Over 600 drivers – in 170 different cars – took the green flag for the 40th running of the Nurburgring 24hrs last weekend. Even aside from these numbers, it’s difficult to imagine the pressure of racing at the Nurburgring, easily the most famous circuit in Europe and celebrated as one of the most dangerous.
Lives, and a lot of them, have been lost at the Nordschleife. One of the main reasons three-time Formula One Champion Jackie Stewart spearheaded an initiative to improve circuit conditions in the early 1970s was its dismal safety record. Even Sir Jackie, who won three times at the Nurburgring, was afraid of competing there.
Today the circuit is incomparably safer, but still there is inherent risk: blind turns, fast straights, unpredictable camber, limited run-off areas, and the sheer distance covered. Over 25km of unforgiving tarmac continues to draw competitors, and members of the public, to push themselves and their cars as hard as they can.
In this mixed category GT field, laptimes are up to eleven minutes long, and just over eight at the sharp end, and there are no fewer than 147 corners. By comparison, the Circuit de la Sarthe, in Le Mans, has ‘just’ 38.