Ringside Seat: no news is good news?


As you can see from above, things are quiet here at the Nurburgring right now. This year the end of the season has arrived rather abruptly. October was a blur of activity; lots of public sessions, track days and special events.
Then the snow hit for a single day, and all the bookings just stopped.

And in the silence left behind, all I can hear is one question. "What next?"

Do you feel lucky, punk?
Do you feel lucky, punk?
The destiny of the 'ring is still totally undecided. While I'm still feeling pretty positive about the future, the truth is nobody can say for certain what will happen next.

In the last few days the maligned NAG lease-holders officially left their offices and a new sign appeared on the Nurburgring office doors. While NAG are still running place, at least the way is clear for a new direction.

As you'd expect after this news, rumours are flowing quicker than the weissbier. Popular topics include the asking price for the track, or if it might be sold separately from the concrete mess that is the 'Eifel Dorf'. Possible buyers dominate the conversations too. From rich Arabs to Hollywood millionaires, everybody knows somebody who is interested. Possible consortiums of top-tier German businesses are already being formed by brown-nosed yes-men intent on taking their commission.

My personal favourite rumour (although possibly the least likely) is that the circuit could be bought and operated by a co-operative. I like that idea, millions of motorsports fans around the world would love to be a shareholders of the Nurburgring.

But to be honest, it's irresponsible reporting (when has that ever stopped me) to start regurgitating every rumour in every gory detail here. But conjecture runs rife when the atmosphere is starved of truth. And what I find disagreeable is that once again the future of the 'ring, and of a whole dependant region and economy, is being discussed (and maybe even decided) behind closed doors. That's exactly what got us into this mess.

OK, perhaps not the weather for it
OK, perhaps not the weather for it
After years of living and working here, I should be used to the mushroom treatment, and to be honest, I kind of am. So my blind optimism is telling me not to worry too much, that the money-printing Nordschleife will be safe and I should just get on with enjoying it. And that's pretty much the attitude being taken by most local businesses - investment and growth continues unabated.

Hotels are adding more beds, yet more new buildings are going up down at the industry park. My own employers are refreshing and increasing their fleet of rental vehicles, swapping from one German hot hatch to another. Yesterday this gave me an opportunity to stop worrying about the future and do some actual laps planning for it. And that's a pleasure considering the snow on Monday scared the whole track empty again.

Now call me a snob, but DSG, VAG and FWD are not acronyms that I would normally associate with trackdriving pleasure. But I was happy to be proved wrong, so it doesn't matter who will be running the track next year; we'll be renting out race-prepped Sciroccos for it.

 

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Comments (41) Join the discussion on the forum

  • agtlaw 29 Nov 2012

    And the latest news is that NAG has agreed with the administrators a phased exit.

  • agtlaw 14 Nov 2012

    agtlaw said:
    It's inevitable that NAG will file for bankruptcy; a question of when, not if.
    This has, predictably, happened.
    http://www.allgemeine-zeitung.de/nachrichten/polit...

  • Dale Lomas 07 Nov 2012

    fwaggie said:
    VonSenger said:
    fwaggie said:
    Since when was it a PH rule that to comment on anything one needs experience in that very thing? Or is that just you being daft?

    Hint : Conversation includes, among other things, the exchange of ideas and experiences. Exchange implies passing on of knowledge, which implies the knowledge wasn't there in the party the knowldege is being passed too.
    Don't be a c0ck. How can you can you critique someone's driving constructive or otherwise when you've never experienced it????
    Very easily.

    And if the driver actually want to *talk* to people, as opposed to just arguing or insulting people, they'd say something like "whilst it may appear like that, it's because XYZ" or similar, and someone knows a little bit more than they did.

    However, it's blatantly obvious that you're not interested in talking, preferring to make a fool of yourself. I can happily confirm you're acheived this target, so cheerio.
    The driver was me, and I'm not arguing with or insulting anybody. Not yet ;-)

  • fridaypassion 07 Nov 2012

    Oh there's no doubt it will stay open its just what kind of place it could be under new owners. People moan a bit now but under proper private ownership it could be a lot worse.

    The other thing is how long it will remain the must do attraction it still is at the moment. Will it run out of steam at some point?

  • Martian O 06 Nov 2012

    fridaypassion said:
    ...The other issue for a potential buyer is how much longer it will continue to be such a draw. My 4th visit this year was the quietest I've seen it....
    I have been 9 times so far this year, going again next week and it's always been busy between the months of March through October. Last weekend was quiet because of the rain and it's getting cold, but there was some good metal lapping the circuit and taking advantage of having the track to yourselves at times. Sure there were a couple of incidents on Sunday, but the track remained opened all day, a rare thing to see in the warmer months! Saying that, I was there last November with temperatures around 22'c and eating al fresco, that's the Eifel for you!

    It won't close down, that's the feeling local business people I've spoken with believe, and I do too. smile

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