The Nürburgring Nordschleife
The Nürburgring Nordschleife
When it comes to car lap times, usually it’s the driver and the car that take the spotlight...but in this case, the legendary Nürburgring course holds center stage!
Encircling the village of Nürburg, Germany, the Nürburgring course is every professional driver’s dream...and hellish nightmare. The 13-mile circuit has long been established as the most difficult and demanding racing circuit in existence. Over the years, car manufacturers such as Aston Martin, Porsche, BMW, and more have put their cars through the rigors this course demands, using Nürburgring lap times as benchmarks of excellent performance.
Automotive enthusiasts and automotive manufacturers the world over continue to flock to Nürburgring, and consider Nürburgring lap times as the final standard for production cars, making and breaking reputations for both man and machine. For drivers who brave the perilous track, it is an exhilarating experience without comparison, going through over 70 turns, blind corners, and numerous jumps and drops.
Established in 1927, Nürburgring’s 80-year history took it through World War II, through fiery crashes, driver deaths, incredible Nordschleife lap time record-setting, significant course alterations, boycotts, and hosting many of the world’s premiere racing events.
Today, Nürburgring not only remains a production car lap time testing site, but also a social center for international car lovers. As an open access road during off-times, Nürburgring is available to casual drivers who simply wish to follow in the tire treads of racing legends who have dominated the track. The course can also be reserved for full and half-day Track Days, giving drivers and racing teams a chance to experience the road unfettered by speed limits that are imposed during public access times.
There are two main routes that drivers are able to drive and race along, or measure Nürburgring lap times. Of course, there’s the full Nordschleife lap which measures at 20.832 km. Then there’s the bridge to gantry section, which is used as a speed measurement during tourist driving days, as the course cannot be driven at full speed during those times. These specific section distances can also vary depending on which track exits and entrances are open, giving cars enough time to safely slow down during those portions, rather than ending on flying laps.
Nürburgring Nordschleife lap times are published each year by numerous production car manufacturers and motor vehicle publications, such as Sport Auto Supertest, Evo Magazine, and Auto Bild, among others. However, there is no officially sanctioned organization or process that actually governs or certifies any listed times.
Safety concerns have also been a constant Nürburgring concern on the course. The circuit has seen constant upgrades and maintenance to ensure that drivers are able to rely on safe conditions—while also keeping the adrenaline-fueled thrills to a maximum. Casual drivers are not allowed to race or time their laps during tourist days.
Nürburg itself has benefited from the constantly growing attention given to the racing complex that surrounds it, having expanded to include numerous hotels, restaurants, museums, and even an amusement park.