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Circuit History

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15/08/2013

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Circuit History

 

The Nurburgring was built in the Eifel Mountains in Northern Germany in an attempt to attract tourists. It first hosted the German GP in 1927 when the full 17.58-mile circuit was employed. From 1929 only the 14.17-mile Nordschleife (North Loop), with its 176 corners, was used for the German GP which the 'Ring staged continuously save for 1959, when the race was run on the Avus track. In 1960 the German GP was contested on the 4.81-mile Sudschleife (South Loop) of the Nurburgring, but this was a Formula Two race staged to showcase Porsche.

During the 1960s, the circuit received increasing criticism which resulted in an S-bend being built at the end of the long finishing straight to slow the cars as they passed the pits. By 1970, the Grand Prix Drivers' Association had demanded a list of improvements which called for the ironing out of bumps, the felling of thousands of trees to create run-off areas, the installation of Armco barriers,a better surface and the reprofiling of some corners. As these changes had not been completed by 1971, the German GP switched to the bland Hockenheim Motordrom.

The Nurburgring was back on the WC calendar for 1972 but, following a serious accident to Niki Lauda in 1976, it was deemed too dangerous to race on. In fact, it was not so much the circuit itself which was in dispute as the fact that it was extremely difficult to provide adequate medical teams to patrol the 14 miles of the circuit.

Only the most dark-souled of cynics would entertain the idea that the circuit was difficult to present to a television audience with its attendants: sponsor hospitality and the sale of bill board sites which were passed only once every seven minutes or so.

In 1984 a new 2.882 mile circuit, a modern autodrome with little character, was constructed close to the original track. The first thing that a new generation of drivers did on arrival was to shell out a few marks to drive the Nordschleife.

Nobody could ever claim to be the absolute master of the Nordschleife, which is still used for categories such a Touring Cars. Drivers who still compete there speak in terms of awe of what is possibly the most demanding circuit ever constructed.

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