One of the most famous and challenging road racing courses in the entire world, the Nurburgring has been home to some of the greatest racing of all time.

The original ring was built in 1927 and became home to the dominant Mercedes and Auto Union - - now Audi F1 racing teams. At over 14 miles and 176 turns the 'ring was a course of unparalleled difficulty. Phil Hill, the first American to win the World Driving Championship, said he hated Nuburgring because it was so long it was impossible to learn. If wanted to win you had to drive it hard enough to ensure a surprise at least once on every lap.

But the old ring, or the A-ring is it sometimes called was home to some of the great races ever. In 1927 Tazio Nuvolari's Alfa overcame Manfred von Brauchisch whose Mercedes suffered a last minute puncture. In 1957 Juan Manuel Fangio won perhaps his greatest victory here, over Peter Collins who would later die there. Jackie Stewart won three times at the Nurburgring. But the surprises made the old ring a very hazardous track, and several drivers were to die there besides Collins, including the Count de Beaufort.

The old facility was retired from F1 competition in 1984 and a new 2.8 mile circuit was prepared adjacent to the old course. In fact, the two may be connected, and for a small fee you can drive the course which in this form is over 15 miles long. The current 2.8 mile circuit is very safe, with wide runoff areas, but lacks the panache and character of the old 'ring. It hosts many international competitions, including Formula 1, F3000, F3 and German Touring Cars.

The Nurburgring is located near Koblez and Cologne in Germany. The track has its own web site: http://www.nurburgring.de

The ring was a dangerous track on so many levels that it was finally retired from formula racing after being the center of German racing and race testing for decades. Racers would spin off the track, crash, and be laying in a crumpled car, soaked in fuel from the now punctured fuel tanks that would surround the drivers of that era. There were sections were you were a mile or so from a race official, so your crash would be difficult to locate and the search would start late. Also, the track is notorious for the several spots where the race cars would catch air, losing all contact with the road, including in the middle of the longest straight when the car is near maximum speed. At the end of this straight there is a hump in the road right at a gentle curve that goes under a bridge, requiring a throttle lift to negotiate properly at speed. Cars would also bottom out in many sections, so they were set at a very high static ride height.

This course had over 170 turns in its 14 miles, and the number of straights you could count on one hand (using decimal, not counting to 31 on one hand). It is also far from flat, with nearly 1000 feet of altitude change in a lap.

When the F1 cars went to 3 liter engines, the 'Ring started to "become an air show". Laptimes dropped below 8 minutes, then 7, but the crashes were too frequent and drivers complained of the danger en masse. The F1 circus went to Hockenheim while they planed the humps and straightened the curves, but crashes were too frequent and severe, and the big 'ring is no longer raced on that level.

This track is available in the fantastic race sim Grand Prix Legends, which is set in the 1967 season, which was the return season for the 3 liter engines, and the last season that cars did not have aerodynamic effects.

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