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The Track

Track Map

Track Map
The legendary Nürburgring is the longest and most challenging racetrack in the world. Period. Most respected automakers develop their sporting models at the 'Ring before releasing them into the market. No other racetrack can match the mystique and history of the Nürburgring.

The track is located between Koblenz and Luxembourg, in the central Western part of Germany. It is NOT near Nürnberg (Nuremberg) as many people assume. On a map, you'll find the 'Ring just North of the A48 Autobahn. Built in the Eifel Mountains near the village of Nürburg, the track is in a picturesque setting of farmland and rolling hills covered with pine trees. Drive time from Munich is 5-6 hours at autobahn speed, depending upon traffic and stops. Frankfurt is about two hours. Frankfurt (airport code FRA) is the closest international airport to the track; Munich (airport code MUC) is about six hours away by Autobahn.

One feature of the Nürburgring that makes it particularly unique is that it is sometimes open to the public. Since the track is operated by a German government entity (and their legal system makes people responsible for their own actions), they open the track to the public and charge a toll to drive laps. Any street-registered car or motorcycle can be taken on the track on these days. If you do drive the 'Ring on an "open" day, beware of a wide variety of vehicles and speeds. Everything from wild Porsches to double-decker buses show up, and they're not always on line! Passing is permitted, but should be done with the overtaking car passing on the left. Most drivers will use their right turn indicator to signal that they see you and it's OK for you to pass them on the left. It can be a hair-raising experience compared to the orderly School.

The Nürburgring Grand Prix Circuit

The Nürburgring Grand Prix Circuit
Today, the facility actually consists of two independent tracks, the Grand Prix Strecke completed in 1984 and used for Formula One and GT racing cars, and the Nordschleife (North Loop) that dates back to 1927. We will describe the Nordschleife, where the International BMW School is conducted.

The Nordschleife is like nothing you've ever seen. Once nicknamed Die Grüne Hölle (the Green Hell), the North Loop includes most of the historic Nürburgring. These facts may help you put it in perspective:

  • 13 miles long
  • over 170 turns (depending on how you count them)
  • about 1000 feet of elevation change from lowest to highest points
  • a two-mile long straightaway
  • four towns and a 12th-century castle are located within its perimeter.

The Karussell

The Karussell
The most famous turn is the Karussell, once a concrete drainage culvert, which loops more than 180 degrees on steeply banked concrete. The German government maintains the track in excellent condition with smooth pavement and nice FIA painted curbing. Over the years, some of the sharp crests have been smoothed so cars don't leap into the air (as much), curbing and drainage have been added, and guardrails closely line both sides of the track to prevent cars from sailing off into the forest. The proximity of the guardrails also leaves minimal run-off room; so small mistakes can turn into major damage. Many of the turns are blind, due to crests you can't see over or are hidden by embankments or trees. Major sections of the track are named, which helps drivers to learn the track by section (Hint: learn the names before you go). Like many tracks, the turn-in points and apex points for most turns have been thoughtfully painted on the asphalt (though some different marks appear every year).

See this article from SportAuto magazine for a very good detailed description of the racing line through each turn of the Nordschleife.

For some excellent information about the Nürburgring, take a look at the following websites:

http://www.nuerburgring.de, track's website with public lap schedule and phone/fax numbers.
http://www.nurburgring.org.uk/ is a very complete site by British enthusiast Ben Lovejoy.
http://home3.swipnet.se/~w-32546/nbring/home.htm is an informative European site.