How to navigate your way to and around the ‘Green Hell’ without killing your car, or bank your account
Have you ever been tempted to drop the weekend garden centre plans and head for the Nürburgring? One of the great advantages of being in Europe is that ability to cross the channel and live out those fantasies with relative ease, but what is the best way to go about it without too much damage to your wheels and/or bank account?
We’ve assembled some Nürburgring experts and our own Deputy Editor Adam Towler to give you the top tips regarding getting there and making the most of the experience when you arrive.
Nürburgring Nordschleife: five top tips from the experts
Professional racing driver and EV lap record holder (6:45.90, Nio EP9)
1. If you’re a novice, why destroy your own car? Hire one instead. Get a coach, too – you’ll progress quicker.
2. Set your own pace. Learn the track a few corners or a section at a time.
3. Simulators can shortcut the process a lot, whether that’s at home on the PlayStation or somewhere professional like Base Performance
4. Whether racing there or doing an organised trackday, at first just aim to survive. It’s so easy to push too hard and make a mistake, and the penalty for going off is big.
5. Traffic is the hardest thing at the Ring. You’ll always have drivers of different abilities. Try to stay cool.
RSRNurburg.com, Nürburgring trackday and car hire specialist
1. Come with the right mindset and leave your ego at home.
2. The third dimension [the vertical element] is nothing like what any picture or video will show and is responsible for many horrific accidents.
3. PlayStation and Xbox can certainly help. However the real thing is not only very different, but it also doesn’t take prisoners. There’s no restart button in real life.
4. Remember: on any other track, driving over the limit makes you slower; driving over the limit on the Nürburgring makes you crash!
5. The infamous tourist sessions can be great value for money. If you have the required skill for the wet then come and drive during the off-season period since there’s almost no traffic and no bikes.
Destination-nurburgring.com, Nürburgring trackday specialist
1. Know who’s running the event. There are many websites passing off trackdays as their own, and standards across Europe vary, so always check the date you’ve seen against the official nuerburgring.de website to see who the organiser really is.
2. Know the Nordschleife before you go. To get good value from a trackday you really need to have some real-life knowledge. Having some public Touristenfahrten sessions under your belt will help.
3. Ring trackdays aren’t expensive when you consider you can easily achieve 30 laps on a well-run event.
4. Prepare your car before you go. Sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how many folk don’t think about the basics.
5. Know your own limits. The Nordschleife is an amazing place to spend time and we’re all enthusiasts. Trackdays are fun, no doubt about it, but try to keep a safety margin; drive at nine-tenths.
Deputy editor, evo
1. Need fuel? Go to the ED-Tankstelle on the B258 down from the main entrance and not only get some super-unleaded, but also a model of a Group C Porsche. Your wallet has officially been warned.
2. Don’t go the boring autobahn way, always cut across via Spa- Francorchamps. The atmosphere is incredible there and there’ll often be something going around at Spa.
3. Take some time out to spectate: it’s easy to get to the large Brünnchen viewing area, and there’s usually plenty of action there.
4. Head to the Pistenklause restaurant in the evening and admire the awesome Ring memorabilia while cooking your own steak on a scalding hot stone.
5. Stop at the Meuspath industrial estate – it’s home to some interesting race outfits and car makers, so there’s always lots to see, including the odd prototype.
Touristenfahrten (tourist) sessions for the Nordschleife are priced at:
Season tickets are available for $2,234
The F1-circuit can also be driven on for $34 for a 15-minute stint.