On the traditional 22.8 km long Nordschleife ("Northern Loop") version, the competition took usually 44 laps and lasted about eight hours, later less than six hours.
The first event that counted towards the World Sportscar Championship was won by Alberto Ascari and Giuseppe Farina in a Ferrari. Due to disappointing attendance, the race was not held in the following two years. It became quite popular in the 1960s and 1970s though, and even more so after Formula One decided to boycott the Nürburgring after 1976.
The last race on the Northern Loop in 1983 was won by a Porsche 956. In that year, the track had been shorted to 20.8 km and provisional pits were used due to the ongoing construction work.
Since 1984, the 1000 km races were run on the new, much shorter Grand-Prix-Strecke, while the 24 Hours Nürburgring stayed on the legendary long track. In 1991, the 1000 km races were first shortened to 480 km, then discontinued overall due to the demise of the World Sportscar Championship.
In 2000, the 1000 km were resumed, with new competitive cars of BMW and Audi. The race was held as a part of the European Le Mans Series (ELMS), the Euro version of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). In a wet race, the unusual front-engined Panoz of Jan Magnussen and David Brabham won, ahead of a BMW V12 LMR, an Audi R8 and the second Panoz.
The 500 km Nürburgring was also similar event for smaller sportscars during the 1960s and 1970s. VLN has also run four hour endurance races where distances of well over 500 km are covered by the winners.
† - 1974 Race scheduled for 750 km only
‡ - 1981 Race stopped after 17 laps due to fatal accident of Herbert Müller which caused track damage
* - 1986 Race was stopped due to torrential rain and only ran approximately 600 km.