The Gentleman's Guide To The Nürburgring

July 28, 2017

For some it is considered automotive Mecca; a great test track, race track and legend in the annals of motorsport. To those who raced on it, it was hell. One of the most feared tracks in the F1 calendar, the undoing of many drivers who never crossed the finish line. 

The Nürburgring, Germany, is considered the most dangerous, tough, challenging and treacherous circuits around. At nearly 21km / 13 miles long; it has extreme height changes and some of the most ludicrous bends to navigate.  So what makes it special? 

 

The ring was the site of the famous battle between Bentley and Mercedes in the pre-war years, the place where Niki Lauda nearly lost his life in an horrific crash and where many of todays top sports cars are now developed. So it is steeped in history and above all...it is open to the public!

"Bond understood something of the challenge that lay ahead of him. Nürburgring was a brute from start to finish, cruel and unforgiving"

               

                                                                            James Bond - Trigger Mortis

 

Distance

Given the courses length, learning all the features is next to impossible. This makes it hard for "technically minded" drivers who like to know what each bend will throw at them, the track favours instinct drivers who can react rapidly but precisely and can take each corner on its merits. 

"One after another, the various sections of Nürburgring flashed past. The Peak, the Mine, the Carousel, the Little Fountain. The innocent names didn't do justice to the horrors each one contained. 

               

                                                                            James Bond - Trigger Mortis

Weather

The Nürburgring issues daily weather reports on local radio and on the entry tolls. Ignore these at your peril as the track has several dicey areas when inclement weather sets in. The track is also so immense that it can be raining on one part of the course and dry on another. Versatility will be key and watch to see for spray on cars ahead of you. 

 

Power!

This course was designed with speed in mind, it therefore has some dramatic elevation rises. Power is your friend here,  you should have a powerful car rather than a light, quick one. Now, of course, we don't all have access to an Aston DB11 but a rented Nissan Pixo from Cologne airport is also not a consideration. 

 

"The last section seemed to welcome him with a corner followed by a stomach-churning drop that Bond didn't see until the last half-second"

               

                                                                            James Bond - Trigger Mortis

 

Beware of Tourists!

The Nürburgring is quite unique in that it is open to the public and operated more akin to a toll road rather than a race track. It can be busy, very busy and the traffic has it's own name "Ring Jam". You will be sharing the tarmac with a range of vehicles and drivers of varying competencies. It is a all too common that you will be battling for space with motorbikes, vans, lorries and even buses. The worst danger however is the one person in a rental car who just doesn't give a hoot. 

 

Locals

This may sound odd advice; but beware the locals. Many of those who inhabit the area around the circuit have been driving the course for years and know it very well. They like nothing better than to bait fast cars and their virgin drivers. Keep your ego on the start line and enjoy. Don't get into a private race and end up binning your pride and joy into a safety rail. 

 

 

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