Nürburgring Tourist’s Survival Guide
The famous Nürburgring is one of the most gruelling and demanding racing circuits in the world. For 75 years the Nürburgring has been a driving heaven for racers and the general public alike, and its Nordschleife track offers drivers 24km of freedom and a chance to drive in the footsteps (or, more appropriately, tyre treads) of some of the greatest racers in the world. The Nürburgring is open for tourists at certain times, but this isn’t just any old road.
Lap Times and Records
Over the years, many pilots have attempted to break track records using the most exquisite car models you can imagine. The following Infographics is a visual representation of those laps. Hope you enjoy it. (even you James May!)
(Click image to enlarge)
The Nürburgring is considered to be a public road, this much is true. This does not mean that it’s open to the public all the time. The times that the ‘Ring is open for the public are called Touristenfahrten, and you can find information on open days for the public on the official Nürburgring website. Always check these dates and times before you set off, and check again and again before you actually make the trek to the Nürburgring itself. Since the track is used for official races and by manufacturers to test their cars, the roads can often be closed at short notice to accommodate these events.
A common misconception is that the Nürburgring is in Nuremburg. It’s not. Nuremburg is a four hour drive from the Nürburgring, on the other side of Germany. What makes it more confusing is that there is a place called Nürburgring in Nuremburg, so make sure your sat-nav knows where it’s going. The Nürburgring is in Nürburg, not Nuremburg.
Again, don’t let the fact that the Nürburgring is a public road fool you; you’ll need to pay in order to use it, and you’ll pay for every lap of the track you do. A single lap on the ‘Ring will set you back €26, roughly £21. If a single lap isn’t enough for you, you can buy a four-lap pack for €95, 9 laps at €198 and 25 laps for €490. Bulk buying these laps saves you money on each lap you do, so it’s worth having a think of how many times you want to run the Nürburgring and possibly save yourself a bit of cash.
Speed and the law
You might have driven around the Nürburgring while playing Gran Turismo 5, and you might have clocked up some serious speed in getting your best lap time. However, the ‘Ring isn’t a game, and there are speed limits imposed at certain points to keep drivers safe. There are a number of designated ‘danger zones’ around the track where the maximum speed is 50km/h (30mph), and if there are any accident spots all drivers have to drive slowly while approaching and passing the accident.
Since the Nürburgring is a public road during the Touristenfahrten, it is treated as such in the eyes of the law. Any excessive speed, dangerous driving or excessive noise (higher than 95dB) is met with a €250 fine and could result in the police confiscating your car.
This one is a difficult one. Technically, you are covered by your insurance when you drive on the Nürburgring, even though any car insurance company worth their salt will explicitly exclude cover on the ‘Ring in their terms and conditions. However, under the EU Motor Insurance Directive 2009, all motor vehicles in the EU are obliged to have compulsory third party insurance, so if you have an insurance policy in the EU, the insurer would be forced to pay for any third party damage if you had an accident (but not your own damage, even if you have a comprehensive policy).
Here’s the twist in the tale, though. If your insurer excludes the Nürburgring from your policy cover and they’ve also had to pay out for a third party due to the EU Directive, they have every right to reclaim all of the costs from you personally. Always check with your insurer before you set to tackle the ‘Ring, though, as things could get messy.
This post was originally written by Jamie Gibbs and it’s a collaboration between Motorward.com and Confused.com.