- Circuit type Road
- Circuit Length 5.148kms
- Circuit Turns 16
- Circuit Direction Clockwise
- Capacity 290,000
- Established 1927 (rebuilt 1984)
- Designer Gustav Eichler
|First race||German Grand Prix||July 29, 1951||Alberto Ascari (ITA)||full results|
|Last race||German Grand Prix||July 7, 2013||Sebastian Vettel (GER)||full results|
The modern circuit, built in the 1980s, is a shadow of the 1920s beast that went before. Opened in 1925, the original North Loop track was 17½ miles long, no more than 30 feet wide, with 174 turns and an undulating surface. Even in those less safety-conscious times, it was deemed too dangerous and by the late 1930s the shorter 14.17-mile Nordschliefe was in use. To add to the challenge, the location was prone to rain and fog, even in the summer, and its length meant conditions could vary even on a single lap.
The old track was nicknamed The Green Hell by Jackie Stewart and is widely considered the toughest, most dangerous, and most demanding purpose-built racing circuit in the world. Many top drivers never really mastered the course and it was growing concerns over safety that led to major changes in 1970, but by the time it staged its last grand prix in 1976 - remembered for the horrific accident which almost killed Niki Lauda - it had become an anachronism.
Between 1982 and 1983 the start-finish area was demolished to create a new GP-Strecke, and the F1 circus returned to the Nurburgring in 1984 but the venue had little in common with the original other than the name. A new circuit, built inside the old, was only 2.8 miles long and had some overly-cautious huge run-off areas. Sadly, the changes had robbed it of almost all its character and charisma, so much so that some fans protested it had no right to be called the Nurburgring.
Originally, the track featured four track configurations: the 28.265 km (17.563 mi)-long Gesamtstrecke ("Whole Course"), which in turn consisted of the 22.810 km (14.173 mi) Nordschleife ("Northern Loop"), and the 7.747 km (4.814 mi) Südschleife ("Southern Loop"). There also was a 2.281 km (1.417 mi) warm-up loop called Zielschleife ("Finish Loop") or better known as Betonschleife, around the pit area, and this is currently used for all major and international racing events. However, the shortened Nordschleife is still in use, for racing, testing and public access.