The Nürburgring is their life
Anyone reaching the grand old age of 90 should actually start taking things a bit easier. But one thing has endured – the Nürburgring, where the opening race took place on June 18, 1927. It’s a bit shorter now, but it still has the same 73 turns, gradients and inclines. The Nordschleife (“North Loop”) of the Nürburgring is a 20.8-kilometre long ribbon of asphalt that runs between valleys and mountains up to 800 metres high.
“Peeling potatoes was never really my thing”
Sabine Schmitz, 47, racing driver, horse lover and former presenter of British car show “Top Gear”, has already completed many thousands of laps on the Nordschleife. She did her first lap there on her bike, then – in secret! Schmitz isn’t just a “ring taxi” driver, she’s also taken part in dozens of races at the Nürburgring.
“My grandmother was really annoyed because I loved racing – she thought it was more a man’s thing. But peeling potatoes wasn’t my thing.” “Drive carefully, lads!” “He helped build the Nordschleife, and later spent his entire working life at the Nürburgring,” Strack explains in his typical Eifel dialect. “I have to see what’s going on!” Shortly after the war, he himself took up a position with the “only big employer in the area”, and in 1958 he took over the position that he held until his retirement in 1995, familiar to thousands of Nürburgring visitors – the rather grumpy-looking ticket seller and gatekeeper at the entrance to the Nordschleife in Breitscheid. I often used to warn young people, like current racing driver Christian Menzel and Porsche test driver Timo Kluck – drive carefully, lads, I said, it’s slippery in parts, says Strack.
“The Porsche don’t break”
Ron Simon also works with bringing tyres up to temperature. “I have 13 different Porsche models at the start. They simply don’t break – not on the Nordschleife, and not on the Eifel tours that we organise.” Simon’s company RSR hires out cars for tourist trips, trackdays and VLN and RCN series races. You can also book his services as a coach, or for taxi rides on the Nordschleife.
Sometimes you get people turning up who’ve remodelled their own cars on the crash barriers but wouldn’t even dream of breaking off their Nordschleife holiday just because of that.” The fact that the track exacts its price is a truism, even though people don’t like to talk about it anywhere near the Nordschleife.
Porsche was one of the first manufacturers to make the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife an integral part of its own test programme. Today, no fewer than 37 companies – almost all car and tyre manufacturers – form the “industrial pool” at the Nürburgring, which was founded more than 20 years ago. All drivers are specially trained for driving on track. The load profile of the 20.8-kilometre track reflects virtually every conceivable driving condition. Any car that’s found to go well on the Nordschleife is fine for use all over the world.
Info Text first published in the magazine „Porsche Klassik 15“.
Feb 09, 2020 at 10:07