• 15
UPDATE: Video of the event can be found after the jump.

Once upon a time, fragile little grand prix cars raced on circuits that had no huge run-off areas, no enormous corporate hospitality suites, and lots of blind corners. Then the 70s happened.. Drivers like Jim Clark had already died at the wheel of their racecars and three time former champion Jackie Stewart was pushing to improve safety in all forms of racing, particularly Formula One. In August of 1976, defending champ Niki Lauda had a near-fatal accident at the Nurburgring in Germany. The Green Hell, as the 14 mile long track was called, would never again experience the shriek of a modern Formula One car. Until yesterday, that is.

The Nordshleife (North Loop) would be relegated to lower classes of racing, while a new, modern, antiseptic Sudschleife would play host to the European Grand Prix in the nineties and into the twenty-first century. On April 28, BMW Motorsport held a special event at the 'Ring and brought out several race cars including an M3 GTR and and one of last years F1 cars. BMW-Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld did three laps in the F1.06 which was stock aside from having the ground clearance maximized to survive the bumpy surface of the old course. He managed a best lap of 8:34 and a top speed of 275 km/h on the long straight.

If you are ever in the vicinity of Cologne Germany, on a weekend when the weather is good, it's worth €19 to take a lap of the track, just to get a taste of what it was like in the "good old days" of racing.

[Source: F1-Live]

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      This was a promotional event, not a race.

      He wasn't trying to make a good fast lap, as everybody can imagine: he wasn't required to, and it involved the same risks that caused the circuit to leave the Grand Prix caledar.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Heidfeld was instructed not to take any risks and to slow for photo calls on each of his three laps, so his best lap of 8m34s – more than two minutes shy of the outright track record – was not indicative of what a modern F1 car might be capable of.

      The ride height of the F1.06 was raised for maximum ground clearance on the uneven surface and the car was fitted with unusually hard ‘demonstration’ tyres.

      Despite short gear ratios Heidfeld clocked 170mph the long Döttinger Höhe straight – but admitted he was itching to take the car closer to the limit.

      “I’d really like to have emptied the [fuel] tank,” he said.

      (from itv.com)
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think it's in BMW's best interest NOT to go for the recrod with an F1 car. The lap record is held by a racing version of a current production model, which is great advertisment for selling M3s. Obviously an F1 car is capable of taking fastet lap so it would be kindof pointless. Not to mention the time and money they have invested in Heidfeld to put him at risk for publicity would be stupid. I still would have liked to see at least one hot lap though :)
      • 8 Years Ago
      No kidding it was a promotional event, that's what my post was referring to. Making such a fuss over a Formula 1 car finally being on the Nurburgring again, when it's nothing more than a glorified photo-op, is just stupid. And it's not that he 'wasn't required to', it's that he was -instructed- not to. Heidfeld even said he wanted to push it harder.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I guess I just see it as if you're going to put a car like that on the Nurburgring, at least do it some justice and give it a bit of a go. When you're going slower than regular production road cars, that's a bit of a farce. How many times will something like this happen? Not often, and BMW totally threw the opportunity to put on a hell of a show, into the crapper.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "If you are ever in the vicinity of Cologne Germany, on a weekend when the weather is good, it's worth €19 to take a lap of the track, just to get a taste of what it was like in the "good old days" of racing"

      I would like to remind the editor of autoblog that the green hell is not a play ground and many people have wrecked their cars or have been killed especially on motor bikes on the track especially if not paying attention or going beyond one's limits.

      If your in the area, I would recommend the BMW M5 Ring Taxi over giving it a go yourself.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "If your in the area, I would recommend the BMW M5 Ring Taxi over giving it a go yourself.


      Amen to that brother! There is NOT a car nut worthy of the title that wouldn't salivate at the idea of taking whatever the hell it is parked in the driveway and driving it as hard as he/she could around the 'ring.

      May I suggest to Zo head down to the local Toyota dealer and check out the latest beige offerings on display.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I don't remember the name of the corner. I don't know if it's still there. But there was a section on the old course where drivers picked their line, down shifted, braked and then left the ground as they crested a rise and landed IN the corner. One theory about the death of Peter Collins, who drove for Ferrari in 1958 is that his brakes (discs, when others like Vanwall had already moved to drums) were fading and he didn't slow enough before he literally flew into the turn, landed too deep, missed the exit and went into the trees. Into the trees because there weren't even guardrails in those days.

      It's unbelievable to see old photos and film of pre-70's courses and see how routinely cars went through high speed corners where an off meant going into a ditch, over an embankment, hitting building or flying into the woods.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Sabine, of Ring Taxi fame, drove a Ford transit van around in just over 10 minutes.
      • 8 Years Ago
      If your in the area, I would recommend the BMW M5 Ring Taxi over giving it a go yourself.


      The Nurburgring is one of the few places on Earth where Big Boy Rules apply and that is the way it should be. Read some of the Ringer websites, get familiar with things on Gran Turismo, take a couple of track day classes through the SCCA or your local car club and drive the ring yourself. It is a right of passage for any car nut.

      Just have some self control and don't try to be one of those showoff douchebags who gets to see the Armco Menu.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Get Sabine to do it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Kind of a slap in the face to the drivers of old, making such a deal about a modern F1 car dawdling around the greatest circuit in the world, slower than a BMW M3 CSL.
    • Load More Comments