What is the Nürburgring?
If you spend any time reading about performance cars, then you have likely heard the word Nürburgring. What is the Nürburgring? It’s actually a race track, and it has been used for car testing for nearly 100 years. We’ll dive into its history, its significance, and more right here.
What does the Nürburgring name mean?
The Nürburgring has gone by many names over the years. Famous race car driver Jackie Stewart nicknamed it The Green Hell owing to its difficulty and the luscious greenery through which the track delicately flows. Its real name has always been Nürburgring, and it actually has a very simple meaning.
The track itself encircles the castle of Nürburg in the Eifel mountains of Germany. The name is literally a ring of the famous castle. Other names associated with the circuit include Nordschleife or North Loop, Südschleife or South Loop, and Gesamtstrecke or Whole Course.
The South Loop was largely destroyed to make way for a Grand Prix circuit with modern racing standards which shares a very small portion of the Nordschleife track. As such, if you hear Nürburgring in relation to F1 or other forms of racing, then they are largely talking about the Grand Prix circuit. If you hear it in regard to car testing, then typically they are referring to The Green Hell itself, the Nordschleife.
Why is the Nürburgring Nordschleife so difficult?
The difficulty of the Nürburgring Nordschleife comes largely by way of its sheer size, the number of corners, and its speed. The current Nordschleife is nearly 13 miles long and has a total of 154 turns. This coupled with a large number of elevation changes throughout the track has made it an almost impossible track for drivers to memorize.
To give you an idea of how fast the circuit is, even with 154 turns, the racing lap record stands at 6:11.13. That’s just over 6 minutes providing an average track speed of 120 mph!
Why does everyone test cars at the Nürburgring?
Running one lap all out at the Nürburgring Nordschleife is a monumental task in its own right. With the extreme speed and the sheer variety of corners, it’s a true test of handling, brakes, and performance. Its size also makes it easy to see differences from car to car and even run to run.
A shorter track may have cars separated by fractions of a second, but almost all the top ten lap records at Nürburgring have full seconds between them, and the top position is a full 34-seconds faster than the tenth position.