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Our Expert Opinion

The Nürburgring is unforgiving

Author: Oldenburger Hannes | 07.02.2019

Dear friends, it is very important to prioritize your safety on the Nurburgring, as mistakes here can have serious consequences. Failing to make timely decisions, analyze feedback, and heed advice from experienced pilots can lead to unfortunate outcomes. Numerous examples illustrate the high stakes involved. Accidents are a daily occurrence on roads worldwide, making them unpredictable. However, at the Nürburgring, adhering to strict rules, mastering the basics, and prioritizing safety precautions can safeguard not only yourself, but also fellow racing enthusiasts. Stay safe and enjoy the racing.

Nürburgring Nordschleife is not a classic race track

The Nürburgring Nordschleife is not a classic race track with open corners and gravel traps, it is the "Green Hell". If on classic racing tracks with a lot of turns and a short length (Spa-Francorchamps, Hockenheim, Barcelona and others): when skidding from the race track you get into gravel and get stuck in it, from where you can be pulled out and you can continue riding, then at the Nürburgring any mistake and run off the race track usually ends in the guardrails. You have no room for error. To the right and left, along the entire length of the track, you are surrounded by a narrow strip of lawn (2-3 meters wide). When leaving for this, even in dry weather, the car instantly loses traction and goes into the guardrails. This happens primarily due to overestimation of one’s capabilities when you enter a turn too early and too fast.

Typical flight into the guardrail

A common mistake made by all beginners is when you don’t have enough room to complete a turn at high speed. You enter the turn too fast and too early (early apex). Realizing that you won’t fit in, you begin to twist the steering wheel and slow down by braking, thereby blocking the front wheels. When braking, the center of gravity of the car moves forward, the rear part unloads and, with the front wheels turned, you begin to skid. You fly onto the lawn, the tires lose traction and you go into the guardrail. At high speeds, such mistakes end very badly — you lose your car and, God forbid, your health.

The reason for the crash can be anything: oil or antifreeze on the highway, dirt after rain or light frost (starts in October). On the Nurburgring it is impossible to foresee this. Due to elevation changes and closed (or blind) turns, your view is simply lost and you don’t know what awaits you when you exit a particular turn. Sometimes you enter a turn on dry asphalt, and at the exit from it, it rained in this exact place. That’s it, the further result depends solely on your skill in keeping the car from skidding on a slippery, rolled line. And it’s not even about the stabilization systems that your car is equipped with (most drivers turn off the stabilization system on the race track for a better lap result), it’s just that there is a limit to everything and you can’t disregard physics.

Champions on the Highway

We very often encounter a problem when young people come to the track, absorbed in racing euphoria and impunity. All of them, as a rule, are street "racers", accustomed to "tear" everyone down at a traffic light and playing "checkers" on the autobahn. Expecting that they can behave in the same way at the Nurburgring, young people go to the racetrack and after 2-3 laps they realize that this is a completely different world, a different vehicle control technique and a different philosophy. At the end of the races, many admit that they themselves do not know how to drive a car. All they knew about driving was kindergarten level compared to the driving technique on the Nurburgring race track. All this street racing and all these fast starts from traffic lights in an urban environment have nothing in common with the technique of driving a car on a race track. Many realize this, understand the danger of driving like "hot heads" in the city, and after several sessions on the highway they begin to feel more confident, promising to move on public roads exclusively according to the rules.

Friends, if you want to race, there are the Nürburgring, Hockenheim and other race tracks. If you want a fast and comfortable ride, there are highways without speed limits. There is a strict division and it is necessary to adhere to it.

The instructor will help you

Alright, what’s the game plan? Start by honing your skills — train and familiarize yourself with the track using computer simulators. Consider enlisting the guidance of an experienced instructor for your initial laps around the Nurburgring. Take part in the Driving Academy. As you race around the race track, iconic spots and challenging corners gradually become etched in your memory. Soon, you’ll find yourself relying on various visual cues such as markings on the asphalt, fences, and the surrounding trees.

Tourist Drives Days 2024 at the Nürburgring NordschleifeTrack Days 2023 Nürburgring NordschleifeTake part in the Nürburgring Endurance Series

It’s crucial to note that the Nürburgring Nordschleife is not your typical "open" racing track. Unlike those where you can anticipate upcoming turns from a single vantage point, the Nordschleife is packed with closed (blind) turns. Prepare to encounter unforeseen challenges and be ready for any unexpected scenarios.

In summary, take the time to learn the track, leverage simulators, and enlist professional instructors. The Nürburgring Nordschleife demands respect and careful preparation for its unique characteristics.

Take care of yourself. Remember that your main priority is safety.