It looks like the Nurburgring track has an entirely new owner. For years, the track has struggled to maintain profitability, with various costly construction projects and efforts to turn it into a more extravagant tourist attraction often falling flat and putting the complex into even deeper debt. Finally, Nurbugring went up for auction and it looked poised to be purchased by a partnership of investors known as Capricorn and Getspeed in a deal worth 77 million euros.
The partnering companies made an initial deposit of 5 million euros to secure the deal, but Capricorn then began struggling financially. Capricorn’s head, Robertino Wild, came under investigation for fiscal mishandling, with investigators claiming his property and massive art collection had multiple mortgages on them. With Capricorn being contractually responsible for 2/3rds of the Nurburgring purchase amount, it looked like the group would have to default on its next payments—potentially resulting in the ‘Ring being immediately closed down.
Enter Russian billionaire Viktor Kharitonin. He’s the sort of man to drive around in a 1935 Merceds-Benz 500k and spend 30 million euros on a few London flats without blinking. So when Capricorn looked like it wouldn’t make its November or December payments, Kharitonin basically stepped in and bought their share of the deal with payments of his own for both months, using his NH Holding firm. This now essentially places him in control of Nurburgring for all intents and purposes, replacing Capricorn as the majority holder.
For some, this move is a godsend which has kept the ‘Ring operational. However, for others, this isn’t a time to celebrate, but is, in fact, their worst nightmare.
Mike Frison, a long-time Nurburgring fan and primary campaigner for the Save The Ring foundation, had this to say: “It’s the worst case come true. So many times the administrators and politicians kept saying that the ‘ring would be taken care of. That it would never fall into the hands of some Russian oligarch. Never trust a politician. Q.E.D. For me it’s so sad to be right again.”
For now, Nurburgring remains open. For many, that’s all that matters even as the ‘Ring’s future is up for debate.