Nürburgring, Nordschleife, “The Green Hell”, all referring to the legendary race track in the forests of Western Germany. The Nordschleife or North Loop is the famous, and infamous, 14+ mile Old Course originally built in the 1920’s. This track after WWII was the stuff of racing legends, in particular for F1 racing. (Big fan here!)
What brought us here? Chance and dumb luck! Michelle and I left Hamburg by train and stopped for an overnight in Cologne, Germany. The next day we picked up a rental car headed for a stay along the Mosel river in western Germany. When driving in Europe I use a GPS app on my phone, Navigon, for directions. One of the choices I can set is route type: Optimum, Shortest, Quickest or Scenic. Having used scenic by mistake last year in Tuscany with a return to the villa we were staying at taking us through every small village along the way and turning a 45 minute drive into 2 hours of white knuckle driving in the darkest of nights, (far from scenic), I have been reluctant to use Scenic mode again. But this trip was on a nice day, with an hour and a half by autobahn (Optimum) or two and a half hours (Scenic). I chose the scenic.
Now if I had been a better traveller I might have researched the route to see what attractions might be on the way. That did not happen. So we are driving along lovely back roads, through quaint old German towns enjoying the views, savoring the experience and what do I see; Nürburg 10km ➡️. Hmmm, could it be? Let’s find out. Turning down the B412 I drive a couple of kilometers and pull off to the side of the road at a small parking area and there it is: The Ring! Michelle is still not fully convinced that I did not plan this detour all along!
This particular spot along the old Nordshleife is known as the Planzgarten or Planting Garden - One of the trickiest and more difficult parts of the track to drive. A sweeping left, then left-right all while going swiftly down hill before a big right and back up the hill. What caught my attention most was the camera crew set up along the track. Something was going to happen here. This was not a normal down day for the track. As I waited with a few other spectators, I set up the camera and took some shots of the track. Next I hear a helicopter and notice they are also filming and tracking something coming very fast. Camera running, I managed to get some shots of a very fast and sleek looking car. With my very limited German I asked someone else nearby what we just saw. With his limited english he said it was an all electric prototype testing here. Later I found it to actually be the Chinese car company NextEV testing their 1360 horsepower electric supercar with the hopes of breaking the Nürburgring electric track record.
To be able to see part of the Nürburgring alone was a thrill. To see it in use was a big bonus! All by happenstance. No, really it was Michelle!
Now with better planning than I had done, you can head to the Nürburgring yourself. But choose a Sunday instead. Then the track is open to any licensed drivers with a street legal car to test your driving skills against the longest and arguably, most famous track in the world.
Update Novemebr 21, 2016
Found this video filmed the day we happened by the track. New EV track record set!