Monday, March 12, 2012

Nürburgring Nordschleife

John Marine | 3/12/2012 04:46:00 PM | |
The Nürburgring Nordschleife (North Loop) is the most torturous stretch of tarmac that can be raced on. Despite it being 12+ miles of automotive Heaven, it is affectionately named Green Hell. It is the ultimate test for many of the world's best auto makers and sports cars. It doesn't matter how fast, powerful, exotic, or feature-packed your car is- is it capable enough to take on the greatest challenge for almost any car and car company looking to prove itself on a world stage? Can it tame the many corners of the Nürburgring Nordschleife? Can it lay down a worthy-enough lap time that other auto makers want to try harder to post the fastest-possible time around this monster of a track? For all intents and purposes, the Nürburgring Nordschleife is the single biggest test of acumen and endurance for any auto maker and any car trying to become the best in the world, or even to be among the best in the world. Even if you aren't trying to conquer the 'Ring, you can still drive on these roads daily if you live in the area. This blog post takes a look at this course from my own perspective.

This blog post is one in a series regarding the Nürburgring and its tracks. The one you are reading here concerns only the Nordschleife.

--- Nürburgring Nordschleife ---

All 12+ miles of the Nürburgring Nordschleife can be found here:

Nürburgring Nordschleife
^ from: (best I could find) - Can you tame the 12.9-mile (20.8-kilometer) Nürburgring Nordschleife and its 157 corners? If so, find yourself a car and prove it!

With hundreds of corners and 12 miles of narrow and unforgiving roads, the Nürburgring Nordschleife is a torture test well-revered by many racing fans. It is a very old track which history dates back to the 1920s. It was started in about 1925 and completed in 1927. Think of the Nürburgring Nordschleife as the massive (not big!) sibling of the Nürburgring Grand Prix course. The current Grand Prix course wouldn't see the light of day until 1984. And since 1984, both the Nordschleife and the Grand Prix course have been used together to form one of the world's longest motor racing circuits with a 170-turn, 16.12-mile (25.94-kilometer) course. Since the 1920s, the track many call "Green Hell" has tested the limits of car and driver alike. It has long been home to Formula One racing. Even I become stupefied as to how F1 racers back then were able to compete and consistently compete on this massive and narrow track. But... they did it. Today's Nürburgring Nordschleife remains a serious proving ground for some of the world's finest cars.

I deeply apologize if what I'm about to say isn't popular... but I loathe racing stupidly-long tracks (besides Circuit de la Sarthe). Every game I've played this track in, I've been terrible at racing it. You have many corners on a very long and narrow course. I cringe knowing I have to be forced to race this track, especially with some of the fastest racing cars. You name the game that this track has been included, and I've failed doing consistent laps and racing it as best as possible- Gran Turismo 4. Gran Turismo 5. Tourist Trophy (which is not offered as a race venue). Enthusia. rFactor. Shift 2 Unleashed. I don't even see how most people can even accurately and precisely clock great lap times around a track like this. My concentration and patience run VERY thin trying to master a 12-mile race course. One mistake ruins everything, and this course has MANY opportunities to do just that. How do most people even properly can keep up with and remember how to attack a track that is 12+ miles in length? I don't usually watch one-lap videos of people taking their cars around this track. Again- I am sorry if this isn't popular for me to say this, but I hate racing this track in games.

Having said all of this though, I greatly respect this course. I greatly appreciate the racers who take on this course and all of its corners. It is not easy at all to go on these long laps while being able to properly attack every last corner and section with precision. One thing I will say as a gamer is that Nürburgring Nordschleife has much more exciting views in Gran Turismo 4 than Circuit de la Sarthe in GT4 (which I was disappointed with in camera views). I think this is a course that makes you appreciate that you don't need a super-fast car for every race track in the world to dominate it. This would be a nightmare to tune for (for example) today's F1 cars. This track is about 2.5 times longer than the 4.352-mile long Spa-Francorchamps.

