The Nurburgring Nordschleife, mecca for anyone who has even an iota of motoring passion within them, is a circuit like no other. Draped across the Eifel Mountains, it spans about 20.8km’s and has around 170 corners. It’s so vast that there are whole villages nestled within the circuit. The Nordschleife, or North Loop, has seen the best racing drivers take it head on, producing legendary racing fables. It’s no wonder why manufactures today are so obsessed at wanting their performance model cars to be honed here. But unlike most circuits around the planet, this is still classified as a public road and therefore, it’s open to literally anyone riding on ANYTHING! All you need to do is drive up to the entrance, pay a sum of $27 Euros for the entrance fee and you’re good to go, even if you pull up in a Kancil. But the Nordschelife, or The Green Hell as christened by Sir Jackie Stewart, needs to be approached with care. So we at RSRNurburg bring you an exclusive breakdown of the circuit, one corner at a time.
T13 is one of the heights points in the circuit at 610 meters above sea level.The circuit starts here, which gets its name from the grandstand next to it. Once you find a line in this part of the track, the Hatzenbach section becomes a mid-speed straightforward piece of track, although the driver will be busy at the wheel like how he would be on a street circuit. Not much braking is used in the central part of this section, where it comes down to throttle modulation. For a fast lap thought one has to be committed in these sections. If you do fall out of the groove, it will be a couple of corners later before it can be found again
The downhill run from here into Hocheichen provides the best overtaking opportunities. The inside will offer itself up without losing too much of speed. Fans of the Grand Turismo games will instantly be able to recognize these few set of corners, however, the severity of the elevation change and the lack of runoff space will be the two things that will catch first timers off guard.
After the twisting first section, it’s down to the ultra-fast dash towards Aremberg. It may sound straightforward in theory, but Quiddelbacher-Hohe can be unnerving for the inexperienced, especially through the blind bridge and the crest that follows afterwards. Some cars can catch a little air at this part of the circuit so watch out, especially after the crest is the famous Flugplatz, a sweeper that starts off with a double apex right. This is a 4th gear corner in most high speed cars.
One of the hardest and most daring corners on the track is Schwedenkreuz. Having been travelling at top speed for so long, the approach to it perhaps the fastest part of the track, taking a corner at such high speed is naturally disconcerting. A huge bump at the apex, which can move the car right across the track, just adds to the challenge. Irrespective of speed, most will have ample time to brake for the tight Aremberg without having to compensate by braking before Schwedenkreuz for it. However please note that the braking done before Aremberg should only be done in a straight line.
Overtaking manoeuvres are best done on the straighter sections of Flugplatz or with a bit of banzai braking at the entry of Aremberg. Also experienced in this part of the circuit is the high rate of descent, where the elevation changes from 590m at Flugplatz to 508 at Aremberg, with most cars reaching vmax here.
After Aremberg is the section that’s considered to be most memorable for first timers due to its claustrophobic nature, flat out while entering a downhill plunge that finishes at a compacting dip. Fuchsrohre’s fun begins at the first approach all the way to the execution of Adenauer-Forst. Here it’s all about maintaining speed and braking just in time to tackle the severe left-right finish. Use 2nd or 3rd gear for this section. This section often catches out novices who don’t anticipate the twists that lay ahead.
Since this section of the circuit is pretty tight, overtaking opportunities are pretty scarce. The forest above the town of Adenau gives us the name Adenauer-Forst, though some believe the corner also makes reference to Konrad Adenauer, the track’s creator. At this point of time we are headed towards the lowest part of the circuit, where the scenery gets more and more interesting and beyond here, we will cross more iconic visual landmarks of the Nordschleife.
The Nurburgring Nordschleife, also known as the Green Hell, is heaven for those who have the urge to treat even the simplest of driving chores like a flying lap. There isn’t a single place on the planet like it. It’s said that during a single lap, one can experience 3 seasons across the 20 km long track! For every intimidating trait this legendary circuit possesses, there are many more inspiring virtues of it that beckons enthusiasts from every corner of the globe to sample it at least once in their lives. In the previous issue we had begun deconstructing the Nordschleife, learning it in sections, on how to best handle this beast of a motoring challenge.
Here we check out the mid-section of this course, which arguably has some of the most iconic corners on the planet. The section starts straight out of Adenauer Forst and into Metzgesfeld and Kallenhard. Metzgesfeld is a tight left-hander that runs downhill into Kallenhard, followed by a severe left hander at Wehrseifen. At this point the elevation drops from 427m to 355m above sea level. Metzgesfeld demands real skill to maintain speed, but it’s worthwhile to watch out for the switchback that takes place at Kallenhard. The left – right combo that ensures is ultra-quick and usually flat out for most. After this is a long right hander, and it’s easy to lose the pace here. It’s easy to be intimidated by its blind, barrier-lined turns. Anticipating the switchback out of Metzgesfeld and trail braking into Wehrseifen will allow one to maintain a decent pace around this section.
