Have you ever dreamed of experiencing the thrill of driving on one of the most iconic racetracks in the world? The Nürburgring, nestled in the picturesque Eifel region of Germany, offers automotive enthusiasts the opportunity to tackle its legendary circuit. However, before you strap on your helmet and hit the track, there are several important factors to consider to ensure a safe and exhilarating experience. In this article, we will guide you through the essential things to keep in mind before taking your car on the Nürburgring.
- Know Your Car
- Safety First
- Choose the Right Track Day
- Prepare Yourself
- Maintain Your Car
- Budget Wisely
- The Costs of Crashing at the Nürburgring
- Respect the Track
- Enjoy the Experience
What is the Nürburgring?
The Nürburgring is a legendary racetrack located in Nürburg, Germany. It comprises two circuits: the Grand Prix track, used for Formula 1 and other races, and the Nordschleife, often referred to as “The Green Hell.” The Nordschleife, with its 20.8 kilometers (12.9 miles) of challenging twists, turns, and elevation changes, is a favorite among car enthusiasts and is known for its demanding nature.
Why do people take their cars on track?
For many car enthusiasts, taking their cars on track is an exhilarating way to push the limits of their vehicles and themselves. It allows them to experience the thrill of high-speed driving in a controlled and safe environment. It’s an opportunity to explore the full potential of their cars, hone their driving skills, and immerse themselves in the world of motorsports. The Nürburgring, with its rich history and challenging circuit, offers a unique and unforgettable track experience.
The Touristfahrten event days would not be described as controlled and safe as you would have liked, therefore you must take extra care and precautions before throwing yourself in the deep end with some highly skilled and complete novice drivers on one stretch of road.
Know Your Car
Before hitting the track, it’s crucial to ensure that your car is track-ready. Here are a few key considerations:
Ensure your car is track-ready: Check the overall condition of your vehicle. Make sure all mechanical components are in good working order, including brakes, suspension, and cooling systems. It’s also essential to address any existing issues or potential weaknesses before taking your car on track.
Physically go around your car and check every bolt is tight!
Check engine performance and reliability: Ensure your engine is in optimal condition, as it will be subjected to higher loads and extended periods of high-speed driving. Usual maintenance, such as oil changes, fluid checks, and spark plug replacements, is essential to keep your engine running smoothly.
Upgrade brakes and suspension if necessary: Track driving puts increased demands on your car’s braking and suspension systems. Consider upgrading to high-performance brake pads, fluid and rotors, as well as stiffer springs and dampers to enhance handling and stability.
The last thing you want is to get into turn 4 to find your pedal hits the floor!
Get an Alignment: having your car respond to the precise inputs needed when driving on track is crucial, we couldn’t recommend enough taking your car to a local MOTORSPORT alignment specialist. stay away from Garry down the road with his laser pointers.
If you want to tackle the challenge yourself check out our article on string aligning your car here
Safety should always be a top priority when driving on the Nürburgring. Here are some important safety considerations:
Wear appropriate safety gear:
An absolute must is Invest in a quality helmet. If you want to take it that bit further or are doing full trackdays, consider driving gloves, racing suit, and racing shoes to provide protection in case of an incident. It’s also advisable to wear a HANS device (Head and Neck Support) to minimize the risk of neck injuries on trackdays.
Familiarize yourself with track rules and regulations:
Each track has its own set of rules and regulations that all participants must follow. Take the time to thoroughly read and understand the track’s guidelines before arriving, including overtaking rules, speed limits, and safety protocols.
The Nürburgring track offers two main types of driving experiences: Trackdays and Touristenfahrten. Each has its own set of rules and regulations to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all participants. Let’s take a look at the specific rules for both.
- Registration and Safety Briefing: Before participating in a trackday session, you must register and attend a mandatory safety briefing. This briefing provides essential information regarding track rules, overtaking procedures, and safety guidelines.
- Helmet Requirement: All drivers and passengers must wear an approved helmet during track sessions. Helmets provide crucial protection in the event of an accident or collision.
- Vehicle Technical Inspection: Your vehicle must undergo a technical inspection before entering the track. This inspection ensures that your car is in a safe and track-worthy condition. It typically includes checking brakes, tires, seatbelts, and other essential components.
- Overtaking Rules: Overtaking on track should be done safely and with proper communication. The general rule is to overtake on the left side, using the designated passing zones. The driver in front has the right to choose when and where to let faster cars pass.