Breaking Down Nürburgring Nordschleife.

Breaking down this track can be done in quadrants because of its size. If you've read my blog posts on John's Gran Turismo Space where you do one lap around the Nürburgring Nordschleife in GT4, I've mentioned the track in quadrants. Here is one lap by quadrant:

• QUADRANT 1: (Start/Finish line) to Aremburg (westernmost corner)
• QUADRANT 2: Aremburg to Bergwerk (northernmost corner)
• QUADRANT 3: Bergwerk to Kleine-Karussell
• QUADRANT 4: Kleine-Karussell to (Start/Finish line)

I think the most fun part of the track is Flugplatz, where some of the fastest cars make a jump into the air after going over the crest at Flugplatz. Trying to stay off the grass and keep the car within the white lines is a massive challenge. This is a place where fearlessly pushing you and your car to the limit are met with the uncontrollable urge to go fast. Doing so on narrow roads, however, is tremendously difficult. You also have to properly gauge your distance on the track to know how to go around without sliding off course or stuffing the car into a wall. The part of the track that gives me the most frustration are all the corners between Mutkurve and Pflanzgarten III. This makes up the northeastern end of the course, which feels more like a rally course. What's the easiest part of the track? That's simple- the super-long backstretch after Gaigenkopf. It's just straight road including a look of Nürburg Castle to your right in the distance. All that remains there is a proper set of corners designed to slow your car incredibly down by small increments. After you clear the final corner, it's back onto the Start/Finish straight to do another lap of this massive course. Or if you're doing the 24-hour course, back onto the Grand Prix circuit to start another lap from the GP course.

How do you master an extremely long course with many corners? The most important advice I'd suggest is- take your time and learn the course as you go. You are going to have to log lots of laps to actually examine what it is you have to do in order to master (or at least have a general understanding) of this course. You especially have to learn this course if you're going to play this in a game, especially if you're going to race this course at least once.

Video Lap.

Because I'm faced with the responsibility of providing the best content for a popular topic, it becomes a task in itself to find a video to best compliment what I am discussing. So I had to think hard about finding the best possible video to use in describing this course. Here is the best video I have selected in showing one lap around this course. This video is currently (as of March 12, 2012) the fastest time for a street-legal car around the Nürburgring Nordschleife. There are instances where the camera view gets choppy in trying to keep up with everything. Even still, this is a blindingly fast time.

WARNING- You may need to turn down the volume as you watch this video. If you can't see the video, you may visit the YouTube link I've supplemented to see this video on your own.

^ "6:48 Radical SR8LM Nurburgring Nordschleife lap record"

Lap Records.

No one track is more fiercely-contested for lap times than the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Many of the world's top manufacturers try their hand at making the best lap time around Green Hell. There are many cars that have raced here, both production and competition. A lap around the Nordschleife in most of the fastest cars take about 6:40.000 to clear. Many cars usually average in the range of 7:20.000 to 7:40.000 around the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

This is the all-time fastest time around the Nürburgring Nordschleife as of the date of this initial post (March 12, 2012):

• 6:11.13 - Stefan Bellof in a Porsche 956 (1983)

There are MANY more lap times that have been laid down at this track. So if you want to get an idea of more Nürburgring Nordschleife lap times, here are some sites you can visit:

List of Nürburgring Nordschleife Lap Times - Wikipedia
Nordschleife Lap Times -

I could go on and on about lap times, but I'll leave it up to you to learn more about lap times on this massive course. And remember that these times only pertain to the Nordschleife and not the combined course.

Maybe I'm not going to be popular for ripping this track, but who said I was supposed to make statements people agree with? Everything is all based on my own opinion. I have said that I hate racing this course in games, but I respect the drivers who take on all 12+ miles of this course, because I could never memorize or adapt to a very long track with narrow roads and many corners.

Anyhow, thank you for reading!

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