Out of Wehrseifen comes one of 3 most instantly recognizable parts of the Nordschleife. Mostly referred as the mid-point reference for this circuit, there is no real chance of overtaking here. All that’s present is a tricky downhill combo into Breidscheid and Ex-Muhle, with the objective being all about maximize the exit speed for the long right uphill at Bergwerk. Since this section is easily accessible by the general public due to its proximity with the town, there’s always an audience at this section, which is great if you get your heel and toe right while following the best lines, not so much when you botch a gearshift and seem all over the place!
Also known as Adenau Bridge, Breidscheid is the lowest point in the circuit at 320m above sea level. Following that is Ex-Muhle, a steep uphill right hander that heads towards Bergwerk. This corner is also known as Lauda-Linkskinck, which has a fast corner entry section. It’s easy to get it wrong by apexing early, which will force you to lift off at the exit of the corner. It’s unofficially known as Lauda-Linkskinck due to the horrific shunt Niki Lauda had in 1976 here. It’s noteworthy that this incident ultimately ended the Grand Prix days of the Nordschleife. Following on from this is Bergwerk – arguably one of the blindest corners on the track, containing over 120 degrees of direction change (with most of it occurring after what is visible in your approach). It is all too easy to come in here too fast, apex early and run out wide. You simply must brake hard, brake early and stay on the outside of the corner until you can see where the exit goes.
Here on out though is a fast and flat out section for the next 2 km. Kesselchen is flat out for all except for the very fastest of cars, along with the first part of Klostertal. This section cuts right through the forest while speeds can be in excess of 200kph easily, depending on what you are driving. Following the high speed sections is a tricky left hand turn that’s ultra-quick and harrowingly close to the barriers. But the real treat comes after the 180 degree turn at Steilstrecke-Kurve, the infamous Karussell. Blind to the very last minute, this banked uphill hairpin is perhaps THE icon for the entire circuit. Steilstrecke has a tricky approach with a bump in the braking area before the driver dives into the hairpin. On the approach towards the Karussell, the road itself wanders side to side, preventing overtaking before diving into the steep bank that slingshots you and your car over the other side. On the lead up to the Karussell, there are plenty of overtaking opportunities, unlike the previous corners, with particularly the braking section for Steilstrecke, but this will require some thinking ahead from Klostertal itself.
It’s said that you can experience almost 2G going around the banking of the Karussell, and it’s tough not to believe that. It’s definitely an acid test for both man and machine, and their strengths. This Part of our Nurburgring guide started off with a downhill run towards Adenau Bridge, and has concluded at the exit of the Karussell.
After being chucked out of the Karussell, you begin a steep climb towards HoheAcht, in which the succession of corners are fast and require a precise line, which leaves no room for overtaking. The blind crest into HoheAchtis particularly un-nerving, with many people mistakenly cutting the corner too early – with disastrous results. The exit of HoheAcht can also be difficult, with a downhill, variable camber braking zone. From here onwards are the quick successions of Hedwigshohe into Wippermann, where you ride the kerbs, preparing to enter Eschbach.
This run ends up at Brunnchen, which has a fast exit into EisKurve. Carrying speed through this section is vital in order to prepare for the fast sections that follow. As mentioned there’s almost no room for overtaking in this section where the elevation changes are pretty profound, with the highest section towering at 608m.
The second part of Brunnchen is particularly deceptive and catches many out, with a much later turn in than the blind corner would belay, with the potential for understeer into the gravel very high. A key reminder, EisKurve, thanks to its shaded location, is the last place on the circuit to dry or defrost. Therefore approach this section with caution.
Here on out it’s a fast ride between Pflanzgarten and Kleine-Karussell, or the mini karussell. The sweeping section between these two, Schwalbenschwanz has two jumps, the first one demanding aggression and commitment with some planning to execute it, the second being a hop across the circuit. The first part of Schwalbenschwanz is almost blind throughout, with a difficult approach. The second part, which leads to the Kleine-Karussell, begs for a brutal attack, but it will take its toll on the car.
Following that is the double apexed Galgenkopf which is critical for an exit speed as it leads to the legendary Dottinger-Hohe straight. Overtaking is best done on the approach to the jump at Pflanzgarten, and then at the entry at Schwalbenschwanz, which would be easier said than done due to the light braking required in that corner.
Out of Galgenkopf is the long and rather relaxing Dottinger-Hohe straight. This is where most cars reach their top speeds, and drivers get to relax for the first time in 8-9 minutes after an intense tussle with the circuits various corners.
At the end of the straight comes the Antoniusbuche kink. This section comes after the Bilstein banner (which can also be seen on the PlayStation game Grand Turismo 4). This and the Tiergarten kinks are taken FLAT OUT, despite them being actual corners. It’s at Hohenrain where the mad speed finally stops, which is a steep uphill right hander. After the left turn it’s a slow climb to where the GP circuit and the Nordschleife meet. Most of the overtaking in the circuit is done on the straight, as its wide and well sighted compared to the rest of the circuit.
We have come to the end of our series, which we hope you have enjoyed as much as we did detailing this legendary ribbon of tarmac. The Nordschleife is unlike any other circuit on the planet, demanding ones full commitment in order to fully exploit it.
As much as one can practice on computer games, watching YouTube videos and visualizing the circuit via this article, nothing beats the experience of driving it for real, even if it’s only once. We hope that most of you get to fulfil your ‘Ring’ dream!