The Nordschleife is the longest permanent race track in the world. It demands skill, courage and a cool head at all times. The weather conditions in the Eifel region, which can change within minutes, pose an additional challenge. Rain, hail and even snow showers are no rarity, even in June.
Even in dry weather, the Nordschleife puts the drivers’ talent to the test over the entire distance. No sooner have they left the Nürburgring’s Grand Prix circuit than the first key point awaits them between “Hatzenbach” and “Hoheneichen”. The track twists and turns, requiring the drivers to demonstrate a good eye for the racing line. Mistakes made when entering the turns are difficult to correct.
The tempo picks up again between “Flugplatz” and “Schwedenkreuz”. The drivers must master crests and dips at high speed. Here too, the ability to accurately identify the racing line is an immense advantage. Another renowned section of the Nordschleife follows, in the form of the “Fuchsröhre”. The drivers are pressed into their seats in the dip, and the subsequent crest is followed by the “Adenauer Forst” chicane. “Bergwerk” is one of the most important sections on the circuit. Anyone who is too slow here will lack the momentum required for the following uphill section. Turn in late and accelerate early: that is the recipe for a good lap time. In the “Carraciola Karussell”, the track heads round a steep concrete bank.
The “Eschbach” and “Brünnchen” sector of the circuit is another that quickly punishes any mistake. The right-hander on the way out of the section, which becomes increasingly tight, offers little in the way of grip. No wonder it’s also known as “Eiskurve” – the icy corner. Crashes are far from rare here. The Nordschleife is famous for its jumps, particularly around the “Pflanzgarten”. Drivers have to take the crests on a straight line and avoid jerky steering. Rain demands extra caution: the entrance to this section is extremely slippery.
The “Schwalbenschwanz” section is one of the nicest combinations of corners at the Nordschleife. Towards the end of the lap, another key point lurks in the form of the “Galgenkopf”: the slightest mistake here can easily result in the loss of valuable seconds. The cars reach their highest speeds on the Nordschleife on the closing “Döttinger Höhe” straight.