- Flags and Signaling: Familiarize yourself with the flag system used on the track. Green flags indicate that the track is clear, while yellow flags signal caution, and drivers should reduce their speed. A red flag indicates a session stoppage, requiring all drivers to slow down and return to the pits.
- Respect Other Participants: Show respect and consideration for other drivers on the track. Avoid aggressive driving, and give ample space to fellow participants. Remember that everyone is there to enjoy their track experience safely.
- Open to Public: Touristenfahrten refers to public driving sessions on the Nürburgring, allowing enthusiasts to experience the track at their own pace. It’s important to note that Touristenfahrten sessions are not race events but rather open sessions for individuals to drive their own vehicles on the track.
- Adhere to Traffic Laws: While driving on the Nürburgring during Touristenfahrten, all regular traffic laws apply. It’s important to drive responsibly and within the legal limits. Speed limits, when posted, must be respected.
- Helmet Requirement: While not mandatory, it is highly recommended to wear an approved helmet for added safety during Touristenfahrten sessions. Wearing a helmet can provide additional protection in case of an accident.
- Follow Directional Arrows and Signs: Pay attention to directional arrows and signs displayed throughout the track. These signs indicate important information, such as upcoming turns, caution areas, and potential hazards.
- Stay Alert and Yield Appropriately: Keep a lookout for faster vehicles approaching from behind and yield to them when it is safe to do so. Signal your intentions and give way to faster cars to avoid impeding their progress.
Remember, whether participating in a Trackday or joining Touristenfahrten, it is crucial to respect the track, fellow participants, and the rules in place. Adhering to these rules ensures a safer and more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
Understand the flag system:
Familiarize yourself with the track’s flag system, which is used to communicate important information to drivers during a session. Green flags indicate the track is clear, while yellow flags signal caution or a hazard ahead. Red flags signify a session stoppage, requiring all drivers to slow down and return to the pits.
Choose the Right Track Day
Not all track days are created equal. It’s essential to choose a track day that aligns with your skill level and preferences. Consider the following factors:
Consider experience levels: Some track days cater to beginners, offering coaching sessions and controlled environments. Others are designed for more experienced drivers who seek the thrill of pushing their cars to the limit. Choose a track day that matches your skill level and goals.
Check for available amenities: Look for track days that provide necessary amenities if needed, such as onsite garages, tire services, and professional mechanics. These amenities can enhance your overall experience and provide peace of mind knowing that support is readily available.
Research track conditions and weather: The Nürburgring is known for its unpredictable weather. Before heading to the track, check the weather forecast and track conditions. Wet or damp surfaces can significantly affect traction and require adjustments to your driving technique.
Driving on the Nürburgring requires skill and technique. Prepare yourself by following these steps:
Take a high-performance driving course: Even if you have prior driving experience, taking a high-performance driving course or trackday tuition specifically tailored to track driving can provide valuable insights and techniques. It will help you understand racing lines, cornering techniques, and vehicle dynamics.
Learn the racing line and cornering techniques: Familiarize yourself with the racing line, which is the optimal path to take through each corner. Proper cornering techniques, such as trail braking and apexing, can help you maintain speed and control while navigating the circuit.
Learn the Track: Hoping on a race sim or games console may not give you the full feel, but knowing what corners are coming up will greatly improve your chances of a smooth sailing enjoyable trip! There are lots of corners to learn so put in some hours!
**Practice driving skills:** Being aware of surroundings while driving is crucial on the Nürburgring, where conditions can change rapidly, and other drivers may exhibit unpredictable behaviour. Practice techniques such as scanning the track ahead, maintaining a safe following distance, and anticipating potential hazards.
Although you may be looking ahead at cars infront it is also equally important to allow faster cars to pass and do not come across their driving line when cornering. Although they should be giving you priority, this is not always the case. Stay Vigilant!
Maintain Your Car
To ensure a smooth and trouble-free track experience, proper car maintenance is essential. Consider the following:
Regular maintenance and inspections: Stay on top of routine maintenance tasks such as oil changes, filter replacements, and fluid checks. Regular inspections by a qualified mechanic can help identify any potential issues before they become major problems.
Check tire pressures and condition: Proper tire maintenance is crucial for track driving. Check your tire pressures regularly and ensure they are set to the manufacturer’s recommendations for track use. Inspect the tire tread and sidewalls for any signs of wear or damage.
