An introduction to the Nürburgring Nordschleife

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Intro to Nordschleife

Nestled in the Eifel mountains in western Germany, the Nürburgring Nordschleife is one of the most famous circuits in Europe and has long been one of the definitive tests of skill, speed and endurance for automotive manufacturers and racing drivers across the world.

Now it’s going to host round 3 of the 2021-22 Le Mans Virtual Series on Saturday, 13th November.

The 21 km/13 mile Nordschleife (northern loop) features over 100 corners, sweeping curves, rapidly changing weather, dramatic climbs and drops, and a straight over 1.6 km/one mile long…it is recognised as one of the most difficult and challenging tracks in the world. It is as unique as it is overwhelming. There may be other tracks, but there is only one true Nürburgring.

Built in the 1920s around the village and medieval castle of Nürburg, the track has more than 300 metres (1,000 feet) of elevation change from its lowest to highest points. Three times F1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart nicknamed the old track “The Green Hell”, a name which has stuck through the decades and for good reason.  It is fast and flowing, but drivers must proceed with caution as the blind crests and little run-off can easily catch out even the most experienced. And that’s before the rain, fog or even snow to contend with!

Intro to Nordschleife rF2

Between 1982 and 1983 the start/finish area of the original Nürburgring layout was demolished to create a new GP-Strecke, and this is now used for all major and international racing events including the FIA WEC which last visited in 2017. The shortened Nordschleife is, however, still in daily use for racing, testing and public access. “Touristenfahrten” (literally tourists’ laps) mean that anyone with a road-legal car or motorcycle, as well as tour buses, motor homes, or cars with trailers, can access the Nordschleife and see for themselves the famous Flugplatz, Fuchsröhre and Karussell.

So how will our Le Mans Virtual Series competitors fare on this legendary track, especially the LMP2 entrants as these cars have never raced here? It will be a leap into the unknown for many of them, but if you want to really see a master at work check out Timo Bernhard’s record-breaking lap of the Nordschleife in a Porsche 919 Hybrid here. Hold your breath for the lap of your life!.

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