'Green hell' for 'green people' - Nürburgring turns 60
The 'Green Hell' - Nürburgring celebrates it‘s 60th birthday. An enormous German ambition is considered to be the toughest, most dangerous and most demanding purpose-built race track in the world On the 9th of July Nürburgring will open the door a bit refreshed. But 60 years of pure racing – Nürburgring has a story to tell.
It was meant to be a showcase for German automotive engineering and racing talent. Nürburg – a city between Frankfurt and Koln was chosen.
84 right-handers and 88 left – and between them, 172 corners in total. Almost every twist in the track was designed to test and challenge the best of the best.
The first race took place on 19th June 1927. The first World Cycling Championship race took place on 1927-06-19, and the first German Grand Prix a month later. The track was opened to the public in the evenings and at weekends, as a one-way toll road.
During the years cars have been improved and speeds been growing rapidly. For almost 50 years Nürburgring haven’t been improved and that showed the safety problem. Primarily due to its extraordinary length of over 22 kilometres (14 mi), and the lack of space due to its situation on the sides of the mountains, the ‘Ring was unable to meet the ever-increasing safety requirements. After stretching few corners and placing security bariers races came back on the track. In 1975 Niki Lauda became the first driver to lap the ‘Ring under 7 minutes. The ‘new’ Nürburgring was completed in 1984 and called GP-Strecke. It was built to meet the highest safety standards, but was considered in character a mere shadow of its older sibling. For 2002, the track was changed, by replacing the former "Castrol-chicane" at the end of the start/finish straight by a sharp right-hander (nicknamed "Haug-Hook"), in order to create an overtaking opportunity. Also, a slow Omega-shaped section was inserted, on the site of the former kart track. From the beginning till now it’s a home for several championships including F1 and 1000km Nürburgring. Drivers like Hermann Lang, Rudolf Caracciola, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, James Hunt or Michael Schumacher been going round the circuit. But during recent years Nürburgring became a proving ground for car manufacturers. Almost all new cars are brought into Nürburg to test their abilities. During the 60 year time not one life been taken racing on the track and more than few cars been crashed but it still remains one of the best tracks in the world. A true German legend, Nürburgring, celebrates it’s 60th birthday "Long before I had ever heard of the Cologne Cathedral on my trips to Europe, long before I even knew how good sauerkraut tastes accompanied by a Bavarian beer, I already knew the number of curves Nürburgring had, the words "Karussel" (carousel) and "Schwalbenschwanz" (dovetail) were terms I knew well, even if otherwise I couldn't speak a word of German." These words expressed by the Australian race driver Alan Hamilton, speaking for many of his colleagues and motor sports fans around the world, perfectly describe the charisma of Europe's most traditional and successful racetrack.