the observer of his hyperrealistic photos into the fascination of motor racing and makes the incredible dynamism, power, and poetry of the sport visible.

His powerful visual language equally reflects the orchestrated interaction of the pit crews and the futuristic technology of the racing cars. You can really feel how the driver transforms their skill and instinct into a perfect performance on the track and squeezes every second out of the course.

“As a photographic artist, with every shoot I can delve deep into
a world that I had never experienced in such a way before,” von Hassel explains. In a Bundesliga soccer stadium at sunrise, for example. In an empty Oktoberfest tent. Or, indeed, on this magical weekend at the Nürburgring in summer 2018. 

 Photomontage of pit stop scenes.
 Photomontage of pit stop scenes.

220,000 people made the pilgrimage to the 24-hour race on the “Grüne Hölle” (Green Hell). That is how Formula 1 legend Jackie Stewart once christened the Nordschleife course. To this day, the circuit amid the forests and hills of the Eifel mountain range is considered the testing track for all car manufacturers. The complex turns, treacherous hilltops, and steep inclines make it one of the most demanding in the world.

During the race, Michael von Hassel concentrates on the action
in the pit lane. He is located on the pit wall between the command centers of the teams – in a fireproof racing overall, with ear protectors and heavy photography equipment. 

Close-up curve, asphalt Nürburgring.
Close-up curve, asphalt Nürburgring.

Michael von Hassel captures the fascination of the Nürburgring course with his pictures.

“While I am trying to calmly compose an image with the camera, racing cars are constantly flying past at full speed behind me. It always makes me think of a tsunami. The noise, smell, and vibrations go right through you. It is an extreme situation. The adrenaline is pumping. But it feels good.”

Then one of the lightning-fast cars comes into the pit lane. The tension rises among the pit crew. Each individual knows their task and prepares to get the maximum out of the technology. That also requires the characteristics of a racing driver: precision, split- second reactions, nerves of steel, and a steady hand at top speed. 

 Photomontage of pit stop scenes.
 Photomontage of pit stop scenes.

“It is incredible what people and machines achieve here. Even after almost 24 hours.”

Michael von Hassel is now also perfectly calm. He concentrates fully on taking his photos. Looks out for good images. Changes location and camera angle. “Everyone does their bit. It is incredible what people and machines achieve here. Even after almost 24 hours. I am full of respect and feel humbled. I have caught the bug!” says von Hassel excitedly.

His photographs burn themselves into the memory like a hot- blooded battle on the racetrack: unique images that retain for all eternity the equally hectic and minutely planned moments in the pit lane! 

 Photomontage of pit stop scenes.
 Photomontage of pit stop scenes.

The Nordschleife in numbers

Construction time

1925 to 1927

Construction costs

8.1 million Reichsmark (equivalent to approx. €2.1 million) 

Course length
20,832 km
Number of curves
73 (33 left and 40 right curves)
Up to 17% upward, up to 11% downward 

Further information:



Wide angle setting Nordschleife Nürburgring.
Wide angle setting Nordschleife Nürburgring.

Photography | Michael von Hassel

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