If you are a motorsport fan, you have probably heard of the Nürburgring. Usually the track that comes to mind is the Nordschleife, which is the roughly 13-mile assault course through the hills that is famous for its difficulty. But the Nürburgring GP track is the one returning to Formula 1 in 2020.
The Nürburgring GP track is found inside the Nordschleife, and measures 3.2 miles. It held its first race in F1 in 1984, and since then it has been in and out of use in the sport. However, it has been used for plenty of other motorsports, such as DTM and truck racing, and F1 went back in 2020.
The track has a varied history for sure, but it has been warmly welcomed back to the F1 calendar by many fans. The track itself can be very exciting, and hosted its first Grand Prix in the hybrid era in 2020.
The History Of The Nürburgring GP Track
A Short Stint In F1
The Nürburgring GP track (not the Nordschleife!) was completed as it is now in 1984. It held an opening exhibition race featuring the likes of Ayrton Senna, James Hunt and Niki Lauda, which Senna managed to win. It then held the German Grand Prix that year and hosted the European Grand Prix a year later.
1985 proved to be the last time F1 would visit the circuit for a decade, but it hosted other events in that time. It has been part of the 1000 km Nürburgring endurance event and held various DTM races too.
There have been truck racing events along with vintage car racing as well. However, these events have never managed to capture the excitement levels of Formula 1 races, and in 1995 the circuit was added back onto the calendar.
The Schumacher Effect
This was mainly due to the success of German F1 legend Michael Schumacher, who had just won his first World Championship in 1994. Thus, the circuit held the European Grand Prix until 2006, with the exceptions being in 1997 and 1998 when it was called the Luxembourg Grand Prix. But for the 2007 season onwards, financial troubles led to a new arrangement being made.
The other main F1 track in Germany, the Hockenheimring, was to host the Grand Prix in the even numbered years, alternating with the Nürburgring. It took the title of the European Grand Prix from time to time due to licensing issues, but more troubles came to the circuit in 2013. The owners didn’t manage to secure a deal to continue hosting F1 races, and it was taken off the calendar.
So, for 7 years the Hockenheimring was the only track in Germany to hold a Grand Prix in F1. That was until June 2020, when the track was once again added to the – now very varied – F1 calendar. The event was named the Eifel Grand Prix, after the nearby mountains, and was held from the 9-11th of October.
The Nürburgring GP Track Layout
The Nürburgring GP track comes in at 3.2 miles (5.1km) with 15 turns. The race lap record is held by Michael Schumacher, who did it in 1 minute 29.468 seconds in 2004. The layout has changed a few times over the years, but the last changes were made in 2002. This lap record is bound to be broken in 2020, with the much faster hybrid era F1 cars taking to the track for the first time.
Sector 1 involves a long straight up to a tight right hander, which will present one of the best overtaking opportunities as we will discuss in a moment. The drivers will slow from around 300kmh to take the corner, before sweeping around the Castrol S and into an equally tight left hairpin. After another sharp right turn it is down a short straight into sector 2.
The Ford Kurve involves a quick left then right before going down the hill to turn 7. The downhill stint continues towards the aptly named Michael Schumacher S, which he himself drove through in 2010 and 2011. Up another straight takes the drivers to the first DRS detection zone, before they go through another set of quick left and right turns and into the third sector.
They then release onto the DRS activation zone, which takes them down one straight followed by another, separated only by a right-hand kink which they will probably take flat out. Then comes the NGK chicane, the tightest set of turns on the track, followed by the Coca Cola Kurve with the second DRS detection zone.
The Big Finish
It is there that the drivers are then released into the second DRS zone down the starting straight, which as we have said presents a good overtaking opportunity if the drivers can stay within that DRS range. With so many tight turns on the circuit, the short straights and DRS zones are vital for those that want to move up the rankings.
The Nürburgring GP circuit has been out of the F1 calendar for 7 years, but in 2020 it made its long-awaited return. It would prove to be an exciting race with the powerful cars of 2020 setting new lap records. It presented a lot of challenging turns, with several long straights, and was ultimately won by Lewis Hamilton.