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Nordschleife Tourist (Ks convertion)

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1947–1970: The Green Hell
Nürburgring circuit map, taken at the 1964 German Grand Prix; the legend advises "No driving in the Eifel (mountains) without a lap on the Nürburgring".
The Nordschleife from 1927–1967, with small changes also until 1982
The Südschleife (1927–1982); abandoned after 1973

After World War II, racing resumed in 1947 and in 1951, the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring again became the main venue for the German Grand Prix as part of the Formula One World Championship (with the exception of 1959, when it was held on the AVUS in Berlin). A new group of Ringmeister arose to dominate the race – Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, John Surtees, Jackie Stewart and Jacky Ickx.

On 5 August 1961, during practice for the 1961 German Grand Prix, Phil Hill became the first person to complete a lap of the Nordschleife in under 9 minutes, with a lap of 8 minutes 55.2 seconds (153.4 km/h or 95.3 mph) in the Ferrari 156 "Sharknose" Formula One car. Over half a century later, the highest-performing road cars have difficulty breaking 8 minutes without a professional race driver or one very familiar with the track. Also, several rounds of the German motorcycle Grand Prix were held, mostly on the 7.7 km (4.8 mi) Südschleife, but the Hockenheimring and the Solitudering were the main sites for Grand Prix motorcycle racing.

In 1953, the ADAC 1000 km Nürburgring race was introduced, an Endurance race and Sports car racing event that counted towards the World Sportscar Championship for decades. The 24 Hours Nürburgring for touring car racing was added in 1970.

By the late 1960s, the Nordschleife and many other tracks were becoming increasingly dangerous for the latest generation of F1 cars. In 1967, a chicane was added before the start/finish straight, called Hohenrain, in order to reduce speeds at the pit lane entry. This made the track 25 m (82 ft) longer. Even this change, however, was not enough to keep Stewart from nicknaming it "The Green Hell" following his victory in the 1968 German Grand Prix amid a driving rainstorm and thick fog. In 1970, after the fatal crash of Piers Courage at Zandvoort, the F1 drivers decided at the French Grand Prix to boycott the Nürburgring unless major changes were made, as they did at Spa the year before. The changes were not possible on short notice, and the German GP was moved to the Hockenheimring, which had already been modified.

Nordschleife racing today

Several touring car series still compete on the Nordschleife, using either only the simple 20.8 km (12.9 mi) version with its separate small pit lane, or a combined 24.4 km (15.2 mi)-long track that uses a part of the original modern F1 track (without the Mercedes Arena section, which is often used for support pits) plus its huge pit facilities. Entry-level competition requires a regularity test (GLP) for street-legal cars. Two racing series (RCN/CHC and VLN) compete on 15 Saturdays each year, for several hours.

The annual highlight is the 24 Hours Nürburgring weekend, held usually in mid-May, featuring 220 cars (from small 100 hp (75 kW) cars to 700 hp (520 kW) Turbo Porsches or 500 hp (370 kW) factory race cars built by BMW, Opel, Audi, Mercedes-Benz), over 700 drivers (amateurs and professionals), and up to 290,000 spectators.

Automotive media outlets and manufacturers use the Nordschleife as a standard to publish their lap times achieved with production vehicles.

BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld made history on 28 April 2007 as the first driver in over 30 years to tackle the Nürburgring Nordschleife track in a contemporary Formula One car. Heidfeld’s three demonstration laps round the German circuit in an F1.06 were the highlight of festivities celebrating BMW’s contribution to motorsport. About 45,000 spectators showed up for the main event, the third four-hour VLN race of the season, and the subsequent show by Heidfeld. Conceived largely as a photo opportunity, the lap times were not as fast as the car was capable of, BMW instead choosing to run the chassis at a particularly high ride height to allow for the Nordschleife's abrupt gradient changes and to limit maximum speeds accordingly. Former F1 driver Hans-Joachim Stuck was injured during the race when he crashed his BMW Z4.

As part of the festivities before the 2013 Nürburgring 24 Hour race, Michael Schumacher and other Mercedes-Benz drivers took part in a promotional event which saw Schumacher complete a demonstration lap of the Nordschleife at the wheel of a 2011 Mercedes W02. As with Heidfeld's lap, and also partly due to F1's strict in-season testing bans, the lap left many motorsport fans underwhelmed.

Nordschleife (1983–present)
SurfaceAsphalt/concrete
Length20.81 km (12.93 mi)
Turns154
Lap record6:25.91 (West Germany Stefan Bellof, Porsche 956, 1983, WEC)


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Posted by: Nuno Lourenço
Posted on: December 28, 2016, 05:42:59 pm

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