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Different ways to drive the 'Ring!

Different ways to drive the Nürburgring

Details

There are many ways to drive the famous 21km Nürburgring Nordschleife and a lot of confusion over what they actually are. Here are your four main options:

1. Public Sessions (Touristenfahrten)

2. Trackdays

3. Training Courses

4. Racing

 


1.Public Sessions

Queues on to the NurburgringThe Nordschleife is open as a public road most Sundays and most weekday evenings. While open for 'touristenfahrten' the circuit is a public road with speed limits and road law applicable.

Pros:

  • Lots of sessions every month
  • Paying €26 per lap in your own car means good value for visitors wanting to only do a few laps

Cons:

  • Sunday and holidays can be unbelievably busy (over 10,000 visitors per day, as many as 3,000 driving a lap!)
  • Long queues are common, the car park only holds 100 cars of maybe 500-1000 wanting to park at peak times!
  • No formal briefings*
  • Anybody can drive (bikes, mini-vans, family cars)
  • Accidents and incidents are more common than in any other type of driving (trackdays, racing etc...)
  • Closures for serious or multiple accidents (between 30 minutes and several hours) will happen maybe twice per day minimum
  • Restrictions on 'use' of the track include no instruction, no cameras and no taxi laps allowed.

*of course, customers renting a nurburgring car from Rent4Ring (where I work) will receive a briefing from our experienced instructors on our Nurburg premises.


2. Trackdays

Trackdays are private bookings on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, usually paid for by a club or private company. Drivers will then pay the company or club for each driver or car they wish to enter the circuit. You can see the 2014 Nurburgring Nordschleife trackday dates on this page.

Pros:

  • Smaller numbers (between 40 and 200 cars) means no queues
  • Many more laps per day possible
  • Perfect environment to receive instruction
  • Less accidents and closures are rare
  • Only like-minded people on track - no tourbusses or bikes
  • Video cameras allowed!

Cons:

  • Higher initial price (typically €450-€750 per entry in your own car - a rental car is extra to this)
  • Only a few dates per month

3. Training Courses

Special training courses are one of the best ways to make a jump-start on learning the difficult Nordschleife. They are often several days long and allow you to learn the 21kms as 8 or so different 'sections'. Nurburgring rental car companies like Rent4Ring will offer you a rental specific for each of these course at a price based on the kms covered as well as other factors.

Pros:

  • Instructed from start to finish, with the right attitude they can be the safest way to experience the 'ring.
  • You can't learn the Nordschleife in one day, but you can learn a lot of it in 2 or 3!
  • Only like-minded people on track - no tour busses or bikes
  • Less accidents and closures are VERY rare
  • Typically 200 cars per course with 8 to 20 cars per group.

Cons:

  • Very high price (typically €1800-€4000 for entry in your own car - a rental car is extra to this)
  • Only a handful of courses in a year. Typically a couple around spring and a couple in late summer.
  • Full laps are sometimes rare, or are only completed in 'convoy'
  • Lack of full laps can sometimes leave you with gaps in circuit knowledge

4. Racing

Racing on the Nurburgring Nordschleife is arguably the ultimate thrill for any petrolhead. For current racers outside of Germany and international C FIA racing license is required, or a National license and 'starting permission' from your FIA-sanctioned home authority.

Pros:

  • Thrilling

Cons:

  • Only a fool would do their first lap of the Nordschleife in a race
  • Relatively dangerous (up to 30% of starters won't finish the race)
  • Costs start at about €2000 per driver for a 7-lap stint in RCN in 2-litre hatchback, rising to over €xxx,000 for a place in a  top-class 24-hour car and team.

   

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