Have a plan for emergencies and breakdowns: Prepare for unforeseen circumstances by carrying essential items such as a spare tire, jack, and basic toolkit. Familiarize yourself with the track’s emergency procedures and locate nearby emergency services in case you need assistance.
Track days can be an exhilarating experience, but they also come with associated costs. Consider the following when budgeting for your Nürburgring adventure:
Calculate costs associated with track days: Track day prices vary depending on factors such as the duration of the session and the package you choose. Consider the entry fees and any additional costs associated with extra track time or access to premium amenities.
Consider additional expenses: In addition to track fees, there are other expenses to consider. These may include fuel costs, accommodation if you plan to stay overnight, meals, and any additional activities or attractions in the area.
Set aside funds for repairs or damages: Accidents or mechanical failures can happen, even to experienced drivers. It’s wise to set aside some funds to cover any repairs or damages that may occur during your track day. We will break down the cots of damages while on track further down.
The Costs of Crashing at the Nürburgring
While driving on the Nürburgring can be an exhilarating experience, it’s important to be aware of the potential costs associated with crashing. Accidents can happen, and understanding the financial implications can help you make informed decisions and be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances. Here are some factors to consider:
If you are involved in a crash that damages track infrastructure, such as barriers or safety features, you may be held financially responsible for the repairs. Depending on the extent of the damage, these costs can be substantial. It’s essential to drive responsibly and within your skill level to minimize the risk of causing damage to the track.
- Barrier Replacement: The cost of replacing barriers can vary depending on the length and type of barrier. As a rough estimate, the cost can range from £200 to £1,000 per meter, depending on the complexity and materials involved. For example, Armco barriers typically cost around £100 to £150 per meter.
- Safety Feature Repairs: Repairing safety features such as catch fences, runoff areas, and gravel traps can involve various factors. The cost will depend on the extent of the damage and the specific repair required. As an estimate, safety feature repairs can range from a few hundred pounds to several thousand pounds, depending on the complexity and materials involved.
- Infrastructure Repair: Repairing infrastructure elements like curbs, guardrails, and lighting systems will vary in cost based on the specific damage and the materials needed for repair. As a rough estimate, infrastructure repairs can range from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand pounds, depending on the extent of the damage.
- Labor and Equipment: The cost of labor and equipment will depend on the scale and duration of the repair work. Skilled labor, machinery, and materials contribute to these costs. It is challenging to estimate the precise figures without specific information, but it is reasonable to assume that these expenses can range from several thousand pounds to tens of thousands of pounds.
- Additional Administrative Costs: Administrative costs associated with coordinating and managing the repair process can also contribute to the overall expenses. These costs include assessments, planning, permits, and compliance with safety regulations. It is difficult to provide an exact estimate for administrative costs, as they can vary based on the scope of the repairs and administrative requirements.
Basically, you don’t want to be crashing here…
Liability for Other People’s Cars:
In the event of a crash that damages another participant’s vehicle, you may be liable for the cost of repairs or replacement. This includes both the other person’s car and any associated damages or injuries. It’s crucial to have liability coverage or ensure that you have the financial means to cover these potential expenses. Your UK insurance will NOT cover this 99% of the time!
It’s important to check your insurance policy to see if it covers track driving at the Nürburgring. Standard car insurance policies may not provide coverage for track use, so it’s advisable to consult with your insurance provider and consider obtaining specialized track day insurance. This coverage can help protect you financially in case of accidents, damage to your vehicle, or liability claims.
Recovery Off Track:
If your car becomes disabled or needs recovery off the track due to a crash, there may be additional costs involved. Towing services, repairs, and transportation expenses can add up quickly. It’s essential to have a plan in place for emergencies and breakdowns, including access to reliable recovery services.
It’s worth noting that the costs mentioned above can vary depending on the severity of the crash, the extent of the damage, and the involvement of other vehicles. It’s crucial to drive responsibly, respect the track and other participants, and be prepared for any potential financial implications.
To mitigate these risks, consider the following:
- Improve Your Driving Skills: Enhancing your driving skills through high-performance driving courses or seeking professional coaching can help reduce the chances of being involved in a crash.
- Obtain Track-Specific Insurance: Look into specialized insurance coverage that caters to track driving. This type of insurance can provide financial protection for track-related incidents, including damages, liability claims, and recovery costs.
