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How to turn your Nürburgring fantasies into Nürburgring realities | Articles

How to turn your Nürburgring fantasies into Nürburgring realities | Articles

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You don’t need to hang out around the Nürburgring very long to pick up on the vibe. Sure, there are plenty of tracks in the U.S. with a corresponding town culture supporting them–Watkins Glen and Road America come to mind–but none match the ’Ring for sheer inclusion in the local culture. 

All you have to do is look at the geography involved. The Nürburgring complex covers nearly 15 square miles of German countryside, encompassing four whole villages and a castle within its “infield.” More villages and a rather hefty industrial park full of OEM test centers, race teams, tire development facilities and other motorsport-adjacent business concerns border the outside of the track.

In reality, the area around the ’Ring is more akin to a ski village or a surf town. Every local business, whether it sells brake pads, serves dinner or just wants to give you a haircut, has a motorsport theme. Hotels have available garages. Every third car you see at a gas station or restaurant is an E46 with a roll bar, a race seat, and miles and miles of track rash. The track has a pull, a mystique that comes from being a century-old ribbon of some of the most challenging asphalt anywhere in the world. And it’s well earned.

So it’s no surprise that driving this track is on pretty much any motorsport enthusiast’s bucket list. 

Wait, can’t I just roll up to the gate, buy a ticket and take a lap?” you ask. “After all, isn’t it a public road?” 

Well, you’re not wrong. Technically, the 13-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife is a limited-access, one-way toll road with no standing speed restrictions. Several times each week from spring to fall, nearly any road-going vehicle can purchase access. So you’ll be sharing the track with, well, nearly any road-going vehicle, from a Porsche GT3 RS to a station wagon full of terrified tourists to a motorcyclist terrified of absolutely nothing on this or any other earth. 

And you’d better not have a clock running in the car.

That’s right, timing during public-access “tourist” days is strictly verboten. While this restriction is getting more difficult to enforce as data systems become ever-tinier, the clear intent of the track is to limit competition and red mist to days approved for such activities–and to drivers trained for just those circumstances.

Which is where our…

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