A Weekend of Racing at the Nürburgring
Coming from the U.S., the name 'Nýrburgring' holds an almost mythical quality to it as most of us have never been there. Anyone who is a car enthusiast and certainly fans of motorsport know of this legendary track. The Nordschleife has its own reputation and so many people compare the times set by production cars on the full circuit (though there's no organization that keeps an official lap times list).
After living in Germany now for almost two years, I finally had the opportunity to attend some races last weekend at this most historic of tracks. Two different series were holding races at the Nýrburgring – the European Truck Racing Championships and the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. Personally, I was never an avid watcher of NASCAR back in the States but I have to say that on a curvy European track it was great fun to watch and listen to the cars. That said, the highlight of the weekend was most definitely the truck racing.
My first glimpse into this race of giants was through an episode of Fifth Gear which featured German racer Jochen Hahn (Hahn was racing this past weekend as well and finished a respectable third overall). The weekend was won by Antonio Albacete of Spain but the most exciting battle that I witnessed was on Saturday in a race for 8th place. Steffi Halm had to fight to hold off an 18 year old Hungarian racer named Benedek Major. No doubt this young man has a bright future of racing ahead.
It’s absolutely amazing to watch the trucks flying toward the curves at high speeds and then hit the brakes in time (usually) to navigate through. It’s an intense experience. In addition to the actual racing, the atmosphere around the track was wonderful. It was great fun to be around so people who share the same passion for vehicles. I was also surprised at how much of a family event the truck races were and how accessible the teams and drivers are to their fans.
Here's a short clip of one of the NASCAR races:
As the first day’s races were winding down, we headed over to the Nordschleife to view some of the drivers going around that circuit. After hiking up through a field, we found a great spot to view the cars going through a pair of curves. Seeing this up close gave me a new understanding as to why driving this nearly 21 kilometer loop is a dream for so many enthusiasts.
Here is another short clip. This one from the Nordschleife:
Spending the weekend at this historic racetrack surrounded by other enthusiasts, car and truck manufacturers and suppliers was a great experience. I would highly recommend that everyone working in and around the auto industry take a weekend and go to a motorsport event as there’s no doubt it will remind you that all of the romanticized notions behind cars and trucks still exist at their core.
Will Hornick is the Managing Editor of Automotive IQ