- Budget for Potential Expenses: Set aside funds specifically for track-related incidents. This will ensure that you have the financial means to cover any unexpected costs that may arise from a crash.
- Drive Responsibly: Always prioritize safety and drive within your limits. Respect other participants, adhere to track rules and regulations, and maintain control of your vehicle at all times.
By understanding the potential costs and taking proactive measures, you can enjoy your Nürburgring experience with peace of mind, knowing that you are prepared for any unfortunate situations that may arise. Remember, responsible driving and preparedness are key to minimizing risks and ensuring a safe and enjoyable time on the track.
Respect the Track
Respecting the track and other drivers is vital to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Keep the following guidelines in mind:
Follow track etiquette and rules: Adhere to the track’s rules and regulations at all times. This includes obeying speed limits, respecting track limits, and following any specific instructions provided by the organizers.
Yield to faster cars: If you encounter a faster car approaching from behind, be courteous and allow them to pass safely. Use your mirrors and maintain awareness of the traffic around you to avoid impeding faster drivers.
Avoid aggressive or reckless driving: While the Nürburgring offers an adrenaline-pumping experience, it’s important to drive responsibly. Avoid aggressive maneuvers and respect the capabilities of both your car and yourself as a driver.
Enjoy the Experience
Above all, remember to enjoy the experience of driving on the Nürburgring. Here are some final tips to make the most of your track day:
Take breaks and stay hydrated: Track driving can be physically and mentally demanding. Take regular breaks to rest, hydrate, and recharge. Staying hydrated will help you maintain focus and concentration throughout the day.
Appreciate the thrill of driving on a legendary track: The Nürburgring is steeped in motorsport history and has been a favorite among racing enthusiasts for decades. Take a moment to appreciate the privilege of driving on such a renowned circuit.
Capture memories and share them with fellow enthusiasts: Don’t forget to document your track day experience. Use GoPro cameras or smartphone mounts to record your laps and share the excitement with friends, fellow enthusiasts, and online communities.
Taking your car on the Nürburgring can be an unforgettable experience that allows you to test your skills and revel in the thrill of high-performance driving. By considering the factors outlined in this article, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable track day. From knowing your car and prioritizing safety to choosing the right track day and maintaining your vehicle, each step plays a crucial role in maximizing your experience on the Nürburgring.
Remember, it’s not just about speed and adrenaline; it’s about embracing the legacy and challenge of this iconic racetrack. So, buckle up, put on your helmet, and get ready for an adventure that will leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.
Can I take any car to the Nürburgring?
Yes, you can take any car to the Nürburgring, but it should be track-ready and meet safety requirements. Make sure your vehicle is in good mechanical condition and has adequate performance capabilities.
Do I need prior racing experience to drive on the Nürburgring?
No, prior racing experience is not mandatory. However, it is highly recommended to take a high-performance driving course or seek professional coaching to familiarize yourself with track driving techniques and safety protocols.
How much does it cost to drive on the Nürburgring?
The cost of driving on the Nürburgring varies depending on factors such as the duration of the session, track packages, and any additional amenities you choose. It’s best to check with the track organizers or visit their official website for specific pricing information.
Are there any speed limits on the Nürburgring?
Yes, there are certain sections on the Nürburgring where speed limits are in place, especially in areas with potential hazards or construction. It is important to adhere to these speed limits, as they are strictly enforced for the safety of all participants.
Can I rent a track-ready car at the Nürburgring?
Yes, there are rental services available at the Nürburgring that offer track-ready cars for enthusiasts. These rental cars are specifically prepared and equipped for the demands of the track, ensuring a thrilling and safe experience for those who prefer not to drive their own vehicles.
- Nürburgring Official Website: https://www.nuerburgring.de/en/home.html – This is the official website of the Nürburgring, providing information about the track, events, and safety regulations. It is a reliable source for up-to-date and accurate information directly from the track management.
- Motorsport Magazine: https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/ – Motorsport Magazine is a reputable publication covering a wide range of motorsport-related topics. They often feature articles, interviews, and insights into track driving experiences, including the Nürburgring. This source can provide additional perspectives and expert opinions.
- Track Day Insurance Providers: https://www.trackdayinsurance.co.uk/ – Track Day Insurance is a specialized insurance provider that offers coverage for track driving activities. Their website provides valuable information on insurance options tailored specifically for track days, including coverage for the Nürburgring. It’s a useful resource for understanding the insurance aspects and potential costs associated with track driving.