So the owners
of the Nurburgring have decided that no one can come and set lap times any more
around the full length Nordschleife track in Germany and that puts us lap time
lovers in a bit of a pickle.
said they have done it on the grounds of safety. A couple of months ago, Nissan
GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough was in the middle of a GT3 race in his
Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 race car decided to have a massive crash which killed and
injured some spectators who had no business being in the spot that they decided
to be in, in the first place.
happened was, if you look at the video footage closely, as Mardenborough
approached the Flugplatz corner, the approach is a steep uphill climb. The car
reached the top of the hill, lost aerodynamic grip when the nose went over the
crest of the hill and the air pressure under the car was more which therefore
created lift like an aeroplane instead of downforce and lifted the car in the
Mardenborough being a mere passenger there after, the GT-R came at full speed
into the barrier and on impact, jumped over the debris fence and landed on a
group of people who were present at the site enjoying a nice picnic. While
Mardenborough walked away unharmed, the impact killed one of the spectators and
injured, what news reports called, “Several”. The incident left Mardenborough
shaken, but not stirred. He eventually did decide to go one racing again after
having that crash which his commendable for a human of his age.
of this crash, the owners of the track have decided that some sections of the
track must be limited by speed and lap times are now banned. This is what confuses
me. The Nurburgring is the most unforgiving track in the world. There isn’t a
corner on the entire length of the circuit that hasn’t claimed a life or two.
If you tally up the lives The Ring has claimed, you could have an entire a
memorial the size of the Burj Kalifa. The Nurburgring is nick named by racing drivers
as “The Graveyard” or “The Green Hell” and there is a reason for that. Only the
bravest of the bravest who dare to go on the Nordschleife know the risks and go
at their own accord knowing that it might be their last. A total of 76 lives
have been claimed by the 20.8km track with 154 corners, one even more dangerous
than the one before.
argue that it’s understandable that because this time it wasn’t a driver, but a
spectator who was killed, the ruling makes sense, but it doesn’t in my opinion.
Every motorsport event I have even gone as anything, be it spectator, media,
driver or marshal all came with a warning that “Motorsports is dangerous, you
are present at your own risk” the man who decided to sit right on one of the
most dangerous corners of the most dangerous track in the world in front of the
barrier crossing over the debris barrier knew what he was in for and was
pushing it a little in my opinion.
technically, as per the laws present in the warnings the ban shouldn’t be in
place. There is nothing justifying the ban. You enter the ring at your own will
and if you can you leave in one piece. That is the whole point of the
Nurburgring, to be the toughest, scariest, gruesome, punishing track on earth.
If you tame the track, there is no point of it any more. It’s like having a
front engine V8 powered Porsche 911. It’s not a 911 anymore.
Nurburgring was the Holy Grail for car manufacturers to prepare their cars for
the worst lap of its life to break each other’s record. Some manufacturers
would bring their cars to the track just to develop them, the faster it went,
the better it was and without a stop watch, going to the Nurburgring is
completely pointless. A new lap record at the Nurburgring was a benchmark of
the entire world’s automotive industry’s development since the Benz Motorcar to
the present day. The lap time shows how far we as humans have evolved not just
how far we can go. It’s about us telling Mother Nature, you can’t control me!
What boils my
blood even more is that the ban came in at the worst time possible. Christian
Von Koenigsegg had built the world first MegaCar the Koenigsegg One:1. After
its outing at Spa, and setting the record for the fastest car to do 0-300-0kmph
with a time of just under 18 seconds, Koenigsegg were planning on taking the
car to the Nurburgring to break all records with the One:1. Just a couple of
days before they were to head to Germany, the owners imposed the ban on the
track, it was the only production car in the present day that had the
capability to set a time that may never be broken again even if someone tried
and god knows if we will ever see the One:1 break the lap record for any
production car to date. Currently a Radical sits on top and 2nd with
the Porsche 918 right behind. The One:1 could have also beaten the time set by
the track focused Zonda R. We will never
So here is
the pickle we are in. If we can’t do fast laps around the Nurburgring, do we
forget about it, close the book, and move on? Do we fight to lift the ban? Or
do we find someplace else? Well here is my solution and it’s easy, we can’t
forget about it and we shouldn’t. It is not the end of the book it’s just the
end of a chapter. If we can’t convince them to lift the ban, what we can do is
try on a different track but which one?
must be long. So what about Le Mans? Well we can’t have Le Mans because it’s
not a purpose built track, after the 24 hour race it becomes a public road. How
about Silverstone? You can but it isn’t as astonishing as the Nurburgring.
Imola isn’t long enough, and the new race tracks are as flat as Kiera
There must be
a place and there is. The track I’m suggesting is not far off from the
Nurburgring, it also has a massive history like the Ring, when it was first
raced on in its full length and even in its current avatar, it has some
effigies on its walls as well. It is the longest track on the F1 calendar, it
also hosts the 6 hours race of the WEC, it features the most terrifying blind
turn of them all at full throttle, the only one of its kind dearly called Eau
Rouge. Yes the track I’m talking about is Spa. Let’s head to Belgium!