The Nürburgring is a motor racing circuit near Nürburg, Ahrweiler in West-Central Germany. The circuit was one of two circuits which currently play host to the German Grand Prix, before falling into bankruptcy in 2015. The Nürburgring was used in odd-numbered years, with the Hockenheimring taking the even-numbered years, though no German Grand Prix was held at either circuit in 2015 and 2017, seasons alloted to the Nürburgring. The circuit has also hosted the Luxembourg Grand Prix and European Grand Prix in the past.
The circuit has undergone several major changes in its history, from the 22.8km Nordschleife and 28.3km Gesamtstrecke to the 5.148km GP-Strecke which is used currently. The Nordschleife layout, used for 22 Formula One World Championship events between 1951 and 1976, is second only to the Pescara Circuit in Italy in terms of the longest circuits ever used in F1.
The current layout of the GP-Strecke was first used in 2002, and has been used nine times since.
The Nürburgring was designed in the early-1920s by German architect, Gustav Eichler to alleviate the use of public roads for racing, a practice which was seen as dangerous. Construction of the original 28km track began in September 1925 and took just a year and a half to complete. The Gesamtstrecke officially opened in 18th June 1927 with a series of motorcycle and sidecar races, with motorcar races taking to the new track the following day. Among the winners of the car races was Rudolf Caracciola, who would become three-time European Champion over the next 21 years. The full length circuit was used for the last time in 1929, after which the majority of races were held on the slightly shorter Nordschleife. The Sudschleife would continue to be used by motorcycle races and minor events (including the Formula Two 1960 German Grand Prix) until 1973 when it was abandoned.
From 1929, the German Grand Prix was held on the Nordschleife as part of the European Championship until the event joined the Formula One World Championship in 1951 until 1954. The 1954 event was marred by the death of Onofre Marimón during practice.
In 1955, in the wake of the Le Mans disaster, the German Grand Prix was cancelled, along with the French, Spanish and Swiss Grands Prix. The German Grand Prix returned to the Nürburgring in 1956 where it continued for three years.
At the 1958 German Grand Prix, Peter Collins was killed when his Ferrari Dino 246 ran wide into a ditch and was propelled into the air. Collins was thrown out of the vehicle and struck a tree, causing fatal head injuries.
Following a year at AVUS and a Formula 2 event at the Sudschleife in 1960, Formula One returned to the Nürburgring in 1961 where is would stay for the remainder of the decade. During this time, two Formula One drivers were killed at the circuit: Carel Godin de Beaufort in 1964 and John Taylor in 1966.
Nordschleife ("North Loop")Edit
The grandmaster of the classic circuits, this originally measured 22.810 km (14.173 mi) and was claimed to have more than 170 corners, although close to half were gentle kinks that could be straightlined at speed. Another claim that was absolutely true was the elevation change of more than 300 m (1,000 ft)
Sudschleife ("South Loop")Edit
The South Loop was decidedly the lesser of the two main circuits. Measuring 7.747 km (4.814 mi), it was fairly quick but relatively flat, and not seen to be as challenging as the North Loop. It was used once for the Formula Two-only 1960 German GP, won by Carel Godin de Beaufort.
The early 1980s reconstruction of the track has permanently disabled this circuit, but the remaining portion is now a public road, mostly used for access to the grandstands for the GP circuit. It is still popular with bicyclists, and fans wishing to explore racing history.
Betonschleife ("Concrete Loop")Edit
This was the shortest possible course, taking both 'short cuts' around the start/finish and pits. Measuring 2.281 km (1.417 mi), it paired the Sudkurve of the Nordschleife and Nordkurve of the Sudschleife, and could be lapped in under a minute in Formula One.
There are some sketchy references to touring car races being held on this course, but no actual records are online. Other than the start/finish straight being in approximately the same location, no part of this configuration currently exists.
Gesamtstrecke ("Whole Course")Edit
This referred to the combined Nordschleife and Sudschleife, with neither of the concrete 'short cuts' in use. This configuration measured 28.265 km (17.563 mi) but was rarely used.
Current Layouts Edit
The following is a list of Grand Prix events held at the Nürburgring, with a rose background meaning a non-championship event, and a yellow for the pre-war European Championship:
|V T E||German Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Nürburgring (1951–1954, 1956–1958, 1960–1969, 1970–1976, 1985, 2007–2013*), AVUS (1959), Hockenheimring (1970, 1977–1984, 1986–2006, 2007–2014*, 2016, 2018–2019)|
|Races||1950 • 1951 • 1952 • 1953 • 1954 • 1955 • 1956 • 1957 • 1958 • 1959 • 1960 • 1961 • 1962 • 1963 • 1964 • 1965 • 1966 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982 • 1983 • 1984 • 1985 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019 •|
|* Nürburgring and Hockenheimring alternated between each other during these years.|
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