After a good nights rest, our friends AJ and Courtney took the Porsche, and we headed over in our rental to Nurburgring Circuit. We are fortunate enough to have AJ show us around, as he is a true racing enthusiast, and comes here about 2-3 times a year. He’s lucky enough to just live in this beautiful Country, but he also belongs to a car club that gives him special access for track days on a couple of the tracks where he can have fun in his Porsche. So he was a perfect tour guide. Plus we just enjoyed his and Courtney’s company, they are wonderful people.
This track has a lot of history. It’s original portion of the racing track, called the “Green Hell” by famous racer Jackie Stewart, dates back to 1927. It has a reputation for for being especially dangerous. While there’s no “official” figures published, it’s estimated that the number of fatalities is somewhere between 3-12 every year, and it’s not uncommon to have the track shut down on these amateur days for crashes. It originally was 17.5 miles long, it had 174 corners, many of them being blind. There’s 1,000 feet of elevation change with that as well. So it truly is a beast. Since then, there has been 3 configurations that are used for racing; the North Loop (14.1 miles long), The South Loop (4.8 miles long), and the entire loop.
Our tour started at the modern Grand Prix track, which was built in 1984. We walked around the shopping area behind the grand stands and ducked in a couple of the places there. They also have a huge video screen (30ft x 9oft!), and even a roller coaster, that runs both indoors and outdoors. We went downstairs and bought the 2 euro tickets and went to the grand stands. Today was a little wet, but they were letting the motorcycles run. These aren’t professional racers, just everyday people doing some laps.
After watching a couple of laps, we got back in the car and then went over to see if we could gain access to the infield, but no such luck. It’s okay, right there is the Nurburgring Historic Paddock Boulevard, where they have a store and museum. We enjoyed walking around both. They have some pretty amazing collectors items there.
After checking out all the cool stuff, it was off to the original portion of the ring. For 29 euros you can go buy yourself one lap on the track. No waivers, no need for a race car, you can go do a lap in your minivan if you want! (We did see a van out there!) You can even rent a high performance car and do it that way. This is both cool, and what makes it so dangerous. You have people out there with very little, to no track experience, and your coming around blind corners praying someone isn’t spun out or already crashed on the other side. The track is narrow, and there’s little, to no run off until you hit the barriers. Plus once you buy your ticket, you just go, so you can be running on a very crowded track on days where you have a lot of people out.
Today was a fairly slow day on the track, because there was rain. AJ told us that normally the area where you purchase the tickets to do laps, you see traffic backed up for quite a ways back. Today we just drove right up, and found 2 parking places with ease. There were a lot of Porsche’s and BMW’s out today, even a few Ford GT’s. We watched a few cars line up and get their time in. We saw everything from hot hatchback’s to high performance cars, you run what you brung!
We then drove over to a popular viewing spot that has some parking. It’s located at the 16 km mark. The track has been painted by various fans over the years, giving it a unique look. We set up some chairs and watched some of the cars go by while we ate some of the delicious lunch that Courtney had packed for us. AJ told us there was a different viewing area up the way, so we packed up after we ate, and hiked up the hill. Courtney and I parked the chairs and enjoyed a few tasty beverages, while the boys went on the other side of the fence, where they could watch the cars by the guard rail. The track dried out for a short time, so you saw some of them squeal some tires as they started running faster. Unfortunately, the rain decided to make a return visit which forced us to call it quits and head back to the cars. This was cool, because Al finally got a chance to ride in the Porsche. Courtney and I shared a chuckle as we watched poor Al trying to wedge himself in. He did enjoy the ride back to the Grand Prix buildings where we switched back and said our goodbyes to our friends. We can’t say thanks enough for hospitality that the Sell family has shown us. Poor AJ even has to work tonight, but was more than happy to go over to the track today to show us around, and he has even sent several emails Al’s way with recommendations while we’ve been on our travels in Europe. We are truly fortunate to have been able to stop by and spend some time with them.
The room, or shall I say, house I booked for us is about 2.5 km’s away from the track. It’s the Lindner Feriepark Nurburgring resort area built to accommodate all the people who come to the Ring for racing events. Without realizing, I had booked a good sized house for the 2 of us on hotels.com. It has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and a living room and kitchen. It’s newly built and even has a car port! The place is absolutely amazing, and we highly recommend it to anyone who comes over to the area. It has a restaurant, a place to rent bicycles, and even a spa, all on the grounds. The only thing missing is a washer. We are enjoying a lovely afternoon here. Had I known it was so big, we would have extended an invitation to our friends to join us! We feel a bit silly sitting in this huge place for just the 2 of us! It’s bigger than our condo in Hawaii! Well we’ll just enjoy it! Have a great day everyone.
AJ and his Porsche
some of the cars you see traveling down the road
Nurburgring Grand Prix area
Nurburgring Grand Prix area
India shopping area, note roller coaster track above
track and pit area
AJ and Al
old Moto Guzzi in museum
at the ticket area
a car getting ready to go out
16 km mark area
track by 16 km mark
forest area around track
road to the house we rented
living room/ dining area