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05 January 2009

The “New” Nurburgring 2009

The new facilities at the Nurburgring GP are to open this year. Those of you who joined us for our 2008 jaunt will have seen the extensive work going on, but there are now pictures of the new set up on the official website.

Basically the whole old complex has gone and a state of the art enclosed facility is being built to make the ‘Ring a true year-round attraction. The old museum, shop and karting builings were taken down along with the first 3 tribunes (main stands opposite the pits) but the inner paddock area and media centre remain for the racers.

It’s quite an ambitious project that is being funded by private investers and the local economy… but really they had no choice. There’s nothing else in the area. If the Ring was not there, it would just be another sleepy village in the Adenau forest and the existing local economy would disintegrate. The racing (in excess of 100 racedays per year over the ‘Ring GP and Northloop) are a massive boost to the local economy valued at 60+Euros pa. When Bernie took the GP away (first split 50/50 with Hockenheim) he condemned the area to financial armagedon. Like Silverstone and the Spa…they had to invest big time. Spa was redeveloped on a much smaller scale two years ago and Silcerstone and Imola did even less, but “” or “Facination Nurburgring” have some deep pockets on their side and a history and loyalty that only Spa can get close to. They have already developed a “Tech Village” where the likes of BMW, Zakspeed and Recarro have offices as well as many local related Companies and Race Teams.

Even Bernie was impressed when he was shown the plans. But he hasn’t committed to the new Nurburgring yet, just saying that it was internationally competitive. Damon Hill and the BRDC should look long and hard at the facilities before they try and get the GP back from Donnington, particularly if they want to keep it. When you look at some of the venues that have lost their GPs such as Magny-Cours, Imola and Spa (now reinstated…possibly due to the fact that Bernie partially owns it? Or maybe his wife does???) You can see why Silverstone is so weak. And lets face it, both Donnington and Brands Hatch have MUCH better circuits!

Anyway back to N’ring. Over 200million Euros is being spent and when you have a look at the pics, you can see where the money has gone. The whole length of the start straight is being developed and will be entirely enclosed. Everything from a Casino to the new Hotel will be under one roof with a huge Boulevard joining them all. It’s like a huge Motorsport Mall really, and over the main road, the old parking area by the Bank will be turned into a holiday complex with Chalets and the like.

At the moment nothing is planned for the Nordschleife, or the GP circuit. Indeed, the local village(s) and Sabine’s family Hotel – the Am Tiergarten - can only win as they are bound to be considerably cheaper than the main complex itself. Sabine’s family empire has grown considerably over the last couple of years with the Hotel and guest Hoffs all been recently refurbished and expanded. The “Pistenclaus Restaurante” will, I’m sure remain untouched as they have been for decades. I asked Fabritsio (PC Owner) when we were there in October, and in typical style he just shrugged.

So, will we be back? Ofcourse, but not in 2009. We need a break to concentrate on Racing. Last year we made the decision to have only one Event this year, which will almost certainly be a Double Header at Spa in June.

We have been going to the Ring for 5 years now (I have been going since 2001…sometimes twice a year) so it’s time to let some of the others continue the good work. With TC and his “Cerbergringers” along last year, we had 25+ cars along for the ride and in 2008 we had 34 at one point! These are getting too big. We only intended to take a few guys out to promote both the Ring and TVRs. I think we have done that quite successfully and since the TG crew went out, the place is now filled with muppets in Saxo’s and Golf’s and God knows what else, blocking up the car park and local road. Sabine has done the same with TGD or Dmax as its known, which is the German equivalent. You may have seen their crew on the TG episode where they took them on driving various auto’s including double-decker cars.

Anyway, if you havn’t been go. If you have been and fancy another blast…do it. It’s a fantastic place, there’s literally nowhere like it…in the world (in a Clarkson stylee). Times are a changing and it won’t be like it is for long. Noise limits are dropping (currently 95db), cameras and the Law are not far behind as Health & Safety and the Corporate face of Motorsport close in. Cameras were actually erected in 2005, but they were torched and pulled up so the gave up, but they’ll be back; one day.

For me, the first year was the best. I went for four days on the way to Imola. There was barely any traffic. There was room in the car park. Everyone with a british plate went over and said “Hello” including Supercars and Motorbikes, and the Germans were cool…it was just fantastic.
Trackday heaven.

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