By the beginning of the 2016 racing season, the track's owners will make seven upgrades to improve safety on the course. Most of those will add additional fencing or move guardrails at certain areas. However, a major adjustment will resurface 1,640 feet of the circuit to smooth out bumps along the Quiddelbacher Höhe and Flugplatz sections. Another tweak will close a part of Schwedenkreuz to spectators. "The unique character of the Nordschleife will be preserved," managing director Carsten Schumacher promised.
The Nordschleife will also continue to evolve in the coming years. The track's owners announced a three-stage plan with the FIA for more upgrades through 2019, but they haven't yet publicly clarified the exact changes.
A fatal accident on the Nordschleife during a VLN Endurance Championship race in March originally prompted the speed limits. They extended through this year's 24-hour race and eventually to manufacturers too. The max speeds made it impossible for automakers to set new lap records at the famous track.
The International Automobile Federation FIA has cleared the way for renewal of the circuit approval for the Nürburgring Nordschleife, which was set to expire according to schedule, for another three years. Following examination of the licence application submitted by capricorn Nürburgring GmbH by the FIA Circuits Commission, a safety catalogue comprising seven measures will be implemented by the beginning of the 2016 season.
Carsten Schumacher, managing director of capricorn Nürburgring GmbH (CNG): "Following approval by the FIA, our next step will be to implement seven measures. Preparations are fully on schedule. Weather permitting, work on the Nordschleife will start in mid-November, to be completed by the beginning of March."
CNG's catalogue of measures to increase safety on the legendary Nordschleife following the accident on 28 March during a VLN Endurance Championship race was broadly approved on 17 August at a round table with representatives of German motor sport association DMSB, ADAC and AvD, the automotive industry, organisers, teams and drivers, as well as local authorities.
The safety catalogue comprises the following seven measures to improve spectator protection and passive safety:
(1) Track section Döttinger Höhe / Antoniusbuche: Installation of an additional FIA fence to fence off federal road B258, which runs parallel to the track, alongside a 700-metre high-speed sector.
(2) Track section Hocheichen: Installation of a metallic fence behind the existing FIA fence to fence off the agricultural road running parallel to the track.
(3) Track section Quiddelbacher Höhe / Flugplatz: Renewal of 500 metres of track surface to smooth out bumps. Back in spring, this section saw the installation of a FIA fence and an additional metallic fence, as well as an extension of the tyre wall.
(4) Track section Schwedenkreuz: Creation of a restricted zone that is closed to spectators on the right-hand side of the track; installation of a FIA fence on the left-hand side.
(5) Track section Metzgesfeld: Installation of additional FIA fences and metallic fences to increase spectator protection and protection of the camping area on the right-hand side of the track; guardrails will be moved closer to the track.
(6) Track section Wippermann: Closing the gap in the metallic fence.
(7) Track section Stefan Bellof S: Installation of an additional FIA fence directly at the edge of the track behind the guardrails.
"By implementing these seven measures to improve safety on the Nordschleife, we will achieve, subject to a final inspection by FIA and DMSB, the renewal of circuit approval by three years as well as the lifting of the speed limit introduced this year by the beginning of the 2016 season," explains Nürburgring managing director Carsten Schumacher, stressing: "The unique character of the Nordschleife will be preserved." In addition to the current safety catalogue, the Nürburgring has agreed a three-stage plan with FIA to further modernise the Nordschleife by 2019.